This article was written by the Great British Mag editorial team on 20 January 2021.
As an international student, you have two options when it comes to applying to a UK university. The first is to do it yourself through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), and the second is to hire an agent or counsellor to help you navigate the application process.
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of applying directly through UCAS.
Pros of managing the application process yourself
1. Learn about the best courses for you
The UCAS website lists all the undergraduate courses available in the UK, provides basic information about each course – including the fees – and allows you to contact students at the university of your choice to ask them questions.
The website also includes quizzes and questionnaires to help you choose the right course and grasp an understanding of what you need to study to get into a field of work that appeals to you. Regardless of whether you know what you want to study or not, the UCAS website is a comprehensive resource with the most up-to-date information about all undergraduate courses in the UK.
2. You will get step-by-step unbiased guidance
The UCAS website is designed to help you with your application and is packed with useful resources to answer all your questions about applying to a UK university, such as how to write the perfect personal statement, what the critical deadlines are and whether the university of your choice provides any scholarships or bursaries.
The website is easy to use and once you have set up an account and have a UCAS number you can call the helpline number if you get stuck.
You can also keep an eye on how your application is progressing and which universities have accepted your application via the UCAS website. You can also communicate with the universities via the website if you have questions.
3. The application process is cheaper than going through an agent
The cost of applying directly to a UK university via the UCAS website is considerably cheaper than using an agent. UCAS charges £25 if you’re sending multiple applications (you can apply for five courses in total) or £20 if you are applying for one course.
Cons of managing the application process yourself
1. It can be stressful and time-consuming
Researching and finding a course and university overseas can take time and feel a little overwhelming, especially when you are juggling it with your studies. The application process is also likely to be different from the one used in your home country and you will need to read all the instructions and submit the application in English.
2. You could make a mistake and miss out on your chosen course
When you apply through UCAS you will be responsible for submitting all required paperwork by the deadline and you will also be responsible for answering questions from universities and providing additional information if requested.
If you make mistakes in your application or fail to hit deadlines you will miss out on securing a place on your chosen course.
3. The website has limited information about the course and university
While the UCAS website does have some information about each course on offer, it’s very limited. It’s also worth remembering that the student from the university you are able to talk to and ask questions will have been hired by the university so are unlikely to be critical. Once you have your shortlist of courses, you will need to spend more time visiting each university’s website to find out a bit more.
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