According to the world standard , higher education in the UK is divided into 3 main stages:
Bachelor's degree (3 years in England, 4 years in Scotland)
Master's degree (1 year)
Education in creative and medical fields is slightly different and usually takes longer. For example, they study for 5 years as an architect and receive an ARB/RIBA qualification, for a doctor – 5 years + residency with an MBBS qualification.
You cannot enroll in a British baccalaureate directly from a Russian school. This is due to the fact that British children have been studying at school for 13 years, while Russians are only 11 years old. Therefore, British universities, in addition to the Russian certificate, require another program of more specialized and in-depth training:
1 year Foundation at an English college or university (from the age of 17),
2 years of the International Baccalaureate program – international certificate of secondary education (from the age of 16),
2 years of the A-level program – British certificate of secondary education (from the age of 16), or
1st year of the Russian university.
All these programs should take into account the specialization that the student will choose at the university. Therefore, it is better to turn to specialists for advice on choosing subjects at A-level or IB.
For example, when planning a career as an economist, it is absolutely necessary to study mathematics at a high level and one social science, while children who dream of studying neurology should have chemistry, biology, as well as physics or mathematics in their arsenal.
Depending on the level and rating of the university, the entrance requirements vary. While some universities can afford to require A*A*A grades at A-level or 42 IB points, others can enroll with BBC grades or 31 IB points. For students who have not scored high enough, there remains the opportunity to enroll in a rating University through the International Year One program with a further transition to the 2nd year.
The English language requirement for foreigners is the IELTS level from 6.0 to 7.5 (out of 9).
Additional entrance exams will be required for the most difficult specialties. These are BMAT and UKCAT tests for medicine and LNAT for law.
Also, the most elite universities reserve the right to appoint additional entrance tests for any specialty. In advance of applying to Oxford or Cambridge, you will have to pass STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), CAT (Classics Admission Test), HAT (History Aptitude Test), MAT (Mathematics Admissions Test), Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) or other test required for your chosen specialty.
Universities such as Imperial College London or UCL (University College London) will send an additional task individually to each student for self-completion within a certain period (usually 24 hours).
In addition to written exams, the most prestigious universities arrange interviews for potential candidates. Usually, those students whose application has been previously approved are called to a personal meeting. A lot depends on the results of the interview. According to statistics, 80% of candidates for Oxford and Cambridge are eliminated at this stage. Our teachers, graduates of British universities, help to prepare for an interview at the university. Such an interview can be individual or group and may include:
The story of the representative of the admissions committee about the university and the program;
Personal questions about the student's life, his plans, choice of profession, etc.;
Questions about the content of the motivation letter and application;
Tasks in the specialty – orally or in writing.
For creative specialties such as architecture, design, directing, acting, you will need to provide a portfolio in electronic form or by mail, or attend an audition.
There are special requirements for medicine, a student must have at least 3 professional internships (active or passive), as well as participation in charitable activities.
The success of the application, especially in the most selective Universities, where hundreds of excellent students come from all over the world, is not only grades and excellent test results. Of great importance is the student's personality, his extracurricular activities and achievements, his motivation, communication skills and non-standard thinking. To maximize the chances of admission, we competently prepare an application and offer the services of British teachers to write an impeccable motivational letter. Among our students are those who have received offers of places from Imperial College London, UCL, Warwick University, King's College London, University of Bath, Queen Mary University London, Architecture Association, University of Surrey, etc.
Distinctive features of higher education in England
Narrowly focused character. The student studies only modules directly or indirectly related to his specialty. There is no study of general subjects, such as Latin, higher mathematics, psychology, if they do not relate to the chosen course.
The development of a versatile personality. To express your opinion, to argue it verbally and in writing, to discuss competently, without turning to personalities – these are the distinctive features of any graduate of a British university. British Universities cultivate intelligent people from their students, who are open to the opinions of others, who think critically, who are able to analyze many sources of information and evaluate their value, defend their point of view, but also change it under the pressure of scientific facts.
The fight against plagiarism. While cheating on exams and downloading papers in Russian Universities with the development of gadgets and the Internet acquire a truly frightening scale, in British, as well as American universities, there is a policy of zero tolerance for plagiarism. An excellent example is King's College London, where a student is expelled for 3 violations: cheating, quoting without footnotes, having a smartphone on the control.
A year of internship. The sandwich program, which includes 1 year of professional internship between the second and third year, is popular in Britain. This allows you to get a guaranteed place in a large company, invaluable work experience, a practical basis for writing a diploma, useful contacts and an important line in your resume. For example, Bath University arranges its students in Dyson, Unilever, BMW, Intel, Lloyd Bank, NHS. Also, if desired, the internship year can be replaced by a year of study abroad for an exchange.
Independent learning. It makes up approximately 80% of the course and only the remaining 20% are lectures and seminars. The student himself controls the deadlines for preparing for exams and passing papers. Moreover, the higher the level of the university, the less control and monitoring by teachers – the highest level of self-organization and time management is expected from an excellent student.
Group and project work skills. Lowering the grade for lack of initiative in group discussions is a typical problem of a Russian student who is accustomed to clearly answer a question posed by a teacher and remain silent when he is not asked. British education eradicates isolation, taciturnity, lack of initiative in Russian children, because these qualities are the real parameters of their assessment in the subject.
Essay. In most specialties, both humanities and natural sciences, and related to business, economics, law, a huge layer of work is writing essays on various topics. Essays do not mean essays, but the similarity of scientific articles, research on various issues, project and term papers. It requires excellent knowledge of terminology, academic English and stylistics.
How to choose a university?
There may be different approaches to choosing a university:
Someone chooses a university based on a rating (for example, The Complete University Guide),
Someone starts from the specialty and selects only those universities that offer the best training.
Many students from Russia put the location of the university in London as the main point. At the same time, the cost of education, living, and competition in London universities is much higher than in all others.
Most universities in England are multidisciplinary, although each has dominant areas. For example, Queen Mary University London, founded as a medical college, is famous for its Faculty of Medicine, school of law and research in the field of social sciences. A total of 3 universities in England are specialized in certain fields – these are the London School of Economics and Political Science (economics, Finance, politics, law), Imperial College London (Polytechnic) and St George's University of London (medicine).
In addition to public universities, there are also private universities in England. There are fewer of them, and they specialize in applied education, especially in business or art. These are, for example, Regent's University, Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts.
When choosing a university and a specialty, we recommend that you come to a consultation and use our experience to make a deliberate decision. We also sign up all our students, if possible, for open days at universities in the UK, which take place in June and October. After all, the chosen university is the place where you will spend the next 3-4 years of your life.
How and when to apply?
Bachelor's degree applications are submitted in the fall a year before admission online through the unified UCAS system. The maximum number of universities is 5. At the same time, the same or similar specialty should be chosen in all Universities. Applications to Oxford, Cambridge, as well as to medicine – until October 15, to other Universities and specialties – until January 15.
Applications for a master's degree are generally accepted until the summer preceding the start of the academic year. The application process is online directly through the university's website, while the entrance requirements are more individual. Often the university will want to know in advance the topic of the planned master's thesis. However, there are also programs of the “conversion year” type, this is a master's degree designed for students who have never studied this specialty before. Most of these programs are in the field of business, but there are others, for example, Computer Science MSc at Cardiff University.
How much does it cost to study and do they give scholarships or grants?
Unlike continental Europe (for example, France or Germany), where higher education in the state language is free, in England all higher education takes place only on a fee basis. For citizens of the UK and the European Union, the cost ranges from 5,000 to 15,000 pounds per year. For foreigners, including Russians – from 12,000 to 30,000 pounds per year. The cost of tuition directly depends on the university's rating (universities below the top 30 are cheaper) and on its location (central and southern England are more expensive, northern England and Scotland are cheaper).
Grants or scholarships for studying for foreigners are an exceptionally rare practice for British universities. In 1% of cases, an incredibly outstanding student may be offered a grant covering a certain part of the tuition fee. They can also offer a discount from tuition to an outstanding excellent student applying to an "average" university, because such a student will increase the rating and prestige of the university.