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TOP-10 facts about getting quality education in England and the UK for international students

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TOP-10 facts about getting quality education in England and the UK for international students

Education in England is the subject of the desire of many students from all over the world - hundreds of thousands of students come to the United Kingdom every year to receive a quality, prestigious education. SMAPSE experts will reveal the reasons for this popularity and will prove to you that education in the UK is almost the best that a parent can give to his child. In this article you can find key, basic points.


What are the key advantages?

  • Diplomas and certificates received in England are highly valued all over the world, recognized internationally and are considered very prestigious. This is the guarantee of a successful career and a high, prestigious position and a good salary
  • The most advanced and advanced teaching methods, modern equipment and technology are used here, and the professionalism of teachers and curators is at an unusually high level
  • The educational institutions of England and Great Britain invariably occupy the upper lines of various world rankings - in many countries the British educational model became the basis for the national system
  • The versatility of the English language - it is English that is used all over the world in business, trade, tourism, science, information technology, etc. And where is the best way possible to study the language, how not in the country of its origin, in an atmosphere of complete linguistic and cultural immersion?
  • Compared to similar European and American programs, British studies do not differ much in price. The plus is the fact that you can get a Bachelor's degree here in just 3 years (not 4), and a Master's degree in just one year (not two), which reduces financial costs for study and living
  • The multiculturalism and multinationality of Britain serves as the best medium for developing a sense of belonging to a single world culture: real cosmopolitans and citizens of the world who are ready to live in a globalized society
  • The history of the educational system is not even tens, but hundreds of years! Educational traditions here have been strengthened for centuries. Even during the Middle Ages, educational activities were conducted by monks and church leaders, and the legendary university citadels Cambridge and Oxford have not given up their high positions for more than 700 years. At the same time, the national system continues to actively develop, modernize, keep pace with the times: there are large government subsidies. According to statistics, British scientists in aggregate received more Nobel Prizes than scientists from any other country in the world (with the exception of the United States), and in the total number of world scientific studies the work of scientists of the Misty Albion is about 5%.
  • Ongoing monitoring of the quality of education and services: every educational institution, regardless of its age and prestige, regularly undergoes numerous inspections and attestations. This is the responsibility of independent organizations such as the Office for Standards in Education, The British Council and the British Accreditation Council.

British educational system for international students

According to the laws, compulsory education of children from 5 to 16 years. The youngest students, toddlers, can attend kindergartens, and after completing secondary education you can continue your studies at a college or university or start working. In general, education systems in England, Scotland and Wales coincide, but they have many differences among themselves.

Educational institutions are divided into public and private. They differ in cost and conditions of admission, curricula and duration of semesters, but most often have the same conditions for examinations, the structure of studies and the level of academic preparation (the latter must comply with unified state standards).

  • Preschool education (3-4 years).

This level is not compulsory: according to statistics, only 30% of toddlers 3-4 years old study in such institutions.

  • Primary and secondary school (5-16 years).

Primary classes last from 5 to 11 years, and the secondary school ends in 16 years with the first level exams. Students who preferred the academic course (it is often called theoretical) receive the General Certificate of Secondary Education (in Scotland its equivalent is the Scottish Certificate of Education). Upon completion of professional preparation, the General National Vocational Qualification is issued, but other types of certificates and qualifications are provided.

As for private schools, they most often accept children from the age of 7 (before that, kindergartens or preparatory classes are offered to kids) - in primary school they study up to 13 years, and in secondary school - up to 16 years (also rent Exams of the first level).

  • Senior classes (advanced level, 16-18 years old).

By this time, students are already determined with further plans: to start working, go to college or university. In the latter case, students are expected to special two-year preparatory courses: after passing the profile exams of the first level, students enter the so-called 6th Form Colleges. Usually high school students are offered a wide range of subjects from which they independently choose the most priority options, relying on their own interests, tastes, abilities, requirements of the chosen university and profession. At 17-18 years (a little earlier in Scotland) the advanced, second-level exams are passed (A-level, its analogue in Scotland is Highers), which leads to GCSE. If the student was involved in the training program, he will receive the qualification and the diploma of GNVQ / NVQ Advanced.

An alternative to the traditional English way is the international course International Baccalaureate (IB). It unites the educational standards of various countries of the world and unifies the requirements for students. It is even more profound and saturated than the A-level: 6 profile selected subjects are studied, a personal research project and course work are written. But all efforts are rewarded: the IB certificate gives a significant advantage for European and American universities (the latter even enrolls the entrant at once for the second year).

  • Preparation programs of universities.

Because of difference in educational programs, foreign students may need to undergo the Foundation preparation courses. This is the most optimal, profitable and short path to a university or college, and the requirements for admission are minimal:

  • Secondary education certificate
  • A small essay about yourself, your goals and interests
  • Certificate of English proficiency (usually IELTS or TOEFL).

During the year, students at the Foundation program get acquainted with the customs and culture of the UK, adapt to the peculiarities of the national educational system, the principles and rules of teaching, and significantly improve the language level and pass qualification exams. In the language program - the development of written and oral speech, reading and listening skills, the study of grammar and vocabulary. In addition, students study academic subjects (mainly those that plan to choose at the university in the future).

A lot of time is spent not only on practical and theoretical studies, but also on independent work: in the library, self-study class, computer and scientific laboratory, while writing personal or collective research projects. With the help of professional teachers, curators, consultants, students finally make the choice of the university and the future profession, specialization.
The reception is conducted 1-2 times a year (exact dates are set by each institution independently).

  • Higher education.

Students can get education in the most topical and prestigious areas, acquire profile valuable skills that will significantly increase their popularity in the international labour market. Worldwide British diplomas are valued incredibly high, give the opportunity to occupy a high and profitable position and quickly move up the career ladder. If a foreign graduate decides to stay in the country, then the government will support this initiative - you can try to get a legal work permit. For example, Scotland gives the right to all graduates without exception to work for two years after graduation!

The following degrees are accepted in the British system:

  • Undergraduate:
    • BA (Humanities)
    • BSc (Natural Sciences)
    • LLB (right)
    • BEd (pedagogical sciences)
    • EEng (technical sciences)
    • BMus (music)
    • BM or BS (medicine )
  • Postgraduate (second or postgraduate, master):
    • PGCE, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Certificate of teaching)
    • DMS, Diploma of Graduate Studies (management)
    • MA, Master of Arts (Humanities)
    • MSc, Master of Science ] (Technical sciences)
    • MBA, Master of Business Administration(Business Administration)
    • LLM, Master of Law ] (right).

The Undergraduate program is offered in more than 180 institutions in the United Kingdom. Typically, education takes 3 years (4 in Scotland), but the exception is the direction of medicine, dentistry and architecture - for them education lasts 5-7 years.

Postgraduate is any continuation of education after the first step. This degree (it is usually called master's degree) can be obtained in 1-2 years if the student is fluent in English and, of course, has an Undergraduate diploma. All programs are conditionally divided into two types:

  • The theoretical course (taught program)

The results of students are evaluated mainly with the help of written works, the largest of which is a diploma (20,000 words or more). Graduates of this course receive a diploma, degree or certificate.

  • Research program

Here, above theoretical lectures and group lessons, independent and practical studies predominate - usually students' projects Are included in a single large university project. The highest degree is a doctor of philosophy (Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD).

How to enter the UK Universities for international students?

Higher education in the UK can be safely called an enduring value - its prestige, quality and relevance have been tested for centuries of successful work. Nevertheless, there remains a difficult question of choosing an educational institution: how to do so that you do not spend money in vain, so that the training is fully consistent with your needs, not to be deceived in expectations?

Prepare for the fact that it is rather difficult for foreign students to enter universities in England: it's not a matter of lack of intellectual preparation, but of technical and formal moments. What are the options for successful entry?

  • To graduate from a British school (private or public)

Including a program for high school students (British A-level or International Baccalaureate International). Good grades at graduation, a certificate with a high score practically guarantees enrollment in the chosen university. But, of course, this method will work only if you have not yet gone beyond the school age.

  • Finish 11 grades in secondary school in your native country (get a full secondary education)

The British are sure that the some foreign school certificates are not enough for entering a British university: it is believed that their school program is more complete, in-depth and saturated. That is why additional academic preparation is required for foreign students.

In fact, SMAPSE experience shows that the Foundation programs are essential for foreign students to become more psychologically prepared. This helps him to get used to a new cultural and linguistic environment, to get used to the peculiarities of the local educational system, to learn to think more freely and to defend his opinion, to show initiative.

In addition, the course helps to significantly improve the level of English: English universities most often require the results of IELTS 6.0-6.5, while foreign students passe the exams on average to 5.5. Foundation program will allow you to learn English in its lively, changing, conversational form, improve communication and speech skills, and remove the emotional and psychological barrier.

  • To finish school abroad and finish the first course of a university in your native country.

Given good performance and marks, as well as a high score according to the results of IELTS or TOEFL, you will be able to enter immediately the second course - more than 110 universities in England provide this opportunity. For this purpose, a special centralized system of Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is used. The online form is filled in, the registration fee (bank card) is paid and waiting for the invitation from the universities (applications can be submitted immediately to 6 priority institutions). There are three possible answers:

  • "the application was rejected" (it is useless to wait and appeal further)
  • "you are accepted" (the most successful and, of course, the desired option)
  • "you are conditionally accepted" (the most common answer is, in this case, you need to clarify the conditions under which the university did not enroll you "unconditionally" and increase the necessary parameters or skills.)

You can re-test the IELTS if the first time you are dissatisfied with the results. UK universities may ask to send an academic certificate indicating the marks and scores received. Please note that applications are submitted to the UCAS in the winter-early spring, and the actual application is made in July-August. For the right application, we strongly recommend that you contact our specialists: such statements and questionnaires pay great attention to the formalities and literacy, so any extra symbol or incorrectly ticked may limit your opportunities for admission.

What tests are offered to the entrants?

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

One of the most famous English language exams, which was developed and approved by the American Council. Most often it is used for admission to universities, with employment or professional development. Today, testing is most often done online, with the help of a PC (as it is customary throughout the CIS - computer based test), but here and there are "paper" options (paper based). The exam includes 4 blocks: Listening, Speaking, Reading and reading, Writing (written speech and grammar).

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

Officially accepted by the British Council testing, testing the skill of using English in everyday, ordinary situations (General), or in the academic and scientific environment (Academic). Also divided into 4 blocks of knowledge and skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and reading of the original text, Writing (written speech and grammar).

  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

This exam is applied mainly In the West when entering Master's Business Administration programs and MBA. To get high results, you need to be proficient in arithmetic, grammar, geometry. The following skills and abilities are also checked:

  • Critical reasoning (understanding of language and ingenuity)
  • Problem solving
  • Data sufficiency (mathematics)
  • Reading comprehension (reading and understanding of original texts)
  • Sentence correction (grammar , The ability to correctly form words in sentences and phrases, take into account the context).

Language preparation in the UK for international students

Today, in Great Britain there is a great variety of different English courses, several hundred schools, linguistic centers and camps. The most prestigious and top-rated are accredited by the British Council, are members of the ARELS (Association of Accredited English Schools) and other prestigious organizations and committees.

In England, a suitable option can be chosen for each student, regardless of age and academic needs. A complex approach is practiced here: all basic skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking) are practiced together, in a single context and in close relationship with each other. If you choose short-term courses (for example, vacation), then emphasis will be placed on the development of speech, communication skills.

Among the general variety of programs there are several basic types:

  • General, basic

It is offered practically by all educational institutions. Students study reading, writing and speaking, listening skills, grammar and vocabulary, improving pronunciation and communication skills. You can choose the standard, intensive and super-intensive options. Usually lessons are held in the morning and lunch hours, and in the rest of the time students are engaged in sports and creativity, walking and talking, preparing for classes and going on excursions. Accordingly, the higher the academic intensity, the less time for leisure, but the sooner the progress.

  • Examination preparation

This option is chosen by students who need to prepare for the selected language test - IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge CAE, Cambridge CPE and others - for admission to training or employment.

  • Academic Year

An in-depth, long-term study of the English language (from six months to a year), which implies additional preparation for entering a college or university. The plus is affordable cost and obvious financial benefit, minus - strictly fixed start dates.

  • Business English

Business English is extremely popular among specialists in all fields of activity - it is a world common language, without knowledge of which it is difficult to build a career in the modern world. Business English courses are popular among students, professionals and heads of large companies. In short, anyone who wants to quickly overcome the language barrier can easily conduct telephone and personal talks, conduct presentations and documentation, and better understand their partners and colleagues around the world. Also, proficiency in the language allows you to read the business press and track business news from all countries, learn catalogs and sites in the original, hire personnel from different countries.

Most often, business English courses are built in conjunction with the main program: 15-20 general lessons + 5-15 core per week. Programs are designed in such a way as to take into account all the requests and requirements of a particular group of students, to learn English in the right context and in the context of its practical application. Various auxiliary materials are actively used: these documents, records, telephone conversations, the media and the Internet; Business role-playing games, simulated situations, discussions and seminars are constantly arranged.

In addition to the general improvement of the language level, students learn business etiquette, behaviour in various situations, negotiation and presentation, work skills in an international team, the ability to pass and organize interviews or interviews. Business English courses can have a different thematic focus, capture more narrow and specialized areas: for example, there are courses for TOP managers, for young and novice businessmen, programs for specialists in various fields (tourism, law, medicine, logistics, personnel services, The secretariat and personal assistants, banking and insurance, energy, politics and much more).

  • English + recreation (sport, creativity, excursions, culture, etc.).

What parent will refuse the opportunity to organize for the child not only fun and exciting but also useful holiday? Seasonal courses in the UK will help and relax, and significantly improve the language level - all in an intercultural, friendly, comfortable environment. In addition to effective academic lessons, students attend a great variety of leisure and entertainment activities, go on excursions, creative meetings and seminars, lectures of invited guests, engage in sports and creativity. The variety of combined courses is really amazing - a suitable option and the price is absolutely for any student! The offered programs depend on the location of the institution (geography and climate), type of residence, type and intensity of language classes, opportunities for sports and outdoor activities, excursions, cultural saturation of places.

Student accommodation

Every adult student is free to choose the most comfortable place for living:

  • Hotel (quiet and comfortable, sufficient level of independence, excellent service, out of minuses - price, especially in Large cities like London)
  • Student hostel (option for active and sociable, constant communication with their peers from other countries. By cons include shared facilities, kitchen and rest rooms (more common than the amenities in the room)
  • Homestay - most often this option is selected students are short-term and seasonal rates (lower price, offered meals wonderful opportunity to constantly practice your language skills with direct native speakers, learn more about British traditions, history, culture and customs).

For students who choose the most long-term programs, we most often recommend starting with the family for 1-2 months in order to fully and quietly get used to and adapt to the new environment, and only then, if necessary , To change the choice of housing.

Employment of International Students

Usually, in the UK part-time job during education is not accepted. It is understood that if a person has chosen a non-expensive education abroad, he is able to sustain himself, including accommodation and meals. But many students start to work not because of a lack of money, but to gain useful experience, make new acquaintances, learn the life of the country from the inside and maximize the level of English. Many educational institutions support this desire and are happy to help their students find temporary work.

According to the official legislation, students can work up to 20 hours weekly if their program lasts more than 6 months. Prepare yourself for the fact that even a relatively high salary will not be able to cover the cost of study, but to compensate for the costs of food, transportation and partly for housing is real!

Job offers do not differ in variety: they are usually representatives of unskilled professions - maids, couriers and loaders, assistants, sellers. If you have a really high level of English and you can prove that you are communicating with native speakers on an equal footing, then you can be offered the post of receptionist or registrar in a hotel, a waiter or a barman (among other things, tips and food, as well as an opportunity accommodation). Also, there is an opportunity to work for the family in which you live: some of the owners of the house need to sit with the child, help in cleaning or in the garden, walk a dog, go to a dry cleaner's or a store - do not refuse such offers!

Where do they usually look for job offers?

  • Among local acquaintances
  • In local newspapers and the media
  • On the board ads in your educational institution (the best way is to find part-time work for half a day, weekends)
  • In special employment centers - they often work in educational institutions, make their own databases, produce newspapers and booklets. Specialists will help you to make a short summary, suggest the most attractive and affordable, optimal options, give recommendations on internships or work practices.

Please note the following restrictions regarding working abroad:

  • You can not work full time
  • You can not open your own business
  • You can not be a professional trainer or an instructor
  • The funds you plan to earn can not be used as a basis for obtaining a visa - you must confirm Its financial viability without the need for work or government assistance. The exception is the salary that you plan to pay to posts directly in the college or university, if you received such a valuable offer.
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