How to study at an English speaking university

Studying abroad is a great way of getting the most from your university experience. Not only are you taking a course that you’re truly interested in and one which will help you get to where you want to be in your chosen career, studying abroad will also help with your personal development, help you to perfect your language skills (written, verbal, listening and writing), and could even be a way of you finding a career in the country you choose to study in.

Many schools and colleges will help you with the university application process, but if you’re not taking the path most travelled and applying to further education in your home country, your teachers might not be fully aware of the process, the deadlines, and any necessary requirements such as IELTS courses.

In the UK, all university applications are made through UCAS. This is an organisation which will process your applications, acting as a middle man between you and the institutions to which you have applied. It’s through this process that you will submit all your personal data as well as your choices, and it’s also where you will see whether you have been accepted, and whether this offer is conditional of particular results from you courses such as IELTS courses and results, or whether it is unconditional and you already meet the entry criteria.

Start by choosing your course. With so many different undergraduate and post graduate courses available in a huge range of subjects, it can take a little while to narrow down your search. Make sure you’re looking at the right level, and that the style of course will suit you (some have lots of teaching hours, while others are more based in personal research). You should do a lot of research and this will help you to find the perfect subject as well as the course provider. Check the entry requirements and which IELTS course results you would need for your studies. There are different courses and some will have different deadlines to others, although this will usually be based on the institution. Some courses will want you to meet the requirements before you apply, but others will assume that you’re currently studying, and therefore will depend on your projected results rather than what you have actually achieved.

For all courses within the UK, you will need to be proficient in the English language. This is tested via a system known as IELTS, which gauges your understanding of speaking, listening, writing and reading, and whether you would be able to cope with this at university level. IELTS courses are available both in the UK and further afield to help you prepare.

Joseph works for New College Manchester, a school that specialises in English language courses and IELTS courses. In his spare time he has a passion for travelling and blogging.

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