Top Tips For International Students Studying in The UK

By on June 15th, 2023


Choosing higher education in the UK


If you’re studying in the UK or are thinking about it, you will be aware of the many exceptional universities and courses to choose from. Not to mention, there are lots of exciting social and cultural activities to enjoy whilst living and studying in the UK!

To help navigate through this difficult decision, we have put together a little guide to help you as an international student in the UK.


Students in the UK are legally required to attend school from ages 4–16-year-old, attending both primary and secondary school. Higher education is optional after students have completed their final compulsory GSCE exams at the age of 16. They then have the option to attend college, sixth form or leave education to work. If they chose to continue in the education system, they will complete their A-Levels. The success of these typically determine the university that the student will end up going to! It is important to understand the difference in courses levels and qualifications with entry requirements varying.



Finding A Course & University for you

With so many specialised courses to choose from in the UK, it is important to research courses and topics to make sure it is the right subject for you and your future. You will need to find a university that is right for you. The UK has a number of world recognised universities in major cities including Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Best courses to study in the UK


One of the best courses to study in the UK for international students. A field of study that uses past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning. Careers you can progress to include data analysts, consultancy, project management. Anything is possible!


The UK has some of the best engineering schools in the world including courses such as chemical engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering. Some of the top universities to study at are University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.


A degree in law will provide the skills to practice law in the UK and is thought to be a popular but competitive choice for international students. Careers you progress to once completing a degree in law include barrister, lawyer, solicitor and legal writer.


One of the most prestigious and rewarding courses in the UK. Some of the best universities to study nursing  include the University of Liverpool, University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow.

Fashion & Interior Design

Studying fashion in the UK prepares student for the highly competitive industry. Courses you can discover include interior design, fashion marketing and fashion management and many more. Top universities to study these courses are Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion.


The UK is renowned for its investments in medical research with thousands of international students enrolling in the country’s top tier medical schools. Studying medicine can lead to careers in many different specialist fields, including dentistry, cardiologist, and obstetrician.


Research the application process

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) makes applying for university easier for students in the UK. When you apply to study in the UK, the required qualifications may be written in UK terms, e.g. A-Levels with many universities accepting equivalent qualifications that will cover your nation’s equivalent.

You will also need to prepare a personal statement that is a written document outlining why you want to study in the UK, demonstrating your English skills and why you want to study the course you are applying for, plus a little bit about yourself.

Student Visa Requirements

It is a good idea to apply for a student visa as soon as you can, considering costs and turnaround times. For example, if you’re applying for a student visa from outside UK, you can apply six months before you start your course.

Short-term visa

As an international student from outside the EU you will need a visa to study in the UK. If you are looking to study a course that is less than six months, you can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa or apply for a short-term study visa.

Student Visas

English Language Skills

You will need to demonstrate that you can speak English. You may even need to take an English language test such as IELTS or TOEFL to be eligible for the course you are wanting to study.

CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies)

You will receive this from your university once your offer is accepted.

Proof of finances

To prove you have enough money to pay for your first year of tuition fees and living expenses. You will need a valid passport and relevant academic qualifications or portfolios.




Funding and Scholarships

Before you can enjoy studying in the UK, you will need to make sure you have the finance required to fund your degree. There are several funding options available for international students who want to study in the UK that can range from part funding, full funding, bursaries, living expenses and other options. You can see the universities that offer scholarships via the British Council Website.

Book Your Accommodation early

Leaving your accommodation until the last minute is never a good idea, especially with the best options and deals snapped up early. Here are key things to consider when choosing your accommodation.


Be mindful of how close your accommodation is to supermarkets, your campus and public transport links, as well as places to eat, drink and play, so you can really enjoy your new home!


Many PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation) have exclusive features that you won’t get in private housing. For example, Downing Students’ include modern study spaces, state-of-the-art gyms, private dining areas and more. This makes it hassle-free for you, so you can focus on your studies!


Ensuring you and your valuables are safe is one of the most important considerations when you’re looking for somewhere to live. When you’re looking for the perfect accommodation, check what security measures are in place. If you are living at Downing Students, you can feel safe and secure with 24/7 on site support from our friendly staff.


Living in student accommodation gives you the best chance at meeting new friends. You will likely find people in the same position as you who are settling into their new home away from home.  If you are living with other Downing Students, we host regular social events for you to enjoy and get to know your neighbours and halls staff. To find out more about living at Downing Students, get in touch today! 

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