College guidance

Top 12 FAQs for admission to UK universities

We have put together all the information that your students need about getting admission to their chosen programs in UK universities. From shortlisting colleges, deadlines to switching subjects, we have covered it all. Don't forget to download the sharable PDF for your students.

Devika Bhattacharya
October 7, 2022
4 min
Top 12 FAQs for admission to UK universities
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Top 12 FAQs for admission to UK universities

When students plan to apply for admission in the UK for undergraduate programs, several questions trouble them. They have to consider factors like rankings, placements, location, fees, course curriculum, college culture, and research work. From basic requirements and foundation courses to combining or changing subjects after admission, this post will answer the top questions about applying to UK universities. Matthew Crisp, International Student Recruitment Manager at the University of Surrey, provides first hand information and guidance for studying in the UK. 

  1. What are the general admission requirements for UK institutions? 

UK universities select students based on their academic records. The application essay should speak about the academic achievements and extracurricular activities that demonstrate an interest in research and independent learning. Some universities may need an English language certificate. 

Applicants have to follow the application deadline. For Oxford and Cambridge applications, as well as students applying to programs in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, please ensure that all applications are completed before October 15. Students applying to all other courses (except some art and design programs) will have to put in their applications before Jan 25 next year. Counselors can assist students to connect with the respective universities’ admissions office for specific information about the requirements for a course.

  1. What happens if the student wants to change courses? Is that even possible? 

Switching to a related subject within the same faculty or department is permitted at most universities. Students can get these minor changes done in the first few months after discussions with the university management. . However, choosing an entirely different course or subject is not allowed in UK universities. In such a case, students have to drop out and reapply. The process for such a change is tedious. 

It is advisable that students look at course prerequisites and subject requirements and then choose the major that they want to opt for. Students must have studied the related subjects at school to be able to make the switch. 

  1. Can students submit partial AP scores along with their application and get a conditional offer of admission? 

Yes, most UK universities allow students to submit partial AP scores when they apply. Since AP does not have predictive grades, admissions teams accept partial scores. 

During the pandemic, some countries postponed the examinations for senior year students. In such a situation, universities will accept partial or predictive scores, as given by teachers. The students will receive a conditional offer, which will be confirmed once they have sent the final scores to the university.

  1. What are the requirements for students wanting to study medicine in the UK? 

The Cialfo platform offers in-depth information about the colleges that offer medicine as a course and their prerequisites. Students can find out all the requirements regarding qualifications, processes, interviews, etc. by searching for Medical courses within the Cialfo platform. 

The Medic Portal is also a reliable resource for students who want to study medicine in the UK. 

  1. What is the recommendation for someone who wants to study Business and Science in the UK? 

Most universities will ask students to choose either Business Studies or Science, as it is not a common practice to combine two subjects that are so different. However, there are ways in which students can pursue both, such as the Optional Module pathway. Students can choose an optional subject along with the primary one. 

Also, students may participate in a club related to their chosen subject. For example, someone studying Science but interested in Business Studies may join an Entrepreneurship club and learn business management. 

  1. Are students without IGCSE at a disadvantage when it comes to UK admissions? 

While students who have not studied IGCSE are not at a disadvantage, they will have to complete a requirement similar to the IGCSE, especially for English and Mathematics. As a standard, all degrees will require As or Bs. A student applying for a Science major will need As in those subjects. 

If a student scores As in English, Mathematics, and Biology, it supersedes the IGCSE. Hence, it is considered good enough for admission. 

  1. Tell about the financial aid and scholarships available. 

In the UK, universities may have different financial support plans for resident students and international ones. We advise students to contact the admissions office to ask about the concession they can avail. 

Students can also explore the Cialfo scholarship available to applicants who register on the Cialfo platform. 

  1. How should students decipher the rankings when choosing a college?

Rankings influence the decision of students. While the overall ranking does matter, it is essential to see how the university performs for a specific program. Hence, students should look at a university's score for the particular course or subject they target. 

Colleges also get scores based on infrastructure, research capacity, culture, etc. Senior year students can compare the universities based on several parameters on the Cialfo platform. 

  1. After completing a Foundation year, does a student need to apply again to continue the tertiary course? 

Foundation year is for students who want to enter the program a year prior and gain the required skills to be at par with students who have had international education at the school level. The UK Foundation is extremely subject-specific and does not provide additional English language training. 

When a student gets into the Foundation course, he is qualified to continue with the complete program at the university. After finishing the Foundation course, students do not need to apply again. They can directly move to the first year of the program. 

  1. What is the best advice for a candidate applying as an international student? 

The notable piece of advice would be to visit the individual university websites and check their requirements. Looking at country-specific pages will be helpful for international students. Admission offices receive a large number of applications every year for each program.So, reaching out to departments responsible for international students will be beneficial. 

Post-pandemic, many universities have initiated live chat options on their websites, where students can reach the admissions  team. 

  1. Is there any way to research the standing of a course at a college, apart from the established rankings?

The grades accepted by a college for a particular course is an effective indicator to assess its standard and value. Whether it is an ABB or BBB will indicate requirements and selectiveness of a college for a specific course.

  1. Can students apply to the UK via Cialfo's Direct Apply? 

Students can easily apply to all universities in the UK from Cialfo using Direct Apply and enjoy application fee waivers. Cialfo’s Direct Apply also supports double-track applications, which will allow students to apply to both undergraduate and foundation programs at the same time.

Once students have applied and successfully accepted an offer from a UK university via Direct Apply, Cialfo will provide them with personalized support throughout the visa application process with application service fee waivers, as well as pre-departure guidance. 

Catch the glimpses from the webinar for additional information on the UK application process. 

We are thankful to Matthew Crisp, International Student Recruitment Manager at the University of Surrey, for answering queries about admission to UK universities.

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