0353e. United Kingdom

Tuesday 6 May 2014
by  G. West

U.K. university procedures

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Also see the Application Overview section and particularly see the explanations about theelectronic application for Britain.

On these forms, you’ll have to enter:

*personal information,

*a choice of five coded courses (in the order they are found in the UCAS directory or on http://www.ucas.com, not in your order of priority) of which more than one may be at the same institution. This site can give you lots of information about each region, each subject and each institution. Use it!! You can also pick universities using the Guardian or Times Education supplement listings or their net sites (see further down.)

To learn exactly what prerequisites or levels of qualification are required for a given university, go to ucas.com course search, enter your subject or subjects, click on a university program listed, click on the education requirements, and then on other qualifications to find French Bac with OIB. If you can’t find it, call their Admissions office for details. This can help you avoid wasting one of your five choices on a university whose requirements are above what you are capable of achieving.

To learn how satisfied students are with a university program, click on NSSS

Click on the links below for a list of rankings. and explanations of statistics:

League Tables

The best universities in a given field

World Rankings

Comparing universitiy statistics

*a complete list of all exams and qualifications completed or not. No omissions due to bad results can be tolerated! Non OIB students are often required to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System TEST) and get a score of 6 or above. Contact http://www.britishcouncil.fr/examen/ielts or go to the British Council, 9/11 rue de Constantine, 75007 Paris.

Students who wish to study law or medicine and certain other subjects may have to take additional tests. See the article on tests you must take in the application process section. Moreover, for medicine it is INDISPENSABLE to organize a traineeship experience where you help medical personnel or patients or shadow someone in the field. This is almost impossible to do without going abroad because in France it is very difficult to find such opportunities.

The IGCSE also looks good on an application.

*a personal statement (see article for examples and a link to a You Tube presentation with much advice) which must a. fit into the space given b. not be tiny because it looks like you have nothing to say about yourself, and c. must appropriately and accurately describe your skills, motivations and interests in a personal way.

*the reference provided by the advisor based on information you have collected for him or her. Please seereference article.

*payment by credit card on the net. See electronic application procedures.

If a subject you choose is an arty one, be prepared to show a portfolio of your finest work as part of the admission procedure (and begin preparing it NOW!) Early applicants have a better chance of being accepted, so don’t put it off. The advisor will send off applications starting in October for UCAS. Either Oxford or Cambridge may be applied to at the same time as other institutions, but the deadline is October 15th for all of them then. The deadline is also October 15 for medicine, veterinary studies, and dentistry (and in this case you only apply to 4) and January 15 for the rest, but the advisor will not help you AT ALL after December 15th. Don’t be late or you’re on your own for everything... something often impossible to manage.

We discourage you from selecting Chemistry or Geography to study in Britain because these are tandem subjects in France and French students will not likely have the level to enter British universities in these subject areas.

Once you’ve applied. you will begin to get answers. The first ones are usually the refusals. But whatever the answers, please tell the advisor so he or she will know where you stand. From the U.K. you may get one or several conditional offers, which state that you will be accepted IF your Bac results are above such and such a grade (for example, you’ll be accepted if you have 14 overall on the Bac with a 15 minimum in math). You must keep only two of these and send off your answer before Bac results in June (the deadline is July 1). One of these is your first pick, and it is called "firm acceptance"-you’re not sure your Bac results will be that good, but it’s really where you want to go. The other one is called "insurance". It can also be an ambitious choice (betting that your Bac results will be good enough), but this is RISKY, because if you don’t get those results, you have no other choice but to go through Clearing (and this means you only get leftovers and not a good university place).

It is safer to keep a second conditional offer whose conditions you are confident you can meet. The advisor can try to help you decide based on his analysis of your record and teacher predictions. After the BAC, results that have been certified by the institution must be sent off and students are expected to accept an offer whose conditions they have successfully met. Let it be clear that we insist that students who have come this far must NOT back out. To do so is not only a slap in the face of those who’ve invested time to help the student, it is also sabotage of all students to come. Why? Because universities who see a student back out are hesitant to accept others from that institution again. It makes more work for them and they end up with lower quality students.

To learn more what British universities are like, go to "classes and cost of study" at the bottom of this article. and go to the student opinion section. Read especially Olga’s very informative article in student opinions. To learn about requirements for entering law school there, see the law section below. To get an idea of university rankings in terms of quallity, rankings and how hard it might be to get in (this various depending on the subjects chosen...) go to the London Times or Manchester Guardian Education sites.

When you have all your offers, they will also give you a Student Loan form to fill out. Don’t wait, because it may take several months to process this and it could delay receiving money to help you live in Britain. See Olga’s article.

British citizens can get scholarships and loans. With new higher fees, this may also be possible for European Union candidates. Contact Department for Education and Skills EU team, Darlinton 01 325 391199 for help with fees and look at the ucas web site for further financial aid info. Contact: UCAS Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 3LZ or Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) PO Box 28 Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL52, 3ZA UK. Phone: (44) 1242 227788 Fax: (44) 1242 544960 E-mail and enquiries: enq@ucas.ac.uk http://www.ucas.ac.uk

Art and design programs recruiting through Route B follow different rules. For these see the advisor. International students can apply as late as June 30, but have little chance to get what they pick at that late date and the advisor will refuse to help them. Revised A and AS levels as well as a whole series of new tariffs have been designed since 2014.

If you get no offers or refuse all offers, you can go to Ucas Extra up to about the end of June. If you meet requirements for neither your Firm Acceptance nor Insurance Institutions (see page 2 number 4), or have no offers, you can try to go through Clearing starting in mid August when the official list of university vacancies is published . You’ll be able to find out about these vacancies through the UCAS website (see above) with minimum A level results sometimes indicated or through British newspapers like the Mirror and the Independent. You apply to one at a time that really interests you and send your dossier to it alone. Then you must wait for its answer before applying to another.

The advisor is not around in August to help you decide, and you must decide quickly. Where possible use E-mail to speed up communication. Always use your application number in correspondence.

Other information. There tend to be more BA candidates than Bsc which some believe makes acceptance harder in BAs with higher conditions imposed.

To get information about the UK qualifications and international requirements for entry: http://www.ucas.com To purchase UCAS publications about what fields are available to study, career planning, etc. contact UCAS Distribution at PO Box 130, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52 3ZF or by phone at (44)( 0)1242 544610 or by E-mail at distribution@ucas.ac.uk or visit the above website bookstore.

On the UCAS website, courses with an entry profile have a green circle with an "I" in it next to them. Since 2007 entry no university or college sees an applicant’s other choices until he or she has decided which to accept. For 2007 entry, pre-requisites for entry will be clearly stated by each institution but they don’t always know about French qualifications, particularly OIB, so we try to inform them on each application. To get information about the quality of courses through the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on internet for England and Northern Ireland at http://www.qaa.ac.uk, for Scotland at http://www.shefc.ac.uk.

Check with Disability codes: 0=none, 1=dyslexia, 2=blind or sight impaired, 3=deaf or hearing impaired, 4=wheelchair or mobility reduced, 5=require personal care or assistance, 6=mental health difficulties, 7=invisible disability (diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, etc.), 8=2 or more of the above, 9=unlisted special condition To check progress of your application, enter www.ucas.com, click the Applications Enquiries button, enter your application number followed by your password (received with the acknowledgement card)...

For career advice and published information: www.careersuk.co.uk Contact the British Embassy nearest you for more information about living and studying in Britain. Or the British Council, 9/11 rue de Constantine, 75007 Paris. Phone: 01 49 55 73 00. Minitel 3615 BRITISH. Internet: www.britishcouncil.fr/‎ You can also visit our careers advice page.

U.K Classes and Costs


In lectures you’ll rarely have more than 50 or 100 except in medicine where you might be 200-250. But for seminars, you will be well under 20, if lucky under 10, rarely 25 or 30. Some classes are 100% lectures, but some are 50% lectures and 50% seminars.

In Humanities one usually has about 8 hours of classes a week with two essays per semester in each subject. In history you have a lot of reading and essays, but only 4 hours of class a week. In Law, it’s 12 hours a week, including for example at Kent at Canterbury, a special Law Clinic where students get to discuss real cases and procedures with lawyers who have a practice. They also do court reports in a team.

In anthropology at Kent, presentations are marked and you have to do written book reviews; In politics at Kent, it’s 6h a week with 4-8 essays per term

At Leicester it would be 12 hours of lectures plus 2 or 3 hours of tutorials. Biomedical sciences/genetics have 24 hrs/week, medicine has 28 hours/week. Wherever you go, you’re likely to specialize more in 2nd and 3rd year, and no matter what you study, plan your time and learn to do research and essay writing

At King’s College students still have tutorials: 20 minute periods to discuss your essay results with the professor. In fact, at many universities, teachers will hold you back at the end of class if you did badly. You can also get help to correct essays by E-mail. There is also a personal tutor with office hours you can arrange to meet or pop in during office hours. Each semester, which lasts about 10-12 weeks is followed by an exam period of about 3-4 weeks.

The academic year lasts from September to June. Each student takes core courses and options. If doing a joint honors program one takes ½ of the core program in each area. One unit courses last all year, half unit courses last a semester. Subjects are divided up to deal with various parts of the subject area and may include options like languages that are pertinent to the area of study. There may be assessed essays that count towards the final grade, mock essays, mock exams and exams for each subject taken. Often Universities offer you a chance to do joint honors, combining two subjects, and/or to even do a double degree that involves study in Britain and abroad.

For example, if you’re doing King’s prestigious, but difficult double maitrise in Law with the Sorbonne, it gives you a double international diploma, with 24 hours a week of classes. Leicester offers a 4 year program with a double degree in English and French law with two years in English law at Leicester followed by two years in Strasbourg, studying French and European law. This degree qualifies students for professional examinations of both countries. But entry is (apparently) tough: it requires a French bac 14 overall to get in. Sometimes, though you may be surprised and find it easier to get in than they claim. Give it a try! See the law entry test.

To find out more about classes in Britain, please contact King’s College London contact: http://olivier.arnaud-freaud@kcl.ac.uk Kent at Canterbury contact: http://fionafj@aol.com (Two of our ex-students who are ready to give you additional details.)

Costs in the U.K.

In the UK fees are around £9000 a year, except in Scotland for EU citizens, where tuition remains, at this writing (December 2014) £1820 and certain E.U. students can even get in free. However it is therefore much more selective in Scotland. EU students will still be able to borrow this money entirely at low interest rate and only pay it back after graduation and after they are earning at least £25,000 a year (about €32,000). See the student finance site. to know more about how and when to ask for these loans.

It is more difficult to get help with OTHER living costs.

Click on National Student Union to get more ideas about handling finances and other issues faced by students.

On site accommodation is virtually guaranteed if you’re offered a spot for your FIRM choice, but this is less true for your INSURANCE choice. If you go Dfes 02 on fee codes, you may pay less. ½ pay full fees, and 1/3 don’t pay.

Money: London is as expensive as you make it. It costs about 420€/month for a catered intercollegiate double occupancy room (Breakfast, dinners and weekend meals) and up to 600€ for a single occupancy. In these halls they have a good chance to stay for 2nd and 3rd year if they apply. Elsewhere, rent may run as high as 600€ a month without meals. It is easy and there are few formalities to get a job. Teaching French is lucrative (10-15£/hour), work in pubs is 4£50 /hour before taxes. You just need a national insurance number on appointment at the office in south central London. For other expenses you’ll need 1070£ for university registration until topping off becomes possible after 2008, worsening up to 2015, plus anywhere between 300 to 400€/month for other expenses. This makes a total of about 7500€ up to 10500€. Some prices: Tube tickets (monthy with student discount=90€, per ticket=2.5€, day pass=7€) Bus tickets are a better deal (monthly zone 1 to 4 is 34€, weekly is 9€ zones 1 and 2 with student discount, daypass is 3€ for zones 1 and 2). Count on 3-5€ for a pint (un sérieux) of beer. Plane tickets with easyjet.com reserved 5 weeks in advance return Geneva or Lyon to London are 70€, or if you can search on the net every few days with ryanair.com at 40€, but this excludes airport taxes of 8€ and 30€ for transport to and from airports around London. Trains are about 140€ return Grenoble-London (count 8 hours via Lille not counting layovers) with student discounts around 80€ return London-Paris. This latter is comparable to London-Paris plane tickets and you are delivered downtown without changes or lines. Kent at Canterbury. About 450£ a month for on campus housing, sharing a corridor, kitchen and shower with others. You meet a lot of people especially during freshers week. But in 2nd and 3rd year, you can find cheaper accommodation by sharing a house and catering for yourself. 52£ a week for the house not including main services and food. Registration fees run 1200£ a year and books about 150£, but many books can be found in the library. At Leicester, it ranges from 2400£/year for a self-catered single and as little as 1500£/year for a double (per person), payable in 3 installments for the 39 weeks that cover the three terms (Autumn-16wks, Spring-15wks and summer-8 wks). A 30 week two term year catered runs from triples at 1900£ up to a single en-suite up to 3000£/year. But then Leicester is more industrial and less cultural than London.

U.K Entry test to study law

The National Admissions Test for Law (or LNAT) is a test which is designed to help universities make fairer choices among the many highly-qualified applicants who want to join their undergraduate law programmes. It is, for the current admissions cycle, mandatory for both home and overseas applicants to undergraduate law programmes at the eleven participating UK universities. It is possible to take the test at any time between the start of September and the end of June of the academic year, and there are test centres all over the world in which the test can be taken. Full details, including the registration facility, are available through the LNAT website - http://www.lnat.ac.uk.

The University of Bristol was among the group of eight universities which developed the LNAT and Dr Phil Syrpis, the Admissions Tutor for Law at the University of Bristol was, at last word, Chair of the LNAT Consortium. At Bristol, admissions tutors in the School of Law place considerable reliance on the LNAT. They believe that the test is an aid to identifying untapped academic potential, and so are prepared to make some offers to students who perform well in both the multiple choice and essay sections of the test, even if their performance at GCSE and A level (or equivalent) falls below the usual standards. They put particular emphasis on their evaluation of the essay, and are impressed by applicants who are able to fashion a convincing argument in good English within the 40 minute time frame.