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When preparing for a university life, freshmen have to consider many details and spheres even besides academics. No matter how far you go to study, another country or another city, you have to take care of many things before the start of the academic year. What to begin with? When do the preparations start?
Of course, the first step in preparations is actually choosing and applying for a place in one or more establishments. Note that the application process is largely controlled by the Universities and Colleges Application Service (UCAS) that has only five application slots in its form meaning that an applicant can choose either to include 5 different courses within one establishment and choose 5 universities while applying for the same course in each of them. However, there is a little trick international students may not know about – there are establishments that accept direct applications thus increasing your chances.
When this step is done and a person knows the results, what is to do next? How to prepare for university after that? There are a few things for both local and foreign students to think about. First of all, accommodation. The only people who don’t need to worry about accommodation are freshmen already living near campuses. In any other cases, dormitories and rental apartments are unavoidable. Campus accommodation is a popular choice for freshmen who get the chance to meet seniors and learn about the student life, make new friends, and who simply do not want to live far from study buildings. An application has to be submitted as soon as the decision is made to be in time for still available rooms. Rental apartments are often too expensive for a single student, so the additional time is needed to search for a roommate.
Another task on the university preparation list is traveling and traffic. International students have to book tickets to get to the university some time before the start of a term. UK students also need to get to the destination, though the tickets are easier to buy. When living far away from the campus, a personal vehicle is of good assistance as the commute may be too troublesome.
Also, make sure you have an insurance in case of health problems and any accidents. Hospitals in the country are expensive and your safety should come first. Speaking of which, living in another part of a country or abroad may be dangerous if a student does not research the area and wonders in the wrong neighborhood at night or chooses an apartment there. So, make sure to ask the university staff about the city and read a lot of online information on the peculiarities of the location.
In addition, your university preparation program should include a budget. Planning your expenses is beneficial when done in advance. Finding a way to fund your life during studies may require some additional time. One of possible options is student funding by scholarships or grants. They may cover your tuition and accommodation expenses. If not, part-time jobs are popular among students and are easy to come by in big university cities. The regular positions include waiters, shop assistants, dishwashers, office assistants, and so on.
Great news for international students is that they are allowed to work part-time, unlike in many other popular student destinations. Working is allowed for all EU, Swiss, and EEA students. During terms, they are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week and full-time during breaks and vacations.
In case a decision is not made yet and you can be asked to come for an interview in an establishment, so you can also prepare for it. So, how to prepare for a university interview? There are many various ways on how to prepare to this important application step. One of the options is to search the Internet for blogs, articles, and videos on the topic. Many senior students record their stories and tips; university staff often does the same. They dwell on what questions interest a committee and what values and skills a student should show.
The list of things to prepare for university can be also found in the official UK university partner program SI UK. This is a free service that consults students before and during the application process. Its website has many guides on university applications, interviews included. Or, local students can make an appointment and visit the office to get a personal consultation on all university-related things.
There are also some specific courses to prepare for exams and interviews in certain universities. Usually, these are high-class establishments where only a small percent of the most gifted students have a chance to study. For example, there are special Cambridge university preparation courses on the web. They focus on all aspects of applying and preparing for studies.
As we have mentioned before, preparing to go to university can be done together with a free service SI-UK. They lead students through all steps of the process and offer as much help as they can.
One of the aspects of students’ life for international students is getting a visa and SI-UK can help with that too. A UK student visa is called Tier 4. This is the basic visa that suits all international students accepted to a UK university. The SI-UK website offers free consultations, lists of all necessary documents, and even contains a form with the basic information that will be used later on by the SI consultants.
When applying for a visa, a student should prepare their passport information, a few recent photographs, a university offer for a place on a course, proof of English proficiency, proof of financial support, account details, and so on. While the service helps a student with completing the form and checking all requirements, that person has to pay visa application fee on their own – a service charge of £348.
A few university preparation courses are offered all over the UK and even more online. Among them are the general courses that start way before the application time and touch all steps an applicant should follow. There are also a few specific programs mentioned before, as Cambridge or Oxford university preparation courses.
When choosing a university preparation course in London, make sure it includes some tips for a fresher’s week that aka new student orientation on when it is held and what to learn there. Make a list of questions you would like to get additional information on. The week usually holds a variety of orientation programs and events that can provide all that information that a preparation course misses.