How to Apply to Universities in the United Kingdom (for International Students)

Having just gone through the long process myself, I would be more than happy to share the experience. It does take a little while to gather the resources together, so be prepared. I’m coming at this from an American’s perspective. The application procedure might vary depending on where you’re applying from (those from Canada, Australia and New Zealand might find the process a little easier, for example).

Here’s what you need to know and do:

Application Dates

First thing to keep in mind is that application due dates are going to be a fair amount of time earlier than the University application deadlines in your own country. I’m applying to get into programs that start in the Fall of 2016, and my deadline is October of 2015. To be on the safe side, I set my own deadline of September 30th, and was able to finish a little early.

There’s another thing to consider along these lines as well. If you are applying to schools both in your own country as well as in the UK (or anywhere else other than your own country), you need to keep in mind that you might get accepted at different times. This might seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes down to having deadlines regarding when you need to accept your acceptance, they might conflict.

For example: I don’t need to apply to my US schools until January. While I’m anticipating going to school in the UK, if a particular school in the US accepts me, I’d be an idiot to turn it down (long story, one you can piece together by reviewing past blog entries). However, because I’m applying to my UK schools earlier, I’ll hear back from them earlier, and might have a deadline to accept them which is before I hear back from US schools. This means I have to gamble and make a choice early. If you find yourself in this situation, I don’t have an answer for you – yet. It may come with time.

Where to Apply

Do your homework. Make sure you find the programs that are best suited to you and at which schools. It’s easier if you do this before hand, but you can do this while you’re filling out your application (I’ll get to that next).

The way the application process works in the UK, is fairly brilliant (at least, in comparison to the way US university applications work). You need only go to one website ( www.UCAS.com )  and apply to the programs you’re interested in. there are some stipulations, however.

You can only apply to five programs

Chose your programs wisely. You can apply to one or two universities if you want, or five different ones. However, it counts the programs you apply to. For example, two programs I was interested in were the English Literature program and the Literature and Philosophy program at Durham University. While they’re both at one school, they count as two programs.

You don’t need your letters of recommendation.

As I scrambled to harass my teachers to gather my letters of recommendation to upload to the server, I realized that they didn’t want any files or PDF’s at all. Instead, they want you to chose a person they will interview. For this they require that you firstly get permission from your reference to give out their contact information, as well as ask them when they are not available to take calls of this nature. Then the site asks that you pass along your reference’s email address, phone number, and address. After this is done, you are able to send out an invitation to your reference, to which they agree to, and then “they” (the website? The administrations department of the Universities? I don’t know) contact your reference and get their glowing review.

The Cost of Applying

It is normal for there to be a processing fee for any university you apply to. I happen to know that the university in my hometown of Bellingham – Western Washington University – charges $55, while other schools like Cornell and Columbia Universities, can charge an upwards of $75 processing fee.

With UCAS, there too is a fee. However, unlike applying for schools in the US, you won’t be paying per university. You’ll pay a one time fee of £22 for your application, which translates to (approximately, with the exchange rates current to the date of this post) $33.54 (USD), $44.79 (CAD), $47.92 (AUD), and €29.84 (EUR).

How Long To Expect to Wait

I won’t lie, I don’t have an exact time frame on this. However, many of the answers I have found have estimated between 10-14 working days. And I assure you, they will be the longest 14 business days you’ve ever encountered. But once you know, one way or the other, it’ll be worth it.

Good luck applying!

All Over The Place–Making My Blog More Prolific

This quarter is going to be rough, but at the same time, fairly simply. I’m taking four classes, all of which are proving to be reading and writing intensive. However, two of them are Philosophy classes (Critical Thinking and Introduction to World Religion, both taught by the same professor – who I had during Spring quarter in my Gender, Science and Literature class – and one of my classes is an IDS class called Religion, Society and Self, and my fourth is an honors English class. Really, I have a quarter filled with analysis which simply involves philosophical thinking.

However, after hearing essentially the same lecture each day from my professor who teaches the same class, though in different contexts, I have realized something not only about myself, but about this blog: there is more to this that I am giving credit to.

My instructor for the two classes, Watters, is filled with little applicable sayings. Granted, due to the nature of his classes, he ought to be. However, a few of them are allowing me to connect some dots, allowing me to realize how much every aspect of my experience is intertwined and contributing not just to the me, but to the we.

Watters made mention of this, though didn’t go into as much detail during my Gender, Science and Literature class from a couple quarters ago. This time, he actually explained it in full. He called himself out on the main critique many students and faculty have about him – something that I have heard from co-workers in the Writing Center as well.

He cleared the whiteboard, grabbing a pen at random and began throwing up random dots all along the blank slate.

“People say I’m all over the place.” He put more dots on the board, scattering them vastly. “I’m here, and over here – no one knows what this point over here is – and then I’m way over here, and there–” more dots. He turned to us. “I’m all over the place. But what is the key word here?” He eyed us, challenging the answer. “The. And what does the associate with? Place. I’m all over the place. How many places is it? One.” He paused, in his classic way of allowing us to digest this. “If you stand far enough back, all of these points come together and become one point.”

And thus, I wish to rename my blog.

I am not just the student–or rather, I am a student (as should you be), but I’m not just the individual currently enrolled in the American educational system. I am a thinker, I am a being curious in the workings of reality, material and metaphysical, known and unknown. All these things contribute to that which is me.

The idea that is presented by Thomas Berry in the movie The Great Story is the idea that one is all. if there is truly one deity, this deity is limitless. If this deity created the universe, and did so in its image, then that is the universe. We as humans cannot be its image, because we are limited. Thus, everything in creation holds and aspect of this deity, and where one thing ends, another begins. The Universe is limitless, as we understand it.

Let us consider this as a plausible theory. If this is so, and I am an aspect of this deity–just as you are, the banana you ate for breakfast, the computer you’re typing on, and the socks you discarded after stepping in a puddle and soaking them–then why should I limit myself–or this blog–to one definition?

I’ve been finding myself struggling to write. I do want to write, I do want to blog, and over the last year – particularly after Toby and I split up, I’ve struggled to know what to write about. I have defined this blog as my journey through higher education, and that which contributes to it. So I write about how I survive–working with goat cheese and as a tutor–as a student, and what I learn as a generic student. But there is so much more to the experience. I want to write about the science articles I come across on break that are simply something interesting to consider. I want to talk about the change of the seasons and how they contribute to my belief system. I want to talk about the zealots down town that picket the farmers market and tell us we’re all burning in Hell. I want to talk about compassion, stationary (I have a very odd passion for stationary), what I do to keep warm instead of wearing socks, the vegan Thanksgiving I enjoyed, and so on.

This needs to be more than simply the student experience as one might initially consider. This needs to be the human experience, since we are all students of life–and if we’re denying that to ourselves, then we ought to just jump ship because what’s the point?

So, I have decided to rename the blog (if I can figure out how) to All Over the Place. This is in part in tribute to my instructor who talks in circles, repeating the same thing over and over, and bringing us to different understandings each time; an in part because I simply am all over the place, and I just can’t limit myself any longer.