Posted on 7th February 2022

So, you’ve made the decision to study in the UK, congrats! We know this wasn’t easy, but you made it! Now that you’ve taken the first step and researched the best universities in the UK (if not, check out our post on top 50 universities in the UK) it’s time to start your application. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do, we’ve got a step-by-step guide on how to apply to universities in the UK.

Step 1: Check the requirements and make sure you meet them

Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application. The early bird catches the worm, it also gets things done! Giving yourself more time will put you under less stress, plus, you’ll have more time to get all the documents you require.

The supporting documents you’ll need:

  1. Passport
  2. English language proficiency certificate
  3. Evidence of how you’ll be paying for tuition fees

Depending on the country you’re applying from you may be asked for more evidence.

Step 2: Pick the course you want to study and five universities you want to study at

For most students the course they want to study will determine the five universities they apply to. If at this point, you’re still unsure on which universities to apply to (this happens to more students than you think, don’t worry if this is what you’re feeling) then check out this search tool. It’ll help you search for the course you want to study and the location.

Once you’ve decided on five universities, you need to go on UCAS and search for them, UCAS will give you a unique code for each university. Keep these codes safe, you’ll need them later.

Step 3: Personal statement

Your personal statement is key in your application. Think of it as your selling point in your own words.

You’ll have 4000 characters to write about your interests, what you’ll add to your studies and why you’re dedicated to your course.

If you need help or want to see examples of personal statements, check this out.

Step 4: UCAS

Don’t worry about not knowing your way around UCAS. The website is super easy to use. The first thing you’ll need to do is fill in your information, put in the UCAS codes you saved (as mentioned above) and upload your personal statement.

UCAS do charge an application fee. Currently, one university application is £13 or £24 if you apply to more than one.

Once you’ve submitted your UCAS application you’ll have to wait for your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies). This is an online document with a unique reference number. You know by now how important these numbers are! Make sure you keep this number safe, you’ll need it when you apply for a student visa.

 Step 5: Immigration Health Surcharge

To make sure your health costs are covered while you study in the UK you must pay £150 to Immigration Health Surcharge. This payment will have you covered for one year.

You will need to upload the receipt when you apply for your visa so make sure you keep it safe.

Step 6: Apply for your visa

You will need to apply to a Tier 4 (general) Student Visa if your course is a full degree. If you’re going to be studying for six months or less you need to complete an online application.

As part of your application, you’ll need to submit your fingerprint and photograph. To do this you can visit the visa application centre near you. Remember to submit these within three months before your course starts.

Step 7: Visa interview

As part of your visa application, there will be a visa interview. These days the interviews are done over video call however you may be asked to go into the visa application centre. During the interview, they will ask you about your university, course and financial situation.

AXO tip: make sure you prepare for the interview, speak confidently and passionately about the three topics mentioned above. It’s important to show the person interviewing you that you’re keen on studying in the UK.

Step 8: Plan your journey

This is one of the most exciting steps if you ask us! Now that you’ve got the paperwork out of the way it’s time to plan your trip. The first step of planning your trip is to sort out your accommodation. Make sure you research and really look into the accommodation you’re applying to.

Once that’s sorted it’s time to make a list and pack for your stay. If you’re unsure of what to pack, check out our blog on what to take to university. We’ve got together a list of things you’ll need.

Step 9: Travel to the UK and study!

Its time! After all your hard work it’s finally time to travel and start your adventure at one of the UK universities! You’ve taken a big step and shown a lot of courage, now it’s time to enjoy the next stage of your life in the UK and study hard! You’ve got this!