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1. Do I need Higher education counsultant to study abroad?

A good education consultant can help you to choose the right course at the right institution with right directions for your academic and career progressions. They can provide you one-stop services and save you time, money and from accidental/wrong decisions.

2. Is it mandatory to apply for admission overseas via education agency?

To study at overseas universities, it is not mandatory for students to apply through education agents; they can submit their admission applications by their own. However, most of the students fail to understand the process, make mistakes in application and become unsuccessful in securing a place as per their requirements. Additionally, some students prepare poorly for visa applications and interviews – this often results in visa refusal.

3. What is academic reference?

Do I need to give academic reference in my application? Academic references are recommendations that highlight a student’s academic history with the academician/tutor, strength, character, and academic and/or career goals. This are normally given by tutors that have taught your current course or immediate past course.

Almost all UK universities will require this with your application for admission. Some universities ask for this letter in institution’s letterhead, but most of the universities will require: name of the referee, designation, name of institution, address, telephone number and email address on the application form and the prospective university contact the referee/s by themselves to collect the references/recommendations.

4. Do I need to disclose any medical condition I may have in the application form?

Yes, you must disclose this. This will help the Tier 4 sponsor to arrange resources for you if you are offered a place. Severe medical condition or pregnancy that will follow a child birth shortly may affect your attendance in class – disclosures would allow your Tier 4 Sponsor to make correct decision and provide helps and supports effectively.

5. Do I need to disclose any criminal conviction in the application form?

Yes, you will have to disclose this – it would help the Tier 4 Sponsor to follow the correct procedures to safeguard everybody’s interests.

6. What is Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)? Who needs ATAS?

All international students who are applying to study for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate and submit with Tier 4 visa application.

You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 9 months before the start date of your course. An ATAS certificate is valid for 6 months from date of issue. You need to apply online for ATAS. It will take at least 20 working days for your ATAS application to be processed.

If you are already in the UK on a non-student visa which was issued on or after 6/04/2015, you must apply for an ATAS certificate before starting your studies. If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you do not need an ATAS. If you’re in the process of applying for asylum in the UK, you must apply for an ATAS certificate to study in the UK.

7. What does ‘intake’ mean? How many intakes your universities and colleges have?

For universities/colleges ‘intake’ is the time that they can take you in for a course. Normally, UK universities/ colleges have intakes in January/February and September/October each year. However, some universities/colleges have April/May, July/August intakes in addition. Students who require pre-sessional English course might be given earlier start date to match the main intake.

8. Can I apply for part-time course and obtain a student visa for the UK?

No, international student must take a full-time course to obtain or extend a student visa in the UK.

9. What is ‘sandwich degree’?

 A sandwich degree is a 4 year undergraduate course in which students study 3 years at universities and undertake a placement or internship for 1 year in the industry. The work-placement/internship year is taken in between the study (normally after the 2nd year of study). Since either side of the work-placement/internship is study period (replica of sandwich: 2 year study+1 year internship+1 year study), the degree is called sandwich degree.

10. What is a Joint Honours Degree?

 In a Joint Honours degree, you can study two courses – these two courses could be closely related or completely different. Depending on how much time you want to spend on each subject, your degree may emphasise one subject more than the other, which is a major and minor programme. Alternatively, you can study your subjects equally, resulting in a joint degree.
Joint Honours degrees are taught in the same way as single honours degrees, with 120 credits taught per year, over three years. Admission to a Joint Honours course is similar to the regular single undergraduate degrees.

11. What are SELT and CEFR?

SELT stands for Secured English Language Test – it is used to measure students’ English language proficiency levels in speaking, listening, reading and writing i.e. IELTS test.

CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for languages. CEFR defines foreign language proficiency at six levels: A1 and A2, B1 and B2, C1 and C2.

To apply for a study visa in the UK, you may need a SELT with proficiency equivalent to particular CEFR level which is determined by course level and sometimes entry requirements of the educational institutions.

12. What is pre-sessional English course?

 This is an English course taken prior to the main course designed for international students for academic purposes. The programmes are designed for international students who does not have the required level of English proficiency or need to improve their English language proficiency as a condition of entry to universities. In addition to developing English Language skills at required level for the main course, these courses help to develop the necessary cultural and study skills, knowledge about academic environment and life in the UK.

13. Do UK universities accept IGCSE? With an IGCSE, which course I will be able to undertake at UK?

Yes, UK Universities accept IGCSE and it is recognised as being equivalent to O-Level (RQF Level 2). With an IGCSE, you can undertake an International Foundation Programme first before you can start your Bachelors. You can take stand-alone International Foundation Programme or you can take both International Foundation Programme and Bachelors together.

14. Can I take a master's course with pre-masters at a UK University if I do not qualify direct for the master's?

Yes, you can take pre-masters and masters course together at UK University. You have the option to undertake stand-alone pre-masters course too.

You may also choose to do A-Level too at a UK A-Level provider institution and then proceed on to do your Bachelors.

15. What is an MBA course?

 An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a postgraduate degree normally taken after BBA/Bachelor degree. There are MBAs in different subject areas nowadays. Some MBA courses may require prior work experience as entry requirements.
General MBA course is often branded as ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ as the course provide bit of knowledge of key business functions while does not dig in depth.
MBA with specific concentration focuses in specialist area and provided more insights and avail better career prospects.
Some MBA courses are offered with Work Placement/Industrial attachment and make students ’employment-ready’ alongside the qualification.
Students from other discipline not related to the MBA course pursued, may choose to undertake, Pre-masters and MBA together – the Pre-Masters course will prepare them with good foundation for the MBA study.

16. Can I take an MBA course in the UK without work experience?

 Is it mandatory to have work experience for MBA course admission? Do you have MBA courses with work placement? It is not mandatory by most of the universities in the UK to have work experience for admission in the MBA courses. Most of the universities offer places to international students without work experience. There are range of MBA course offered with work placement/internship/industrial placements etc. by our partner universities in the UK.

17. What is the difference between MS and MSc course?

Both MSc and MS are postgraduate programmes at masters levels.

MSc is typically a master degree in pure science discipline i.e. MSc in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science. However, nowadays many universities offer MSc in business, management, finance and humanity disciplines too. MSc course usually provides specific knowledge in the area of MSc studied. Students aiming careers as academic or target to do MPhil, PhD choose to undertake MSc courses.

MS is more industry focused professional course e.g. MTech, MEng etc. Studying an MS prepares students for high end technical and professional careers in the relevant industry.

18. What are the differences among MSc, MA, MBA: Management degree programs?

Why the titles are different though they are all business/management masters? MSc, MA, MBA management degrees are all masters degrees and postgraduate programmes.

MSc (Master of Science) is a postgraduate programme with science or technical focus. MSc in Business/Management programme is for students who recently finished a same or similar course and now want to enhance it with deeper and specific knowledge in particular area.

MA (Master of Arts) is a postgraduate programme and MA in Business/Management discipline normally targets students from other academic background.

MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a postgraduate programme in business management. MBAs are normally designed to provide business management knowledge in all functional areas of business organisations without specific to any particular function. However, concurrent universities have MBAs in specific subjects too i.e. MBA in Law, MBA in Oil & Gas etc.

19. What is a University and what is a College?

Universities often known as Higher Education Institutions/Providers in the UK, are educational institutions of higher learning and research. Universities have degree awarding power and grant academic degrees in a wide range of subjects at undergraduate, postgraduate, research and professional levels.

In simple term, colleges are intermediary educational institutions between high school and universities. In the UK, colleges provide tution to students over the age of 16 in particular subject or skills for qualifications that are not usually academic degrees but lead to degree courses at universities. Colleges provide a rich mix of academic and vocational education for international students starting from academic level 3. Students can follow access course, national diploma, higher national diploma, foundation degree courses at wide variety of subjects and progress onto degree courses at universities.

20. What is an Embedded College?

Embedded College is a Tier 4 sponsor recognised by the Home Office as a private provider, usually part of a network and operating within or near to the premises of a Higher Education Institution (UK University), delivering pathway courses which prepare students for entry to higher education programmes at that Higher Education Institution. This does not include pre-sessional courses.

The Higher Education Institution must be a UK recognised body, or a body in receipt of public funding as a Higher Education Institution from the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, the Office for Students for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council or any other provider registered with the Office for Students.

Students study at Embedded Colleges can extend their visa from inside the UK.

21. What is TEF Ranking for UK universities?

Introduced in 2017 by UK Government, the TEF is called Teaching Excellence Framework – it is a system that assesses the quality of teaching at universities in England. It also includes some universities from Scotland and Wales.

TEF provides a resource for students to judge teaching quality in universities and to increase the importance of teaching excellence. Under TEF system, universities are rated gold, silver or bronze. These ratings are determined by six core metrics based on teaching, academic support and progression to employment. It also helps determining which universities are good for graduate prospects and student satisfaction. The main difference of TEF from other ranking system is that the TEF is a government-stamped resource and some students may consider that to be important when choosing a UK university.

22. What is a Statement of Purpose (SOP)? How can I write it?

 Statement of Purpose (SOP) as a personal statement gives clear statement of your purpose of choosing to study a certain course at certain institution.

23. Are Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose same thing? Can personal statement be copied and used for university application?

Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose are same.

Anything ‘Personal’ belongs to or affects a particular person rather than anyone else – it is unique and not public. Therefore, statement copied from others is not a personal statement as it does not relate you and it does not belong to you. It is very unlikely that your admission application will be successful with copied personal statement of purpose. Besides, the statement might be considered as plagiarised work and due to this your application could be cancelled.

24. How long does it take to get an offer?

 Normally, it takes 1 week to 3 weeks to get an offer – however, it could take longer if your application requires further clarification or documents to be considered for a place. Offers or decisions for PhD or other doctorate courses could take 6 weeks to 12 weeks.

25. What is the difference between Conditional Offer and Unconditional Offer?

 In the Conditional Offer, Universities/Colleges give some conditions that you need to fulfil to be accepted unconditionally. Once you meet those conditions, they issue Unconditional Offer.

26. How can I pay the fees to University/College?

University/College will give the bank details/online link to pay tuition fees – you can pay direct to them. If you are applying first time for UK study visa from your home country, you may need to take NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the education ministry or central bank from your country. We advise you to open a ‘student account’ in the bank you have account with in your home country – this will help you to bring money from home country to the UK for future subsequent study fees and maintenance expenses.

27. What is a CAS? Do I need to submit it with my visa application?

CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. It is a reference, combination of numbers and letters and issued by UK Government’s Home Office on the request of sponsoring universities/colleges. Your University/College will provide this to you – you will need the CAS reference to apply for your student visa. CAS Reference is valid for 6 months from the issue date. You can use your CAS reference up to 3 months before the course start date.

There is nothing called CAS Letter (The provision of Visa Letter is abolished by Home Office in February 2010). Along with your CAS reference, your University/College will give some information that you require to apply for visa –this is called CAS Statement. This may be emailed to you or you may get this from the online portal.

You do not need to submit this with your visa application. So, do not get confused if the CAS reference and the statement is not printed on the University/College’s letterhead pad (hard copy) and then posted to you. The CAS reference links to an electronic record on the Home Office database, they have those information already.

28. Can I use the CAS reference to study a different course or at different University/College?

Can another student use my CAS reference to apply for his/her study visa? No, CAS reference is generated by Home Office for a specific course at specific Tier 4 Sponsor, University/College – therefore, you cannot use it to study a different course or at a different institution. The CAS reference issued for you is unique to you only – nobody else can use this for his/her visa application.

29. What do I do if there is a mistake in the CAS statement? Will I need another CAS reference?

Normally, your Tier 4 sponsor will double-check the information with you by sending a ‘draft’ statement before the issuance of CAS reference – therefore, the scope of mistake is limited. However, if there is one, you need to tell them clearly what is it and then they will amend it by a ‘sponsor note’ and it would be electronically updated in the record of Home Office.

You do not need another CAS reference unless there are number of gross mistakes which are very unlikely.

30. When will the University/College arrange the CAS reference for me? How long does it take to get it?

Once you accept the Unconditional Offer and confirm the acceptance of place, pay the fees or make deposit of fees as mentioned, you can request for the CAS reference. The University/College may want to see evidence for your maintenance funds and other related financial documents.

Normally, it should not take more than 3 working days for the institution to arrange for your CAS reference, but in busy period it could take slightly extra time.

31. What is ‘term’, ‘term-time’, ‘semester’ & ‘academic year’?

A term is a portion of a year and usually there are 3 terms in an academic year e.g. autumn, spring and summer. Each term is about 3 months long and separated by holidays. A term may or may not include the assessment period.

Term-time is the time when universities/colleges are open to hold classes for continuous period.

A semester describe two six-monthly periods that divide the academic year into two halves – it includes term-times, holidays and examination periods. Most of the universities/colleges have 2 semesters in a calendar year and accommodate 3 terms in one academic year. However, some universities and colleges are conducting 3 semesters in a year.

An academic year is normally 9 months (3 terms) usually calculated from the beginning of the autumn term (early September) to the end of the summer term (late July). In the UK, educational institutions usually hold classes for 30-32 weeks in one academic year.

32. What is ‘work-placement’?

 In the UK, some courses are offered with work-placement. These courses are deigned to place you at work to enable you gaining practical application of the theoretical knowledge you have attained from the study. This is part of the learning outcomes and supervised by the course tutor to make sure you gain the required skills and competency. Courses with work-placement may potentially give students a head start of their career on completion.

33. What is ‘internship’?

An internship is a period when students (interns) take ‘on-the-job’ training and work experience related to their field of study. Some universities offer courses with internship – usually universities avail this opportunity as per their arrangements with associated employer companies from different industries to give graduates exposure to the working environment.

34. How many days I will have to attend class per week?

You will have to attend at least 15 hours day time weekday class per week. Normally, it is split over 3 to 4 days a week and may vary in accordance with the course or university’s requirements. You must always maintain at least 80% attendance over the study period.

35. Can I do extra studies in addition to the course I will be studying at my University/College?

 Yes, you are allowed to take extra course i.e. evening courses, weekend courses or part-time courses that do not clash with classes of your main course for which you have obtained your student visa. You do not need permission from UKVI or from your sponsor university/college for this, but you must make sure that the extra study does not hamper your academic progress as expected of the main course by your education provider.

35. Can I do extra studies in addition to the course I will be studying at my University/College?

 Yes, you are allowed to take extra course i.e. evening courses, weekend courses or part-time courses that do not clash with classes of your main course for which you have obtained your student visa. You do not need permission from UKVI or from your sponsor university/college for this, but you must make sure that the extra study does not hamper your academic progress as expected of the main course by your education provider.

36. What is academic progress?

Academic progress is the progress that students make towards successful completion of the academic requirements of the course in which they are enrolled. To gain academic progress, you will need to pass the units/modules/subjects required for you to complete the course and gain the qualification within a reasonable timeframe. If you fail to make satisfactory academic progress, your Tier 4 sponsor may need to withdraw the sponsorship and report it to UKVI.

37. What is UKVI?

 IELTS for UKVI’ is a UK government approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). his means that IELTS can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application.

38. Can international students (who are already in the UK) extend visa from inside UK without leaving for home country, after completing a course in the UK?

Yes, international students can extend visa from inside the UK for a follow up course provided they fully complete the earlier course and get accepted by the university i.e fulfil entry requirements, have enough time left in cap and the prospective course starts within 28 days of current visa expiry.

Additionally, students may be able to extend visa from inside UK to re-sit modules they failed earlier.

39. What are the reasons for Tier 4 Student Visa Refusals?

There are many reasons for visa refusals but here are a few of the common reasons –

Failure to prove genuine intention to study or credibility as genuine student;
Lack of knowledge about the prospective course;
Lack of knowledge about the prospective university;
Intention to leave the country at the end of the course;
Intention to leave the country at the end of the course;
Submission of an invalid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS);
Failure to submit specified financial documents.

40. Can I bring my dependent from home country while I am studying in the UK as General Student?

If you are studying or going to study a minimum 12 month course at Master’s level (RQF Level 7) course in the UK as a General Student in the UK, you can bring your dependent/s from home country (if they are already in the UK and having another visa category, they can switch to your dependent visa from inside the UK).

41. Will I get permission to work while following my bachelor course in the UK as an international student?

Yes, you will. International students studying bachelor or higher level course in the UK get 20 hours permission to work at term-time, and they can work full-time during holiday.

42. If I show money in my parents' account for maintenance fund required for Tier 4 Visa application, what evidence I need to submit with my visa application?

 If you show money in your parent’s/parents’ account for student visa application maintenance funds, you will need to submit your birth certificate (in English) and declaration letter by your parent/parents that they have consent for you to use that funds unconditionally as and when required for your higher study purpose in the UK.

43. Can students who have previous visa refusal be accepted by UK universities and get successful student visa?

 Yes, normally universities will accept you if your past visa refusal was not on credibility ground to justify genuineness or based on falsified document/s. If the prospective universities accept you and issue CAS, it is very likely that you will be successful in your visa application provided you fulfil and satisfy other conditions.

44. Which works are not allowed for international students in the UK?

If you are on student visa, you must not do any prohibited works under any circumstances. The following works are not allowed:

Employment as a professional or semi-professional sportsperson (including a sports coach);
employed as an entertainer e.g. DJ, musician (whether self-employed or as a paid employee);
taking part in television shows ;
any freelance work, including working remotely (outside of a company office, but connected digitally e.g. emails) from any country;
performing for audiences on stage, cabaret or comedy shows e.g. singing, stand-up comedy, playing music, tribute acts, children’s magician;
Business activities.

45. Will it be possible to change to a different course or subject after I start the course that I get student visa at a UK university?

 It is very unlikely that you will be able to change your course as an international student because your visa was issued for the course you originally decided to undertake. It would be even difficult to change subject, normally impossible. Hence, you should be careful before making decision about course and subject.

46. Will it be possible to change university once I reach UK for another UK university?

No, you will be sponsored by the university where you will come to study your course. You will not be able to change university until you finish the course. If you must change the university, you will need to go outside UK and re-apply to the new university that you want to study.

Once you finish the course and get the qualification you come to study at the university that sponsored you, you can change to a new one from inside the UK and apply for a new visa i.e. extends your visa.

47. What is Student Union Sabbatical Officer?

Students’ union sabbatical officers are paid, elected executive union positions. The term “sabbatical officer” also includes those elected to posts with the National Union of Students (NUS). These posts are usually full time and for one year, but can be shorter. In many cases, you will be able to stand for re-election for a second year, but this depends on the rules of your students’ union.

Students and recent graduates who have Tier 4 student immigration permission which allows them to work can undertake a full-time sabbatical officer post. You can do the post part way through your course or in the academic year after you finish it . During the post, you are also allowed to take extra employment for up to 20 hours a week. You might also be able to do the sabbatical officer post on a part-time basis, but you must not work more hours than are allowed by your current Tier 4 leave, usually 20 hours a week in total, and you must also continue studying full-time.

48. What if I finish my study course earlier than the end date mentioned in the CAS?

 If your course finishes early because you have successfully completed your course earlier than expected, UKVI will curtail your leave so that you have the same wrap-up period of leave after the new course end date as you were originally given for your original course end date. For example, if you were originally granted leave with a wrap-up period of four months after the end date of your course, we will normally curtail your leave so that you have four months’ leave remaining after your new course end date. Your Tier 4 Sponsor (University/College) will report the new end date to UKVI and UKVI will communicate you with adjusted visa dates.

49. What change of circumstances inside UK international students need to report to Home Office?

You must report any changes if you are in the UK and have either: got a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or applied for a BRP but haven’t had a decision yet. The following changes must be reported:

# changes to your name or personal details (your contact details, your legal representative’s details, dependent family members’ details, if you separate from your partner, if you get a criminal conviction, if any of your children stop living with you);
# If you are outside the UK and there’s a change to your reason for going to the UK, Visa type, Visa sub type etc., you will need to contact the visa application centre where you applied. You may need to make another visa application at your local visa application centre;
# Other changes whilst you are in the UK: name, nationality, appearance, date of birth, gender, details of new passport, criminal convictions, changes of relationships with family members who have leave to be in the UK as your dependent and other relevant changes.

50. What is culture shock? How can I overcome culture shock while studying at a university and living in the UK?

“Culture shock” is a shock that international students experience due to moving from a familiar culture to one which is unfamiliar. You could experience the shock of a new environment, new people, new life-style, the shock of being separated from the important people in your life including family, friends, teachers: people who give you support and guidance. When familiar sights, sounds, smells or tastes are no longer there you can miss them very much & be in a state of mental confusion and even small and
trivial things may upset you for no reason. Culture shock can hit anybody, but do not worry, it is normally a temporary phase.

To overcome the shock, take this temporary phase as normal experience that almost everyone goes through. You should keep in touch with home and keep familiar and personal things around you, eat familiar food and maintain healthy diet, make friends with other international students, get involved with university activities, student union and societies etc.