Applying to a UK University

Before making an application

The application process for most UK Universities is usually similar in that you apply via UCAS for undergraduate programmes and directly to the University for postgraduate programmes.  However, the application process may differ from university to university so we advise you to check this on the University websites.

Before making an application, you should spend time researching the University and the course to ensure it is the right choice (see “What to consider…” section, below).  Remember, each University provides a unique offering and you need to decide which course and environment is best for you!

In addition to your course/institution research, you should also prepare your supporting documents (e.g. academic and English language qualifications, academic references, etc) and a personal statement.  The personal statement will be important for undergraduate (and often postgraduate) applications as it provides the admissions staff with information about your motivation for, and interest in, your chosen subject area.  The personal statement will also give you the opportunity to write about what social, community, sporting activities are of interest to you outside your studies

Being fully prepared will ensure a faster, smooth-running application process.

What to consider when choosing a UK University?

You may be about to spend the next few years of your life living and studying in an overseas country.  Therefore, it is important that you choose an environment where you will feel most comfortable.  Please consider your choice carefully and DO NOT rely solely on University “league tables”.  There are a huge number of factors which you may wish to consider when choosing a UK University – see below for a selection:

  1. course content: many programmes have similar titles but different content (e.g. media programmes may be taught from an academic or a practical perspective)
  2. course title: if you require a scholarship from the Brunei Ministry of Education, is the course on the scholarship list? (list published beginning February each year)
  3. course entry requirements: choose Universities where you may realistically expect to meet the entrance requirements (A level grades)
  4. facilities: does the University have the facilities which are important to you?
  5. environment #1: is the University in the city or the countryside?
  6. environment #2: is it on a campus?
  7. accommodation: Do you have a varied choice? Is accommodation guaranteed? Is it close to your academic buildings?  Cost per months?  What type of food is available?
  8. sports & social activities: check on the University website (often the “Student Union” section) to see what clubs and societies you can join when you arrive at the University – an excellent way to meet students of all nationalities
  9. work placement (“sandwich” course): depending your choice of  course and  requirements, do you have the option to work for one year in industry on your course?
  10. employability: what do graduates from your department do after completing their studies in your University of choice?

Remember, many UK Universities now have Brunei Societies or individual Brunei students who will be happy to give you advice or answer your questions.  After all, they were once in your position and had the same questions as you!

Undergraduate Applications

Most UK universities require applicants for undergraduate (Bachelors, integrated Masters,  Foundation Degrees) courses to apply through UCAS.  However, some universities allow applicants to apply directly online or by completing a university application form.  You should check the ‘How to Apply’ pages on the relevant university’s website for clarification.  If you are not sure, you can contact the International Office at the university to check.

UCAS is the Universities Central Admissions Service and its website contains plenty of course and university information.  Most schools in Brunei have student counsellors or careers advisors who can provide guidance on how to use UCAS.  If your school does not offer this service, you can follow the step-by-step guide on www.ucas.ac.uk.  You may apply for 5 university places for all courses except Medicine (which is only 4).  The UCAS website is an extremely useful tool for finding out about each course’s entry criteria in the detailed ‘Entry Profiles’ pages. There are deadlines for UCAS applications by UK students of 15 October for Medicine and 15 January for all other courses (although International students may apply until to 15 June).  Whether you are a UK or international student, early applications are recommended for all courses as there are limited places in the UK.

Most UK Universities begin their academic year in September/October.  You may begin applying for courses via UCAS one year in advance of the academic year start date.

Postgraduate Applications

Many universities have the facility for applicants to apply directly online or via a university application form.  Individual university websites will supply information on their ‘How to Apply’ pages.

As well as completing an application form (or online form) you will need to send your chosen university copies of your academic transcripts, your English language qualification, a personal statement (not always necessary) and one or two academic references.  Some universities may just ask for the names and addresses of referees and other universities will ask for written original versions of references to be supplied.

International Representatives / Education Advisors (agents)

Most UK universities work with a network of international representatives and advisors.  The UK University will clearly list which overseas advisors they have a partnership with so please check the University website (usually “international office” webpage) for confirmation.

International representatives usually have a strong relationship with the UK University and a good knowledge of the courses and environment.  They can provide good advice to applicants and answer many questions.  The international representative may also monitor your application and keep you informed of its progress.  It is often helpful to have a local point of contact which may be able to advise and assist with the application progress.

However, you are NOT under any obligation to register with an education advisor – only do this if you want to and if it will be helpful for you.  Furthermore, if you do register with a local education advisor, all advice and assistance you receive will be free of charge to you, the applicant.