How to apply for university in the UK when you are not from the UK

Cristina García


To study in England there are general application processes that you will have to go through no matter where you come from.

But for those who are not from the UK, this process can be confusing and that´s why Bethnal Student Living has decided to create a summary of all the steps you need to follow to successfully apply for a university in the UK!

Step 1: Proof of proficiency in English

Before starting any application process, every student whose mother tongue is not English will have to prove their proficiency in English.

In order to do that, most UK universities require a particular score on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System)or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test.The exact score you need varies depending on the course and the university, so contact the institutions you are interested in to find out their requirements.

A piece of advice -do not leave any of those exams to the last minute as they need to be prepared for at least 6 months in advance.

Step 2: UCAS Registration

If you are going to study in the UK thanks to an agreement that your university has then, most of the time, you will just have to follow the instructions of your university.

However, if you would like to apply by yourself, you will need to register with UCAS (Universities and College Application Service), an online platform used by most UK Universities.

All students applying for university, universities and whether they are from an EU country or not, need to register on the platform and follow a process in which they have to choose the universities and classes they would like to attend.

Note: During this registration process, you should give as much information as possible in order to avoid incomplete applications and possibly ignored ones.

As a non-UK resident, the one step that you need to fill on top of the rest would be the TOEFL & IELTS section.

For non-native English speakers, a proof of English proficiency will be required so you better have it ready!

Step 3: UCAS Application& Deadlines

Once registered with UCAS, you will then be asked to start choosing the universities and courses you would like to attend. You will be able to choose up to 5universities in the UK.

While choosing your universities, you will need to be careful with application due dates. If you don´t fill out your applications on time, you may be charged a fee or your application may be discarded.

Like any applications, there are deadlines that you need to be aware of!

  • 15 October 2017 - 18:00 (UK time) - Application deadlines for Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Medicine and all courses at Oxford & Cambridge universities.
  • 15 January 2018- 18:00 (UK time) - Application deadlines for all applications except the above mentioned.
  • 24 March 2018 - 18:00 (UK time) - Application deadlines for Arts & Design courses.
Step 4: Documents needed

4.1) For EU/EEA or Switzerland residents

In most cases, the university will ask for your high school transcripts or from other higher education institutions to see if you meet their admission requirements.

Most of the time you will have to contact your school and ask them to send or fax the transcripts to the UK university.

4.2) For non-EU residents

If you are not from the EU, there are some further processes that you will need to go through in order to be accepted at a university in the UK. You will need to provide:

  • A copy of your passport and a passport size photo to the university during the application process. If you are staying for more than a semester, you will also have to prove that you have the documents required to stay longer (visa application, etc.)

A birth certificate and a certificate showing the birthplace of both of your parents

You must also provide proof that you will be able to afford your education and other expenses that may come up as a result of your education. This is because, if you are not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will be very far away from home.

Step 5: Results

After registering and choosing the universities and courses, you will just need to wait for the results.

Thanks to your UCAS ID, you will be able to sign in anytime and check the results, although in case of a positive answer, it is most likely that you will get an email or phone call from the university.

There are different types of offer. You might get an invitation for an interview first before receiving the final answer or you just might have to wait until your exam results to get the final answer.

In all scenarios, you just need to be patient and follow what the university requires!