How to apply for A Level in the UK

Posted 11 August 2013
A level class

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Each year many international students come to the UK to study because the UK is known for its high educational standards and achievements as well as its beautiful natural features which make it a desirable place to study.

Keep Calm! Applying to study A levels in the UK is not as rigorous as applying to a UK university or as impossible as racing the whole of Antarctica! So don’t panic, don’t fret!

Basically the first step is to know what subjects at A level you want to study, bearing in mind the course you would like to study at university.  Most UK colleges allow you to do a General Studies subject as part of your A levels if you are still undecided and want to keep your choices at university very open. However, the results of your GCSEs, IGCSEs or equivalent in your home country are a better indication of the A level subjects that are better for you. Picking the subjects you did better in GCSE would be an obvious decision but one shouldn’t pick subjects just because they do well in them, one should also consider if they enjoy doing that subject. That way you reduce the stress and rigors of the two years in college because you will be studying what you enjoy in the first place.

Applying to study A levels in the UK is pretty much as simple as going to the college or sixth form you wish to attend and indicating your interest. This should be done earlier as most colleges have limited spaces for courses. Your admittance into the sixth forms would then depend on your grades when they get released. However with international students, there is a lot more involved than the average British national.

I applied to three other British schools besides Bellerbys College and I must say it was indeed stressful because all the application procedures were left to my parents and I. On the other hand, when applying to Bellerbys, we discovered there were agents who made things a whole lot easier. Now that should be a reason to not only study in UK but to come to Bellerbys! Surely everyone likes a stress free option, don’t they? At Bellerbys, you have four campuses to choose from- Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton and London. However, it’s always best to apply early, as with most things, it ensures you first choice of the accommodation options. The spaces do get filled up pretty fast. I initially applied to Bellerbys London but on researching all the Bellerbys campuses, I discovered I preferred the idea of going to school in the famous seaside city of Brighton and Hove. I took quite a while to make up my mind so when I finally did, the entire residence at Brighton had been fully booked. If this happens to you, don’t get all sad like I did, Bellerbys College has one of the friendliest associations of homestay families. Of course, there’s no place like home, but I like to describe homestay as a ‘home away from home’. It offers you the feeling and support of a family but with independence when you want it. This option is often recommended for younger students leaving home for the first time but is suitable for older students too. It also offers you a platform to mix with a family that is likely to have been resident in that town for a long time, hence they would have all those basic survival tips that you don’t really get when living alone!

How do I get my student visa?

The UK requires all visitors from non EU countries to have a visa when arriving in the UK, and a specific student visa when coming to study that spans their entire study duration. This is the part that has the potential to be the major hurdle in the entire admission process. To apply for a visa to study in the UK, you must have first completed every other payment and process and must have already been granted admission to study in a school. Your UCAS number will be then issued to you with which you will apply to the British embassy in your home country. Depending on the country however, this process could take quite a while. I personally experienced a delay in my student visa and had to wait for three months before I could study in the UK. The delay can be really frustrating for students excited to study abroad. Don’t let that discourage you though! If you do get delayed, see it as an opportunity to invest in something useful. You could begin to take A level classes online and save yourself the stress of struggling at the beginning of your program. You could use that time to chase a dream or other interests you may have. But then there’s absolutely no harm in just sitting home and enjoying your stay with your family and friends and having a good time! Bellerbys College does do all they can to help especially in countries they’ve got reports of delays. They take an average of just two days to issue your UCAS number after your confirmation payment!  Your agent also gives you all the basic advice you may need at the embassy as they are experienced with the visa process.

Are you still unsure about how to apply for A level in the UK? Having done all that and with your student visa in hand, I guess the only thing left to do is to start shopping for college!!! Sounds fun doesn’t it? You may choose to do this in your home country or in the UK. Bear in mind the various seasons and the unpredictable Britain weather though!

Have I made the right decision to study in the UK?

College is a really exciting experience and there are just so many reasons why the UK is recommended. Apart from the obvious academic reasons of the UK having some of the best universities and education system in the world, the entire UK is a huge tourist attraction and studying in the country gives you an immense opportunity to experience Great Britain for yourself. Of course, as an international student you have an upper hand to those studying at home as this exposes you to a different environment and broadens your horizons. I must add that coming to study A levels at an international college like Bellerbys gives you the opportunity of meeting with other students of different nationalities too. Some experiences are just too beautiful and are better felt personally than heard from others, so I suggest you come and see for yourself! Keep calm and come to study in the UK! You won’t regret it, trust me!

OSAIKHUWUOMWAN, Osariemen (Love)