This informal CPD article ‘Global Universities’ was provided by UES Education, specialists in international university and school admissions, working with top schools across the UK and Europe to provide a bespoke service for those who want the best possible application support in the UK.
More and more, UK students are looking overseas for university options. Teachers and schools in the UK are well-versed in UCAS, but having a knowledge of the different university systems across the world, and their application processes, can give you a heads-up when advising students and promoting your school to prospective students and parents.
Students can apply to American universities through various portals; the most common ones are the Common Application and the Universities of California portal. There are generally no academic requirements for admission; instead, each college has an academic profile of students in the range they admit. Students interested in US universities can apply with A-Level or IB predicted grades and standardised test scores (the latter of which are often optional, but always helpful if good scores are submitted!). US college applications are also holistic, meaning everything in a student’s profile is considered, not just grades. There are also two deadlines for US applications: the Early deadline of 1 November, and the Regular Decision deadline of early January (usually 1 January).
Dutch universities use the Studielink portal, and typically require scores of BBB at A-Level for research universities, the most academically rigorous type of Dutch university. Research universities offer three-year programmes focusing on the academic study of a particular subject. Another type, Universities of Applied Sciences, are more practical and focused on job skills, and offer four-year programmes. And then there are University Colleges, more akin to US Liberal Arts style colleges. The Studielink portal is open 1 October-1 May, but there is an earlier application deadline for Numerus Fixus courses (popular courses with a limited number of places). One consideration to keep in mind when applying to Dutch universities is that housing is not provided through the university, and it can be a challenge to find accommodation without forward planning.
International students apply directly to universities in Hong Kong, and these universities require three A-Levels or the IB curriculum, at minimum; applicants will need good grades on these in order to be accepted. Application deadlines vary, and are typically done in three cycles: Early, Regular, and late.
For Australian universities, you can apply directly, or through a reputable agency such as StudyOptions, who will help you put through your applications for no fee. Typically, you will need two or three A-Levels to apply to Australian universities, and their deadlines also vary. These are typically December or January for first semester start applicants, and May or June for second semester start applicants.
To apply to German universities, students should use the Uni-assist portal. Applicants are required to have three A-Levels, and there may be other requirements based on whether the application is for science or humanities. The university application deadline is 15th July before the autumn an applicant wishes to begin university, but students can (and should) apply earlier!
Swiss universities have quite restrictive requirements. They require students to have done A-Levels in maths, English, and a language, show proof of proficiency with the German language, and have high entrance requirements. There is no centralised portal for applying to Swiss universities, and application deadlines vary.
Other European Destinations
Also popular with UK students are universities such as Bocconi in Italy, IE and SLU Madrid in Spain, and Sciences Po and American University of Paris in France. Like other European universities, these tend to require a secondary education leaving certificate, and proof of proficiency in the relevant language (although many of those universities will offer at least some programmes taught in English). Generally students apply directly to Spanish, French, and Italian universities, or may apply via the Common Application for the American universities.
A growing number of UK students are applying to universities around the world. By knowing the requirements and application processes of each, teachers and schools can advise students on which universities are a good match for them, and help them put through successful applications.
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