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A bird’s eye view of the UK

education Updated: Jun 23, 2010 09:19 IST
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W hy choose Old Blighty? Well, the United Kingdom offers internationally-accepted qualifications. Indians are attracted to one-year post-graduate degrees.

British universities, colleges and schools provide a vibrant, creative and challenging environment to develop students’ potential. Quality standards for UK institutions are among the best in the world. Universities, colleges and schools continually have to prove that their courses meet strict criteria. At degree and postgraduate level in particular, students are encouraged to read widely, to question and analyse what they have read, and to discuss openly their ideas in seminars and tutorials. Career-based courses are designed to equip students for specific roles in the modern world of work.

Number of Indian students in the UK: Over 31000

Programmes popular among Indian students:
Business and management, science and engineering, art and design, and law courses are among the most sought-after.

Session commences:
Most undergraduate and postgraduate programmes start in September/October and some in January/ February. There may be a different timetable for research-based programmes and it is best to check it with the institution. In Scotland, Bachelors’ degree programmes are four years long, unlike in the rest of the UK.

When to apply: Begin a year in advance. Institutions start accepting applications a year before, in September/ October. Applicants should apply at least six to nine months before their session is slated to start.

How to apply and to/ through whom: Applicants only have the option of applying online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). UCAS, UK’s central organisation, processes applications for full-time first degrees, foundation degrees, higher national diplomas (HND), higher national certificates, certificates of higher education, and diplomas of higher education and university diplomas. Fill up a UCAS form. You can select up to five courses and send your completed form to UCAS, which will forward it to your chosen institutions. More details are available at www.ucas.com.

Aspirants for Master’s programmes need to touch base with their selected institutions or apply through UCAS for some programmes.
Deadlines for UG and PG: The final date for all those applying for UG programmes in the UK is June 30. All applications received after these deadlines are put into ‘clearing’. The deadline for the UCAS application to Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as medicine, dentistry and veterinary programmes is October 15. There are separate deadlines for art and design courses.

Except maybe a few institutions, there are no specific deadlines for most postgraduate programmes. So, confirm this from their website or prospectus of the institute.

Application docket checklist: There is no need to submit any document while applying via UCAS, since it provides an online form. The application packet for PG applications should contain:
. Application form
. Statement of Purpose
. Attested photocopies of academic credentials such as marksheets and certificates from your previous educational institutions, as well as other recent certificates of your extra curricular activities/ sports or participation in debates, seminars or lectures that you mentioned in your application.
. IELTS/ TOEFL scores if your results have been announced
. Two references (academic/ professional) along with the application form.
Accommodation options: Try to arrange accommodation before flying to the UK. Many institutions have student advisers or accommodation officers who can provide you information on finding a place.

Scholarships/ financial support: There are many scholarships available. For details, visit www.britishcouncil.org/india-scholarships.htm

Part-time jobs policy: Students can work part time 20 hours, per week, during school term and 40 hours, per week, during vacations.

Student visa: The new point-based system, implemented on April 1, 2009, requires students to have an unconditional offer from a UK Border Agency-licensed institution and proof of enough money for course fees and living expenses. To apply for a visa, you need a visa letter, which is an unconditional offer of a place from your education provider.

The new visa fee is £199 For details log on to www.ukvisas.gov.uk

Job opportunities after graduation: Non-European Economic Area (EEA) students are allowed to stay on and work for up to two years in Britain under the International Graduates Scheme (IGS). The IGS is for students who have successfully completed their first or Master’s degree, doctorate, postgraduate certificate or diploma programmes. For further information, check www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.

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