The UK is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Oxford, Cambridge, UCL are just a few of the hundreds of tertiary education
providers for which the UK is known. This post elaborates on the stage by stage process by which a Nigerian can apply to study in the UK at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.
A. Choice of school and course (Undergraduate and Postgraduate):
The UK’s educational system is replete with hundreds of courses – both graduate and undergraduate – and you might get inundated while trying to narrow down your list. Also tuition fees at most UK schools are quite high with costs ranging from £7, 500 – £35, 000, you would want to choose an institution that would fit your budget. Other factors to consider in making choice of schools are: academic ranking, possible presence of a Nigerian community, et cetera. A couple of good websites that can assist with course and school selection are: EducationUK and Study In UK.
B1. Qualification (Undergraduate):
For undergraduate entry in the UK, you are expected to hold a GCE A’ level qualification. Other qualifications that could supplant the GCE A’ level requirement are a National Diploma (ND) certificate or completion of the first year of a bachelor’s degree program in Nigeria. This invariably means that secondary school leavers from Nigeria with an SSCE qualification are generally deemed deficient and would need a further year of study to bridge the academic gap before being accepted to enroll for an undergraduate degree. This is where the Foundation Year comes in. Virtually all institutions in the UK run a foundation year program for incoming foreign students. Upon successful completion of the foundation year course, you are given first priority on consideration for admission.
B2. Qualification (Postgraduate):
A completed bachelor’s degree is required for master’s study. Some universities demand a 2.1 grade level while some lower ranked institutions would accept a 2.2. Work or research experience can further strengthen your application to graduate school. For doctorate level application, a first class bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree is required. But in some cases, a second class upper could be accepted. It all depends on the institution, it is best to enquire from schools about exceptions and special considerations.
C1. Application (Undergraduate):
If you hold the GCE A’ level qualification or an equivalent certificate, you can apply directly to UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission Service). UCAS handles all undergraduate applications for admission in the UK. Early application cycle runs from September to January but late applications are considered until June.
If applying for the foundation year, you need to have 5 credits at SSCE level though some schools may accept lesser number of credits. Additionally, a credit in SSCE English is required or an acceptable score on the IELTS or TOEFL. Other application documents required are: Healthy bank account statement, Statement of purpose, Recommendation letters, Application fees.
C2. Application (Postgraduate):
Applications for postgraduate study are made directly to desired schools. A good number of schools accept applications continuously and admit on a rolling cycle. Your academic transcripts should be sent directly from your university in Nigeria.
D. Visa application:
The visa application process is similar for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. If the school you are applying to decides to offer you admission, you will be sent a document called a CAS (Certificate of Acceptance of Studies). Some institutions do require that you deposit part of the tuition fees to secure your place before they send you your CAS. The CAS outlines your identification details, CAS number, program you have been accepted for, the amount you have deposited and so on. Once you have received your CAS, you can proceed to apply for your student visa (Tier 4). Preliminary applications can be made online before forwarding application documents by post to the British High Commission. As at the time of this post, student visa fees cost $530. The current visa assessment process is a points-based one and you will be granted a student visa (Tier 4) only if your application meets the required points tally. Some good keynotes to be cognizant of when applying for a Tier 4 visa are:
1. Statement of personal account displaying sufficient funds to underwrite expenses for at least a year. Sufficient funds must reflect for a period of no less than 28 days.