Things to Know about Applying to UK Universities

So, say you would like to study abroad, or perhaps you’ve already been accepted to a school. There are a couple things I wish someone had told me earlier that I will share:

The U.S. Government will lend you the money to get a degree in another country, just like they lend you the money to get a degree in the U.S! Cool! I never knew this until I asked around. You have to pick from one of the approved schools on a list, but there are plenty. Also, there are annual and lifetime limits to the amount of federal loans you can take out. Click here to get more info at federal student aid.

European degrees are often completed within a shorter time-frame than in the U.S. For example, British undergraduate degrees are often three years, rather than four. My Masters program is one year, rather than two. And law degrees are something you do in undergrad, rather than law school. Also, it goes without saying, but there are degree programs here you won’t necessarily find in the U.S. (mine, for example).

Deposits. I don’t know what it is like for others, but after receiving a “conditional offer” of admission, I put a £1000 deposit in order to secure an “unconditional offer” at Middlesex as an American student. Go ahead and do that conversion to dollars. In law school and college I was never asked for a deposit in return for an “unconditional offer,” so it definitely took me by surprise. The money was credited towards my tuition though. And since I already have significant debt, I decided to pay with my own money, rather than seek to borrow more. Keep in mind I never asked whether this deposit could be deferred or later deducted from my fedloans (which were received in the first week of the term); I simply paid it. So if you cannot pay a deposit, it is best to discuss your financial situation with the university.

UK visas. Read the guidance forms and application forms carefully. If you are filling out a form, and it references a separate guidance note, then find the guidance and read it! It was slightly confusing, even for me as a law student accustomed to legalese, but the guidance forms helped. Also, if you pay online, and the transaction doesn’t go through, then it could be because your bank rejected it as a suspicious transaction (which is what happened to me). You might want to call your bank to see if that is what happened before you try paying online again.

To all future students, I wish you luck with your studies and I hope you have a smooth transition to your chosen educational institution!

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