Study UK: a Guide for Education Agents and Counsellors

This online course from the British Council will provide international education agents, school counsellors and consultants with advice on all aspects of UK education. Further information is included around becoming a professional education agent for the UK if relevant for you.

It will develop your knowledge of:


  • the UK education and training system
  • the attractions for students in the UK
  • quality assurance systems and how they operate
  • student lifestyle issues
  • welfare and support for international students
  • application processes and entry requirements


Free tuition for life

Cardiff University has a contest with the winner receiving free tuition for life–as many courses and degrees the student wants. It is unclear how the contest will work, but there will be challenges:

To earn this once-in-a-lifetime prize you’ll really have to show you’re capable of setting the world alight by thriving in various challenges. Each one, more difficult than the last, will test you for the type of qualities we expect our students to have, such as passion, commitment and intelligence.

Could this have anything to do with the fact that applications are down a whopping 15% over last year?  True, Welsh student applications are down only 10%, but still the university wants to thrive-which happens to be the name of the competition.

Books for the UK

There are a wealth of resources in the UK. Aside from many webresources, here are some of the best books, my personal favorities are in this carosel (Click on the title to take you to the Amazon store).

Many like those published by UCAS (but buying them on will save you money and they ship anywhere in the world):

And finally specific help with personal statements and the application process

Not what you wanted? Use the search box below:

Understanding clearing

So you applied to and were offered admissions to a few universities in the UK. Now you discovered you did not quite meet your conditions. Or you scored even better than you expected. You can prepare yourself to use the Clearing system. Many universities will discover they have spaces come mid August and may be interested in you coming to their campus. UCAS offers a nice video to help you understand clearing. The steps to clearing are:

Clearing is a service that operates between mid-July and September. You can take part in Clearing if you have already applied through UCAS and you are in one of the following categories.

  • You have not received any offers.
  • You have declined all your offers or not responded by the due date.
  • Your offers have not been confirmed because you have not met the conditions (eg you have not achieved the required grades).
  • You have declined a changed course, a changed date of entry and/or changed point of entry offer.
  • You applied for one course which has been declined/unsuccessful and you have paid the full £19 fee.
  • We receive your application after 30 June 2010. If we receive your application after this date, we will not send it to any universities and colleges.

If you only made a single choice on your original application, you can pay a further £10 and apply to other universities and colleges through Clearing.

You can still complete an application until 20 September 2010. If you apply after 30 June you will automatically be entered into Clearing so you should not fill in any choices on your application.

Course vacancies in Clearing are published on this site from mid-August until late-September.

Personality testing and college search

Today I gave a workshop on using personality testing in the college search process. The site we used:

Shanghai American School Guidance website.

Some great books on personality profiles (some college or career specific):

Apps up in the UK–way up

The BBC reports that: “As of January 22, the number of UK-based applicants, 499,451, was up 22.1%, while overseas applications rose 28.7% to 71,105. And more would-be students may yet apply.” This is just the latest of several years of increases.

The BBC further reports that the Russell Group–a consortium of the most competitive universities–experienced increases from 3% to 18% in applications. The increases are even more dramatic in Scotland: The increase in Scotland is even more pronounced, with a rise of almost a third in applications. “When the formal deadline closed, 38,763 Scots had applied for degree courses, up 31.2 per cent on last year. The rise in mature students is particularly great, with applications from Scottish residents over 25 more than doubling.” We also see a growth in Wales: “The number of accepted applications for higher education in Wales increased by 11.8% over 2008, a figure boosted by an increase in students from every geographic area and age group.”

Some numbers:

Aberdeen University saw the greatest increase in applications of all Scotland’s ancient universities, a rise of 32 per cent to 16,795. The institution also saw the highest increase in applications for medicine in Scotland, rising by 30 per cent.

University College London said degree applications had grown by 2,000 to 33,220 this year. But at the same time, the number of available places has actually dropped slightly from 3,485 to 3,352.

At Sussex University, applications are up by 32 per cent this year to 11,345, but the number of available places has been frozen at 2,519.

Source: Telegraph.

At Oxford, the number of applications has soared by 12 per cent to 17,085, while numbers have increased by almost 8 per cent to 15,604 at Cambridge. It comes despite the fact that places at the two universities have been frozen at around 6,700.

Bristol’s University of the West of England has seen an even bigger leap, with applications up 27 per cent.

The University of Bristol has seen a slight drop in its figures but still expects about 11 applicants to be chasing every place on one of its courses.

University of Worcester – where applications are up 35% on last year –

Interestingly, two careers showed the most dramatic increases: Applications for social work courses have risen by 41.3 per cent, while nursing’s 73.7 per cent rise made it the most popular subject.

Applying to Oxford?

One of the great universities in the world is Oxford University in the UK. Of course applying to Oxford feels intimidating and very different than the US colleges. Fortunetly, OXford has a great series of podcasts to help you:

Fifth episode: Making an application – tutors give tips

Eighth episode: The Oxford interview – History tutors tell all

Twelfth episode: The Oxford interview – Open Days

PodOxford icon2 redDownload entire episode – 12 min 57 secs (11.9 MB)More info about the participants.

As for choosing a residential college, I stumbled on a survey that will recommend colleges based on your input. Some other resources:

The Student Room
Their wiki offers advice on factors to considerpros and cons of the colleges and a colleges FAQ. Their advice is provided by Oxford students, and their forum would be a good place to ask any questions you might have.
Oxford University Student Union
Their advice on choosing a college emphasises the point that your college choice is not crucial—it will not make or break your time at Oxford.
Oxbridge Admissions Profiles
Oxbridge Admissions Profiles offers the stories of nearly 500 Oxford applicants, some of which give an insight into their college choice.

Remember: October 15 is the deadline for the application at UCAS.

My favourite UK Books

I am often asked which books I find mos valuable in the college admission process. Today, I will begin a new series highlighting some of the HUNDREDS of books that are on the market. This post focuses on University admissions in the UK. These books are available from Amazon.UK (Not Don’t worry they deviler all over the place.



The first two books I would like to highlight are Brian Heap’s excellent books:


‘So useful one wonders how people made higher education applications before’ –Times Educational Supplement. Need I say more? Ok how about: The course-listings bible –The Guardian

Academics are often not well rounded people

Listen to the Oxford podcast before it is too late for insight into the Oxford personal statement–which i think could b generalized to more UK universities. Three admission tutors share what they are looking for when they read personal statements. Surprise to all the US students: Oxford is an academic place and academics tend to focus on their area of expertise–“They are not well rounded people,” explains one. They want to engage in a discussion with a student who is passionate in their area of expertise.

Powered by ScribeFire.

UCAS personal statements

I have made a screen cast of completing your personal statement:

In the screen cast you may wish to pause to read some of the longer slides (these are actual personal statements with commentary.

I mention lots of helpful sites on one screen.

Actual samples of essays:

How to guides and advice:


Powered by ScribeFire.