Study in UK

Are you considering studying in the UK? Education Consultant Karan Gupta takes through the admission process

 

You should start your application process one year ahead of when you want to study in the UK - you will then have ample time to finish the entrance tests and application procedures. One of the common dilemmas that students face is - how do you select your ideal universities? Several well known and trusted rankings are available to help you decide which universities to apply to. But rankings are just one of the criteria that you should use in determining whether or not you want to apply to a particular university. It would be prudent to pay more attention to information received from alumni and current students, as this source is most reliable. Remember, no matter which university you are applying to, you must carefully follow their application instructions and meet their entrance requirments.

The good news is that the UK application process is the simplest of all developed countries. Undergraduate students or students applying for Bachelors degrees, only need to fill out one UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission Service) form. This form can be completed online and you can send the form to a maximum of five universities. Besides demographical information and academic grades, the form also asks for a short personal statement and one recommendation letter from any professor. You can complete the online application on www.ucas.com . If, for any reason, you do not get admission to any of the 5 universities you listed on the UCAS form, you will be permitted to add additional choices at later stage.

The postgraduate application is different and you have to fill separate applications for each university. With two reference letters, a personal statement and transcripts of your undergraduate degree college you are ready to apply.

The only exam that undergraduate students need for admissions to UK universities is the IELTS. The SAT or ACT is not required by UK universities. Graduate students also need only the IELTS. There are exceptions as top MBA programmes such as London Business School, Cambridge University and Oxford University, all, require applicants to take the GMAT. Similarly applicants to London School of Economics need the GRE for admissions to most courses. Your best bet is to individually check with each university what their admission requirements are, before you apply.


What is the 
IELTS?

The IELTS is a simple exam which tests your ability to speak, read, write and understand English. The different sections of the test are:

 Listening
• Academic Reading
 Academic Writing
 Speaking

The test results are normally available within two weeks. Candidates receive scores on a band scale from 1 to 9.  The test scores are valid for two years. To register for the IELTS you can visit www.ielts.org 

Do UK universities offering MBA programmes need the GMAT for admissions?

The GMAT seems to be the biggest hurdle for students planning for an MBA. But do only US universities need the GMAT? “When I checked with the top universities in the UK, most of them asked for a GMAT score of above 600. I was under the impression that I could escape the GMAT if I apply to the UK,” says Raghav Patel, a student planning to apply to the UK for an MBA.

The British MBA courses are moving steadily up the international rankings and many students are now applying for UK MBAs. European and UK B schools usually follow a one-year curriculum for their MBA programme and require candidates to have many years of work experience before they can be admitted. Thus the students not only gain from the curriculum but also have valuable inputs from an experienced class. Generally most of the top universities (no matter where they are located in the world) may ask you to take the GMAT before your file is considered for admissions. The ones who do require the GMAT tend to give more importance to work experience. Some universities also state that you have to be 25 years or over to meet the entry requirements.

As a rule of thumb, UK B schools do not need the GMAT. The schools which need the GMAT are the ‘top’ schools such as London Business School, Oxford University, Imperial College, and Cambridge University, among others. However, if you do not have much work experience and would still want to apply for an MBA, sometimes a high GMAT score will tilt the admission scale in your direction. Of course, a high GMAT score is not a sure indicator of admission and top business schools eloquently put is as “a high GMAT score does not guarantee admission, and a below average score does not eliminate a candidate.”

When you begin with the application process to apply to UK universities, your first step is to thoroughly research your potential universities. The entry requirements of each program need to be carefully understood including the work experience as well as the GMAT requirements. Be sure to have introspected on your career goals and what you wish to do after your course.

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