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Applying to University as a foreign student (UK)

Applying to a UK university can be a confusing and tense process, even more so if you are applying from abroad so let this guide help you realise your dream in further education.

Choose the course


Applications for UK universities are made through UCAS. You can research and search for the courses that interest you on here as well as reading university prospectuses. To help you choose a university ready this article.


Open Days


If possible arrange to come to the University open days. Seeing the campus in person can really help you decide if you can see yourself there for 3 years.



Check the entry requirements that you can realistically fulfill. The top Universities have the most competition so places are extremely limited. You can choose up to 5 courses. There may also be English language requirements depending on the course so check if this is a standard as well.

*Note if you apply to Oxford or Cambridge there is a further application process.

References and Personal Statement

As UCAS state there are 6 sections to the application. The personal statement and your references are very important as they tell the admissions board why YOU should be chosen for that course. Use this as an opportunity to show your interest and passion for that subject.

Personal details
– so we can contact you and let you know about the replies your universities
have given.
– you can apply for up to five courses if you wish. There’s no preference order, and the
universities and colleges will not see the other choices.
– a list of current and pending qualifications.
– details of any full or part-time paid employment.
Personal statement
– a very important part of the application to show a university or college
why you should be accepted on to the course (see below for details).
– a letter of recommendation from an adviser, teacher or other appropriate person
who knows you academically
UCAS infographic


You will then need to also apply for a student Visa if outside the EU.

Here is a guide to what the terms mean in the university application stage.

This means the applicant has met all the conditions set by the university or college and they
have a place.
The UCAS online application system for applying for higher education courses in the UK.
A service available between July and late October. It can help people without a university or college
place to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses.
Conditional offer
The university or college will offer the applicant a place if they meet certain conditions, which are
usually based on their exam results.
If the applicant has used all five choices on their application but has not been offered a place by
any university or college, they can apply through Extra for another course. In Extra, they can apply
for any course with vacancies. Extra is open between the end of February and early July.
Firm choice
The offer the applicant has accepted as their first choice.
Insurance choice
The offer the applicant has accepted as their second choice, in case they do not meet the
requirements of their first choice.

When a university or college has considered an application they make one of two decisions: offer
a place, or make the application unsuccessful.
Personal ID
An applicant will be given a 10-digit individual number when they register to use Apply. They will
need to give this number if they contact us or the universities about their application.
A written recommendation on an applicant’s application form from a teacher, adviser
or professional.
The online system where the applicant can track the progress of their application. They can use it
to check if they’ve received any offers and make their replies.
Unconditional offer
The applicant has met all the requirements and the university is happy to accept them.
The first level of study in higher education. Once a student has graduated from an undergraduate
course, they can move on to postgraduate study.

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