Finding out within the UK: how to decide on your college?

With its prestigious universities and sought-after specializations, the UK has long been a favorite destination for French Erasmus students. The country has moved to the second position (after Spain) since the year 2016-2017. Our leads to help you make your choice.

Tempted by studies across the Channel? From England to Scotland, and from Wales to Northern Ireland, get ready to discover a wide and varied range of programmes. UK universities being self-governingthey manage their own finances and the content of their courses.

Undergraduate and Graduate

Postgraduate studies are organized in two phases: the “undergraduate” cycle, which leads to the bachelor’s degree, and the “postgraduate” cycle, which ends with the master’s degree. Note that the length of these cycles varies between universities and disciplines. In Scotland, for example, the Bachelor’s systematically lasts four years and the Master’s one year.

Erasmus +: more apps than places

The UK is the first destination for French students under the Erasmus+ programme. There are about 7,000 benefiting from an exchange each year. The principle is simple: you will study, for one or two semesters, at a partner university of your home institution. Thus, you remain a student in France and do not pay any additional costs.

Before opting for this mode of departure, consult your institution’s international relations department for the list of British universities that can receive you. Their number is limited (some establishments do not even have an agreement) and places are allocated according to academic results.

If you don’t have the possibility to get out in exchange, you will have two strategies: choose a non-English speaking destination that offers English courses, in Scandinavia for example, or register directly in the UK alone.

Go it alone: ​​plan ahead!

The approximately 7,000 students who left with Erasmus are joined by the 12,500 young people who left as “free movers”, according to the British Council, that is, thanks to an individual and paid application. France is the second European country to send the most students to the UK, after Germany. A success that should not be threatened by Brexit, at least for the next two years.

the place of registration UCAS (University and College Admissions Service) it’s the obligatory passage for those who intend to integrate a degree soon after the baccalaureate. It lists over 370 establishments, including a hundred universities, which are almost all multidisciplinary.

In your electronic file, you can choose up to five universities. UCAS is then responsible for forwarding your file to the establishments in question. “The centerpiece of the file is a cover letter which must have been very mature before being written to be really successful and broad enough to cover the five chosen universities, warns Marianne Garcia, project manager at the British Council. It’s important to talk about yourself, about what you like to do outside of studies, not just about your course.”

Keep an eye on the calendar! Enrollment is open from September of the year prior to the scheduled start of the school year. For the most prestigious universities, the deadline is October 15th. For others, it is usually around January 15th.

annotate: if you wish to enter the second or third year of Baccalaureateyou must first contact the university and obtain permission from the Admissions Officer before applying through UCAS.

international reputation

A criterion to take into account in your choice may be the reputation of the universities. Some rival American establishments in international rankings. The two most famous, Oxford and Cambridge (known as “Oxbridge”), are on a par with Berkeley, Princeton, Yale…

Times Higher Education 2018 QS Best Universities 2018 Shanghai (ARWU) 2017
1 University of Oxford 1st Cambridge University 5th Cambridge University 3rd
two Cambridge University 2 Oxford University 6th U of Oxford 7th
3 Imperial College London 8th U. College London 7th U. College London 16th
4 U. College London 16th Imperial College London 8th Imperial College London 27th
5 London School of Economics 25th U. of Edinburgh 23rd U. of Edinburgh 32nd
6 U of Edinburgh 27th U of Manchester 34th U of Manchester 38th
7 King’s College London 36th London School of Economics 34th King’s College London 46th
8 U of Manchester 54th U of Bristol 44th U of Bristol 61st
9 U of Bristol 76th U. of Warwick 57th U of Cardiff 101º-150º
10 U of Glasgow 80º U of Glasgow 65º U. of Glasgowd 101º-150º

Note, however, that international rankings emphasize research. It is therefore interesting to look at them from the “postgraduate” level, that is, master’s and doctoral degrees. Before that, other aspects are more decisive for your choice, such as selectivity, geographic location or the amount of registration feesif you are going out of an exchange.

Find information in French about studying in the UK on the British Council website.
The Guardian newspaper publishes a university guide every year.
Push is a website made by students for students.

The Complete University Guide also gathers information about the UK system.

The UCAS platform (the English Parcoursup) provides many tips for successful registration.

10 questions to ask yourself to narrow down your choice

Are you hesitating between multiple establishments? To narrow down your choice, it is up to you to carry out your little investigation by searching the websites of the universities. Here’s a list of questions that might help you decide.

1. Is the establishment selective?
2. Is it located in a small or large city?
3. Are the courses given in large amphitheaters or for small promotions?
4. Will you be able to receive classes in the subjects that interest you?
5. Is the pedagogy innovative?
6. What services are offered to students (guidance at the beginning of the year, tutoring, etc.)?
7. Are there many international students?
8. Is there accommodation for students with disabilities, top athletes…?
9. Is community life developed?
10. What about extra-student life?

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