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Application Timeline – Studying in U.K.

After U.S.A., U.K is the most popular destination in the world for international students. It is known all over the world for its high quality education and is home to some of the world’s best universities, including the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

Studying in the U.K is very different from studying in India. This difference is reflected in the application process as well. In the U.K, all undergraduate applications are made through a single application form present on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.

Your admission is primarily based on your scores in school. This is completely unlike the admission criteria in India, where entrance exams play a huge role in determining the university/college you manage to get into.

Most courses in the U.K start in October. The applications for admissions generally open a year before the course starts i.e. in the month of September (previous year). Therefore, it is a good idea to start your application process approximately 14 months before the start of your course.

The application process for U.K comprises of 10 steps listed below that are to be completed within this period of 12 – 14 months.

Important Note:

Keep in mind that the timeline mentioned below is an ‘Ideal’ timeline. It is based on the application deadline of mid-January for applying to most colleges in U.K. If you are late, you will have the opportunity to apply to universities even 2 – 3 months before the actual commencement of the course; however, this would only be possible to do in seats for courses in colleges that have remained unfilled. You will only be able to apply to courses that are available rather than to courses that you wish to pursue. To apply to courses of your choice in college best for your background and aspirations, follow the timeline given below.  

There are also a few other exceptions that don’t align with the timeline below. First, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge generally have their deadlines by the 15th of October, i.e. 12 months before the commencement of the course. Second, some Art and Design colleges accept applications till Mid – March, i.e. 7 months before the course begins.

12 – 14 months prior to commencement of course

Research about the U.K.

Why study in the U.K? Find out about all important aspects like Education System, Culture, Job Prospects, and Expenditure.

Make a list of universities/colleges you would want to join.

Based on course content, reputation, location, costs etc. Find out about the eligibility criteria and tests required to be taken for the course. Start short listing.


Apply for the tests as per course and university requirements. Prepare and appear for the tests in due time. TOEFL, IELTS etc.

7 – 12 months prior to commencement of course

Start application process.

Create UCAS account, fill forms, arrange documents, personal statements, recommendation letters, test marks etc.

Decide on funding.

How will you fund your studies? Would you need financial aids? If yes, then consider all options including loans, bursaries, scholarships etc. Start budgeting and find ways to reduce costs.

Complete application forms and send them.

Fill forms, attach documents and apply to universities. Apply to 5 colleges.

4 – 7 months prior to commencement of course

Confirm your admission

On the basis of the replies you get from universities, choose the most ideal option. Procure Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.

Decide on accommodation.

Do you prefer to live on – campus or off – campus? Consider costs and budget.

2 – 3 months prior to commencement of course

Apply for Visas.

Complete necessary documentation. Apply for the visa and attend an interview if required.

Get Visa, Pack, Book Flight and Fly away!

Procure Visa. Make necessary travel arrangements.

Study in UK