United Kingdom (UK)
UK is undoubtedly the pioneer in international education offering high standards of quality education continually upgraded and recognized worldwide. The education system is backed by centuries of research, stringent educational standards and unrivalled quality assurance. It’s a favorite and foremost destination for higher education offering a broad spectrum of courses in academic and vocational disciplines. Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London School of Economics, St Andrews, Warwick are among the world famous UK universities.
UK houses more than 150 institutions of higher education including government universities, private colleges and vocational education institutions. The programs offered include bachelor’s degree programs, Sandwich courses, Higher National Diploma, Vocational diplomas and certificates and postgraduate courses. A major attraction for international students is the one-year masters programs in various fields offered by UK universities and colleges.
Indian education pattern being derived from UK owes an unmistakable similarity to the same and hence the acceptance rate of Indian students in UK universities is comparatively higher. One major advantage is the approval of three years bachelor’s program as an entry requirement for masters programs in UK unlike USA.
A student must complete 12 years of education and obtain IELTS (International Language Testing System) scores as per university and course requirement is eligible for admission to Bachelor’s program. However, in addition to the above, the candidate may be required to fulfill certain course specific requirements.
Most Master’s programs require a student to have completed a three years bachelor’s degree with a consistent performance, a definite bent of mind for the particular specialization and satisfy the course specific English language requirement. Further, certain postgraduate programs in science, engineering and technology disciplines require international students to acquire Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can apply for visa. ATAS is a scheme under which the student is required to register if he is going for courses in any way related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
Students opting for MBA programs need to qualify GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), secure a good score in verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections, submit essays as required by the business school and also take a telephonic interview.
English Language Requirement:
Natives of non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate good English communication skills and satisfy the language score requirement of the said course. The candidates can either qualify IELTS or TOEFL. Most courses require an IELTS score of 6.5 bands, however, some may require a higher score of 7.0 bands.
UK universities have two major intakes September and January. The entire application process takes around 8-10 months and requires completing application forms, attaching marks sheets, Statement of Purpose, Letters of recommendation, work experience letters, extracurricular certificates. The admission committee takes 2-3 months to review the application and once the application has been approved the student receives Unconditional Offer of admission. However, if the student is yet to fulfill any admission criteria for the course, he receives a Conditional Offer letter. After receiving the unconditional offer letter the student is required to deposit the fees and obtain Visa Letter from the university.
Tuition & Living Costs:
The tuition charges vary according to course and university. For an MBA program the per annum tuition fee may range from 10000 – 25000 £, between 6000-16000£ for bachelor’s and 8000-20000£ for master’s programs. Average living cost is 6000 £, though; it also depends on the city of residence and personal habits of spending money.
UK offers a number of scholarships for Indian students under various programs though most of them are intended for postgraduate and research students. UK universities also offer bursaries and discounts on tuition fees ranging from 1000-1500 pounds. Further, the international students are allowed part time work of 20 hours per week, during term time and full time during holidays, which augments their financial resources, and helps cater to living costs.
The student can apply for student visa as soon as he receives the Visa Letter from the university. The candidate is required to fill paper based or online visa application forms VAF 1 & VAF 3, submit the visa fees, prepare and submit the visa file. The visa file comprises of the admission letter from the university/college, academic certificates, test scorecards, experience certificates, financial and sponsorship documents. The students are required to submit all their documents at UK High Commission and may or may not have to attend a personal interview at UK High Commission.
UK immigration policies are constantly undergoing changes. According to the recent revision, Tier 1 (Post Study Work) will replace International Graduate Scheme and Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland from June 30, 2008. According to the new policy the student will be granted two years’ permission to stay and work in UK after completion of study. If the student is already in the UK with one year’s IGS immigration permission, when the new scheme comes into effect, he/she will be able to apply to stay for one extra year. Moreover, Sandwich courses offered at undergraduate level give a yearlong industrial exposure to students thereby enabling them to put theory to practice and gain valuable hands on work experience. At postgraduate level too, many courses offer internship programs, which help students, assimilate the knowledge gathered and hone their skills.
Tier 1 General Migrant scheme is a point-based system where if the candidate earns 75 points and satisfies the English language proficiency and available maintenance funds requirement he/she is allowed to stay and work in UK for a period of three years. This scheme as replaced the Highly Skilled Migration Program or HSMP as it was popularly called. The 75 points are accorded for certain attributes like age, qualifications, previous earnings and UK experience. 10 points each are awarded for English language proficiency and available funds.
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