A few things about IELTS

October 2, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

From 6th April 2015, the UK government changed the regulations for English tests acceptable for visa applications, meaning that only Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) can be used in visa applications. One of these is IELTS Academic for UKVI, which is the test most international students will take, and is the main English test that UK universities recognise. There other tests that universities recognise, but IELTS Academic for UKVI is the standard.

If you took your last test before 6th April 2015, you will still be able to use it to apply for a visa – but only until 5th November 2015, when the new regulations come into force. So if the last IELTS test you took was before April 6th, then you will need to take another IELTS test as soon as possible! The IELTS Academic for UKVI test is the same as the previous one, so you should prepare for the same type of questions as before. The only difference is that you will receive a secure number that will be used for your visa application, so make sure that you choose the right test when you’re completing your online booking.

You can see more information here, but let us know if you have any questions about the new IELTS test!

A PhD is a lot of hard work. In fact, it’s a lot of hard work even applying for a PhD, what with all the proposal writing and application to go through. Even after doing all that, there is no promise that you’ll even get accepted to the PhD programme, as you will first need to find an academic to supervise your studies. This can be the toughest part, as it will involve speaking with academics in the department you’re applying to, sending out your proposal for feedback, and – if disaster strikes – there is even the possibility that you won’t be able to find anyone willing to be your supervisor.

That would indeed be a disaster. And let’s face it, academics don’t always make it easy for prospective students: if you contact the wrong guy, he probably won’t take the time to point you in the right direction. So it’s important to be on the money from the start, and not waste anyone’s time. To make things easier, and help you find the right target, we’ve got 4 truths that you can follow, and that will lead you down the path to postgraduate enlightenment.

1. Find someone who knows about your research area.

Let’s start with the obvious one: your supervisor will need to be someone with an interest in the topic you’re going to research, and will have already supervised other PhD students in a similar field, written papers on a similar topic, and basically be ready to share his expertise and impart his wisdom. If you try to choose a supervisor who doesn’t have an interest in your particular field, then be prepared for them to say no. Not all economists have research interest in every aspect of economics, for example, though some academics have quite niche interests which could benefit your own research. Universities have staff lists online detailing each academic and their interests, so that is the best place to start looking. These staff lists also have contact details, so you can reach out and begin talking to your chosen supervisor that way.

2.Find someone who will be available when you need them to be.

It will be tempting to find a supervisor who is a star professor, a stud academic who will be able to take your research to the next level, and sprinkle magic dust on your career. This may well be the case, and good luck if you can find one. But being supervised by a famous academic – or any academic, in reality – could in fact have pitfalls, the most pressing one being, Will they be able to commit as much time as you need? If they’re a well-known academic, they might be off at conferences, going to book launches, or even jet off overseas on a regular basis. That won’t be very helpful to you – especially when you consider that you should ideally be meeting your supervisor at least once a week!

Every meeting you have with your supervisor is valuable, and when you have the opportunity to speak with them you should take it. They are your guides, as much as anything, so make sure that the supervisor you choose is well-regarded, but is also going to be available when you need them. It would be great to have that famous academic supervising you, and have their name next to yours on your thesis. You will be able to say that he or she supervised you, but what did they actually do? If they’re genuinely famous, not much, probably. Don’t forget: it’s your time, not theirs.

3. Find someone with experience.

When you’re trying to choose your supervisor, you need to consider their track record, and their past successes. An academic supervisor guides students through the process of a research degree that can last 3 or 4 years: some students don’t perform as well as they hoped, some finished late, and some don’t finish at all. So you’ll need to ask, how did your supervisor’s previous students get on? Did they finish in time? Were their doctorates successful? A great supervisor will have a great track record of seeing students complete their degree both on time and successfully.

You’ll need to make sure that your supervisor is experienced, and knows what they’re doing. If they’ve only recently started taking on their own PhD students, they might be doing so with supervision from other academics, and so they will be feeling their own through the supervision process. If they are the only academic with an interest in your research area, then you might not have any other option, but getting someone experienced is the best route. An experienced supervisor will already know what effective supervision is, and will be able to anticipate issues before they even arise.

4. Find someone who you can get on with.

A doctorate is the pinnacle of studying at university. It is another 3 or 4 years of ups and downs, with struggles and new discoveries on the way. You will be relying on your supervisor to help you navigate your way to completion, and you will spend time with them each week, discussing ideas, talking about new research, arguing, laughing, and going through the whole range of emotions together. One of the most important questions you’ll have to ask yourself is: Can I get on with them? Are they a decent person? This could be difficult to judge, and you will need to speak with your potential supervisor in order to find out. Many universities encourage students to send in an application, and let the administrators match them with a suitable member of staff. This could save you time, but it’s an inefficient process in reality, as the administrators sometimes don’t know what they should be looking for in an academic profile. It would be far better if you looked for a supervisor yourself, as you will be able to gauge their willingness to supervise you, their interest in your proposal, and then inform the admissions team of their commitment.

Of course, finding a supervisor by yourself isn’t easy, and ECA UK can help you with the process. It will be far more rewarding than being supervised by someone who was chosen for you by admissions, just because they had a slightly smaller workload. Being supervised is a personal process, so finding a supervisor should be a personal process too. Follow ECA UK’s 4 truths, and make it that way!

Even when you have submitted your carefully prepared documents, your Tier 4 Student Visa application is not over. If you come from the Middle East, Africa, China, or other parts of Asia, you will have to take something called a Credibility Interview.

The UK Home Office – we should really call them UK Visa and Immigration, or just UKVI – have decided that they will interview almost every Tier 4 applicant coming from those locations, so you should expect an invitation to a Credibility Interview. These interviews are a very important part of the Tier 4 application process, as they are increasingly being used to UKVI to refuse applicants who otherwise meet all the conditions. If you have an interview, then you need to be prepared for the different types of questions, and make sure that you practice. Remember: practice makes perfect.

Before we look at the questions in more detail, let’s look at the Credibility Interview itself. Depending on from where you are applying, it will either be in person or over Skype, or a similar service. And it will be one-on-one, as you can’t get a family member or a friend to come with you and help out. The interview should last around 10 to 20 minutes, though it could last longer – and it is worth remembering that these details are just general details, as UKVI have quite a lot of freedom to choose what they ask you.

The interview is the UKVI’s method of testing that you are a ‘genuine student.’ The problem is that they don’t offer any exact definition of what they mean by genuine, but the basic idea is that they will check that you know what you are coming to study, where you are going to study, and why you want to study in the UK. They are also interested in whether you can afford to live and study in the UK without needing to work, even if you are often allowed to work part time as a Tier 4 student.

Now, the questions. The UKVI officer will usually ask you about your study plans, your motivation, and also why you chose to come to the UK. These questions might be quite basic, such as: What are you going to study? Why did you chose that course? Where are you going to study? They will probably also ask you how your chosen course fits in with your career path, and what you expect to learn from it – similar to what you had to write in your personal statement. The general rule to remember is that more information you can give to each question in your Credibility Interview, the better your application will be.

If you’re applying for a post-graduate course, then you will probably get a couple of extra questions thrown in. We all know that studying in the UK is expensive, so they might ask you why you chose to study overseas rather than staying at home to study. This is a great chance for you to talk about how great you think the UK is, and all those nice things! If you have had a break between studying your previous degree and the one you will study in the UK, you will be asked about what you have been doing in that break. If you’ve been working, you can tell the UKVI officer about that, and also demonstrate how your Master’s course will help your career.

Those are the general questions, but you will need to prepare for some extra ones. You can never tell what the UKVI officer will ask, but they sometimes ask about who will pay for the course, and even how much your parents or you earn. There could then be questions about anything the officer wishes to know which they believe a genuine student should know. Those can be quite tricky to answer – and not being able to answer them clearly might make the UKVI Officer doubt you are a ‘genuine’ student. This is of course not really fair – so what can you do?

You should do plenty of research beforehand, ask your school or university for any advice they can give you, and perhaps look for professional advice. What you can do is work with an immigration advisor, as they will be able to give you thorough interview practice, as well as help you if you have problems caused by certain questions. Speaking with someone who has experience preparing Tier 4 Student Visa applicants will be really useful for your application, and will give you the confidence to be able to answer everything the UKVI Officer throws at you. They should also know about what information or documents UKVI might expect you to have at your interview, particularly those that don’t appear in the Tier 4 guidance. When choosing an immigration advisor, you should always check that they are qualified and permitted to work as an immigration advisor. In the UK, this means being regulated by the OISC as an immigration advisor, or by the SRA as a solicitor.

Have you had a Credibility Interview? Did you get any strange or difficult questions to answer? Or did everything go smoothly? Share your experiences in the comments section!

Did anyone see this article on the BBC website recently? Immigration is a hot topic in the UK at the moment, but there is definitely a negative climate around it. Many political parties are saying that the UK needs to reduce the number of people immigrating to the UK – and one way they are doing this is through UKVI being stricter on immigration and visa rules, which has already started having an impact on the number of overseas students coming to the UK to study.

The head of Cambridge University has complained about this situation, however, as he thinks it is short-term and short-sighted. He’s right, too. In the eyes of politicians, international students are an easy target to enforce cuts and reductions on: the UKVI interviews could get tougher, or they could suddenly change visa regulations to make it more difficult to apply. This will cause an obvious drop in the number of international students coming to the UK, and because those numbers decrease, the government can say that it is meeting its immigration targets, and that immigration is under control.

This strategy is not fair, as it is using international students as a means of avoiding the larger issue of immigration control. International students bring a great deal to the UK – both academically and monetarily, all of which should be of interest to political parties. International students contribute a great deal towards postgraduate research, for which the likes of Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Imperial College London are rightly world famous. These universities would not be consistently ranked as the best in the world without the contributions of their international students, and so to try to deny international students the opportunity to study in the UK for the sake of politicking will be very damaging.

Applying to a UK university is now definitely more difficult than it used to be, especially when it comes to visas. Regulations are tight and getting tighter, and knowing someone who can navigate the treacherous application seas is becoming more and more important. You shouldn’t let the current atmosphere put you off, though, as the UK still has so much to offer international students. What you need, however, is for someone to look at and help you with your university and visa applications. Making your application as perfect as possible is the best way to avoid these kind of issues – so get some help before you start.

If you have any questions about immigration or visas, let us know in the comment section, or send us an email.

Help, my visa’s expired!

June 3, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

It’s every international student’s nightmare – your Tier 4 student visa is expiring, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that you can do about it. The clock is ticking, and it looks like the final countdown has begun…but all is not lost. ECA UK looks at some things that you can do.

If you want to stay in the UK for longer than your current visa allows, or you want to change your visa status, then you will have to make a new application to the Home Office. Applying for a new visa is all about timing: if your current visa is expiring in a few months, then you’ve got some options about what to do. If your visa is expiring in a few days, however, then your options are really limited. If you’ve left it too late, then you might have to bite the bullet, go back home, and re-apply for your UK visa from there. This isn’t an ideal situation, but it might be the only option that you have – so be careful about those expiry dates!

So, one option is to apply for another visa as soon as possible. When you submit an application to the Home Office before your UK visa expires, your permission to remain in the UK is automatically extended. You can then stay in the UK until the Home Office makes a decision on your application. You can do this to give yourself a little more time to find a new course, or to find a new sponsor; however, doing so isn’t really advisable, as you will be overstaying your original visa. You need to plan for this in advance, and to have your application prepared and submitted long before your expiry date arrives. If you sit on your hands and do nothing until the last minute, then you will at best have to take a course you’re not so interested in, or at worst have to leave the country.

If you have planned in advance, then you will be able to submit an application to the Home Office in time. It depends on each case, but it can take from a couple of weeks to a month to hear back about your application, so you shouldn’t have too long to wait.

If you do stay in the UK after your visa has expired, however, and you haven’t submitted an application to the Home Office to extend your visa or change to another immigration category, then you will become an “overstayer”. This could result in you receiving a re-entry ban – so you need to be careful.

The other issue is that, even if you submit an application for another Tier 4 visa, your sponsor might not issue a CAS. This is a genuine worry now that the UK government is changing immigration and visa regulations, and if you overstay then it is almost definite that they will not issue a CAS, and will withdraw the one they did issue.

The best option, of course, is to talk to an expert, someone who knows what they’re talking about. There are visa agencies in the UK who can help you, but they need to be certified by the UK government. This certification is called an OISC certification, and they will be able to give you advice, as well as help you with your UK visa application. ECA Legal, our sister company, is certified and able to offer advice to you, so instead of worrying, pay them a visit and get some advice from the specialists.

How to apply for a student visa

May 26, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

 Applying for a UK student visa can be a tricky process, but here at ECA UK we want to help you make that process as easy as possible. So easy, in fact, that we’ve made a guide for you to follow – and we even have a sister company, ECA Legal, who are visa specialists. There is quite a lot to prepare for your application, so let’s get started, shall we?

Confirmation from your university or school

A student visa in the UK is called a Tier 4 Student Visa, and the most important thing you’ll need for your application is confirmation that you have been accepted to study on your course. This means that you’ll need to have received an ‘unconditional offer’. Once you’ve got this and accepted it, your university or school will send you a reference number called a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This is often a letter with your reference number, course details, and personal information, and you’ll need to keep it safe. Take a scanned copy when you receive it, just in case. You’ll need to enter the CAS reference number on your visa application, so make sure that you don’t lose it!

After you receive the CAS reference number, you will have 6 months to apply for your Tier 4 student visa – even though this seems like a long time, don’t sit on your hands and do nothing, as there are other documents you’ll require, and things you’ll need to do that could take a long time to prepare!

IELTS – special update

Before your university gives you a CAS, you will have to do an IELTS test to check your English. There is a new test especially for applying for a UK visa, so when you are looking for a test centre, make sure you choose one where you will do “IELTS for UKVI”, as this is the new name for the IELTS test for visa applications!

What is ‘maintenance’?

So you’ve done your IELTS and got your CAS – what’s next? The next step is all about money: tuition fees, and living costs – or ‘maintenance’. This can seem quite complicated, but as long as you work out everything you need, then you will be OK.

How much will you need? The answer to that question has two parts: you will need to have enough money to pay your course fees for the first year (minus any that you have already paid), and this amount will be stated on your CAS letter. You will also need to show that you have enough for living costs, or maintenance. This is more complicated to work out, as it depends where you are living. It’s best to ask for advice about this point, but in general if you are living inside London you need to show that you have £1,020 per month for up to 9 months (£9,180 in total). If you are living in Greater London or the rest of the UK, you need to show that you have £820 for up to 9 months (£7,390 in total). Again, as there are different factors and variables to consider, it is better if you check with a visa advisor to make sure.

So, how can you show it? In order to show that you have enough money for the course fees and maintenance, you will have to provide a bank statement that shows you have the required money in your account for at least 28 days before your application. For example, if you apply for your Tier 4 student visa on June 28th, you will need a bank statement that shows you have the correct amount of money in your account during the period of June 1st to June 28th. Ideally, you will show a bank statement from May to June 28th, as this will give you a stronger case, and the stronger your case is the better.

Where should I apply – and what else do I need?

You can apply for your Tier 4 student visa online, through the UK government website. If you prefer, you can ask a visa agent to do it for you; in the UK, visa agents need to be regulated by the government, so always check that they have an OISC license. Using a reputable agent will make things less complicated for you, as they will tell you which documents to prepare and how to prepare them. After you’ve applied, you will need to go to a British embassy, high commission, or consulate, which might be in your home country, or might be somewhere in the region, such as Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. When you go to the embassy, make sure you bring all the documents they request. You will also need to do a fingerprint scan, and have your photograph taken there, so you might have to wait for some time. However, once you have submitted all your documents, and you are confident that everything is ready, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

How long does it take, and how much does it cost?

Different countries have different processing times, but it could take from a couple of weeks to a month to process your visa. Fees are always the same, as a Tier 4 student visa application costs £323.

What else is there?

There is also an interview stage that you will need to prepare for, called a ‘credibility interview’, which tests if you are a genuine student. Now, I’m sure that you are a genuine student, but the UK Home Office will still want to check themselves. The interview will usually be at the place you applied for your visa, so the UK embassy or consulate you went to originally. If that’s not possible, then you might be interviewed by phone, which isn’t always easy but you’ll need to be prepared.

There are a lot of different questions that you could be asked. In general, they will ask you about your study history, what you want to study in the UK, for how long, and also your finances – who will pay for your course, how much it is, and so on. They could even ask you for extra documents that aren’t mentioned in the visa application, so it would be a good idea if you speak to your agent first, so that you can get a better idea of what the interview will be about. You’ll also have the chance to practice with someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Not sure if you need a UK student visa? Click here to check on the UK government’s website!


May 15, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

For students who still don’t have an offer for September, it may seem desperate, but James Galloway has comforting news and essential advice if you still need to secure a place at a UK university.

It’s that time of year again – Spring has sprung, the birds are singing in the trees, and international students all over the world are excitedly checking their UCAS accounts to find out if they’ve been accepted by their choices. There will be a lot of happy faces. But spare a thought for those who didn’t make it, and are still not holding an offer from their university of choice, or have even missed out on all the courses they wanted to study. And if you are one of the unlucky ones, don’t worry too much – help is at hand.

Even if you’ve missed out on all your choices, there are still some options available to you. The first place you can go is to UCAS Extra. You can find this on the UCAS website, where you made your original applications. If it’s available to you, it will appear as a button when you log-in to track your applications. There is a video and some instructions for you to follow, but it is never easy using the UCAS website. Also, UCAS Extra only allows you to do one extra university application at a time, which might not be enough if you want to get results quickly, or you want to have similar options to when you originally applied.

Another option that you have is clearing. When you make your initial applications, the universities will look at your education grades, or your predicted grades, and then give you an offer from those. If you didn’t receive an offer, but you are confident that your grades are good enough to get you entry into another university of your choice, then you can wait for “clearing”. This is from July to September each year, and you need to act fast when it starts, as there will be a lot of students waiting to do the same. This means that places on courses go fast, and they can fill up very quickly. Because there are limited places on offer, and a large number of students applying to each course, waiting until clearing is not always the best option. It is probably best if you see clearing as your last resort – when all other options have failed, then clearing is the thing to try.

If you’ve been rejected by your university choices, however, then perhaps it is time for a second opinion. For international students coming to study in the UK, using UCAS can be tough, but also the number of courses is overwhelming. Are you sure what you chose are the right courses for you? Does it fit with your career goal? Speaking with an education adviser or agent about your applications will be a great help, as they will be able to look over your previous applications, and give advice about your personal statement, for example, or if your qualifications from home met the course requirements. You will be able to choose a university that is more suitable for you, at a university that is closer to what you are looking for. A consultant may also be able to help you make direct applications to universities through their contacts, which you can’t do on UCAS. Another important factor to remember is that you won’t have to rely on clearing, either.

The important thing to remember is that there are more routes and options than many people realise. You will need to be organised, and get some advice to start planning your strategy now, but you can still find a place. Just don’t panic!


When applying for university study in the UK, you need to be careful to get it right, but if you get a professional to help you, it could make quite a difference to your success, and your schedule. James Galloway explains.

With the application deadlines for many university courses fast approaching, it is time to act quickly to get your university applications out in time. For many courses you can apply online, but you can also find an agent or education consultant to help you by applying directly. Most universities will look at applications as they receive them, and not wait until after their deadlines, so applying soon will allow you to get a head-start in the application process.

There are many benefits to applying to universities soon, especially if you use an advisor or agent who can get the results and feedback for you quicker than using other methods by yourself. If you get accepted at your first choice universities, then you won’t have to spend the summer worrying about making other applications, and can think about other things such as accommodation, budgeting and, of course, applying for a visa. If you get a rejection, then you will be able to assess your application and perhaps reconsider a few things: are you aiming too high, for example, or do you need to change anything? Applying to your favoured universities soon will give you the chance to re-think, and perhaps tailor your personal statement again if you need to.

Of course, for international students coming to study in the UK, it is not just your university course that you need to think about, but also your visa. Applying for your university course soon will give you enough time to go through the visa application process, which can sometimes take a long time – especially if you’re not sure how to apply. You will need to supply original documents – such as bank statements – that have to be in the correct format. This can take longer than you expect to gather together, and even though your university will give you some help here, it will be much easier for you to get help from a visa and immigration adviser, who will tell you which documents to prepare and how to prepare them. Your visa advisor will manage the application process from the start to the finish, and all you will have to do is supply the documents – you won’t even have to fill in an application form. If you are applying in the UK, make sure that you choose a suitably qualified adviser who is regulated either by the OISC or as a solicitor. Using unregulated and unqualified people for legal advice can put you at risk, and without anyone to help you if it all goes wrong.

We all know that applications can be a confusing and troublesome business, but getting an early start before those deadlines get closer will help manage your stress levels over the summer, and give you time to relax and do far more exciting things. Asking an agent to help and advise you with your university applications is very convenient, and will turn what is sometimes a difficult process into a smooth and easy one. They will allow you to speed up these processes, and get the results you are looking for.

It’s essential for student life in the UK, but how easy is it for an international student to open an account? James Galloway ivestigates.









So you’ve got your offer from your dream university in the UK, you’ve checked in at your accommodation, and you’ve started making some friends. You know there’s something else you need to do, some kind of life administration work, but you can’t quite remember… But when the next time to go out comes around, and you need to run off to get some money to pay for dinner or pay for your round at the pub – that’s when you remember what you should have done: open a bank account.

The one thing which could stop you opening an account is the type and length of visa you have. With a student visitor visa, you may find it difficult, as banks require a ‘residence’ type visa of at least six months to open an account. This means that you need to be in the UK with a Tier 4 student visa if you will need a bank account.

Opening a bank account as an international student is not as difficult as you might think, as both the bank and your university want your life in the UK to be as easy and as convenient as possible. First of all, though, you need to choose which bank is right for you. There are a great many banks in the UK, and what we call ‘high street banks’, such as HSBC, NatWest, Santander, and Lloyds, will all have basic bank accounts that you can open. These will provide you with a debit card, which you can use to pay for things directly (it is different from a credit card, as the money will come out of your account automatically).

A basic account can be used to pay in and take out money, but you can’t use it to get credit – you’ll need a current account in order to get that. There are other types of account available which require you to have a minimum amount of money in the account when you open it, and these allow the bank to offer more services. Some banks offer student accounts, and might give you a free gift if you open one. You can speak with the bank staff about those accounts, but for an international student studying for a few years, a basic or current account is the easiest option.

Now comes the important part: actually opening the account. If you choose a basic account, you won’t have to deposit any money in your account to open it, but you will need to show your identity and some other documents when you go to the bank. You should check with your chosen bank before you go, but you will usually need to bring your passport with your student visa if you’re a non-EU student; if you’re from the EU, then you will need to bring you passport and your national photo ID card. You will need to show the bank some extra information, to confirm that you’re currently a student. Your university/college/school will provide you with a letter confirming your UK study details, or they will help you complete a “Letter of Introduction for UK Banking Facilities.” This will also be your proof of address, as the bank will send you a debit card, as well as bank statements, after you’ve completed the process.

That should be everything. Oh yes, remember to try to manage your money responsibly! The bank will actually help you do this, as you can check your account using an ATM (in the UK we sometimes call them ‘the hole in the wall’), as well as the regular bank statements you will receive. If you need assistance or advice with your bank account, you can speak to the bank, as they will be happy to help. Even the most basic bank account will let you do things like transfer money overseas, receive money from home, and also pay large amounts for your school fees or rent. Opening a bank account is definitely something you need to do when you arrive in the UK, and if you follow our advice, it should be a quick, easy, and convenient process.

More and more international students are now using a foundation course to access prestigious universities in the UK. James Galloway explains why.

If you’re an international student interested in the studying in the UK, and you’re worried about your qualifications, and unsure if they will be enough to get you into a university here, then worry no more: even if you have studied a non-British curriculum, you’ll be able to enrol on the undergraduate course of your dreams by doing something called a foundation course.

A foundation course is a one year preparation course designed specifically for international students who have finished their high school exams, and have less than 13 years of education. The foundation course is like a bridge between your education in your home country, and the Bachelors courses you can study in the UK. The foundation year will help you meet entry requirements to courses the UK, as well as improve your English. You will also become familiar with how courses are taught here, as well as how to study at university, and what is expected of students in the UK.

There are numerous benefits to studying a foundation course, not least that many international students who take foundation courses score higher degree classes than those international students who do not. This shows the major benefits of a foundation year, because it truly prepares you for studying a Bachelor’s degree in the UK, and helps students get accustomed to teaching and study styles.

There are many different types of foundation courses, such as in business, finance, computing, art and design, engineering, and humanities, and your agent will be able to help you identify which course suits you best. Many universities have their own foundation courses, and some colleges and foundation providers have partnerships with universities which can guarantee progression to them – if your grades are satisfactory, of course! At the same time, you are also able to apply to other universities for your degree, based on your school results plus your foundation course. This gives international students a wealth of opportunities that they otherwise might not have.

To enrol on a foundation course, you will usually need to have an IELTS score of at least 4.5, but depending on the length of your course, and what the content of the course is, this might be higher. A good education consultant or agent can help you with the application and to choose the right course. However, if you feel that you need to polish your English first, you can always enrol on an English language program first, which is something your agent will be able to help you with. Coming to the UK as an international student will require a lot of adjusting, especially to the academic side of things, but with expert help, you will be able to guide your way through the challenges – and a foundation course is an excellent place to start your education journey.