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【The Standard:Study in the UK】Taking the plunge

Boarding 101


Applying to universities in the UK involves a little more than filling in an application form and hoping for the best.

Applicants need to search for courses, visit universities and attend Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, or UCAS, conventions, and be fully aware of deadlines.

This is the first article in a two-part series on UCAS and the steps which need to be taken for students to secure a place on their dream course and at their dream university.

Outlined below is my conviction that doing masses of research and getting out and about by visiting institutions and conventions is key.

Time to do some research

Once I had completed my AS levels, the thought of going to university seemed to be permanently doing its rounds in my mind.

It was positive contemplation, though.

This longing for learning, progressing myself and experiencing university life was the first step of my journey.

At the start of my second year of A levels, I began to look into the kind of courses I wanted to be doing, and the institutions which could cater to my needs.

In my view, researching options as early as possible significantly cuts down the possibility of making hasty decisions and being left with regrets.

If a student is adamant that he or she would like to study in the UK, choosing the right course and place to study requires a great deal of research. There are now close to 40,000 courses available for study in the UK, and students can use the comprehensive UC

AS search tool ( to search for courses.

The search results provide information about entry requirements, information on fees and finances, and details of how and when to apply for individual courses.

Deadlines come thick and fast – so the research should already be well under way.

Indeed, for 2016 entry, UCAS advised applicants to be doing their research between March and June this year.

Once applicants have narrowed down their desired study paths, they will be able to look seriously at which universities and colleges will cater for their needs.

If applicants are in the UK, or have the chance to visit, it is a good idea to attend course provider open days and/ or taster courses.

This gives applicants the opportunity to speak with current students and tutors.

It is understandable that not all students can attend open days, so they can check the virtual tours section on the UCAS website to see if the universities they are interested in have agreed to do a virtual tour.

Students may wish to visit universities in 2016 once they have received their offers. They should do this before replying.

UCAS representatives and university staff members can also be found at UCAS Higher Education conventions where students can discuss their options, discover career paths and gain assistance with filling in the UCAS application.

Places at these conventions can be booked online for free via the UCAS website.

Every few months, LinkedU and the British Council hold events in Hong Kong where students can meet face-to- face with representatives from UK universities. Event registration opens four to eight weeks prior to the event.

Key dates for 2015


Research, using the UCAS search tool to look for courses.

Attend conventions, open days and taster courses (can be left until 2016).


Register on the UCAS website and fill in the UCAS application. Information can be entered at any time, saving as you go.

Ensure a referee can add a reference in the reference section.

Start work early on personal statements.


Application fee to be paid.

Earliest opportunity to apply.


Samuel Chan is a director at Britannia StudyLink.

Source: The Standard

Tuesday, 26 June 2015

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