Undergraduate degrees in the UK are becoming quite attractive to Chinese students and the numbers attending UK universities is increasing. Currently there are 38000 Chinese undergraduates in UK Universities despite the high cost of tuition fees and living expenses in the UK. Even for English students the cost of a typical 3 years Bachelor degree is daunting to say the least. In the last couple of years tuition fees increased three fold and now run at around £9,000 per annum. Against this Scottish students can attend Universities in Scotland with free tuition fees.
English students are leaving University heavily debt ridden because the majority have to take Government loans to fund the tuition fees. So we recognise that taking an undergraduate degree in the UK for Chinese nationals is proportionately even more burdensome. That said, many Chinese students decide to take this path in anticipation of being better placed both in terms of their education and in terms of their future career strategy. There are some matters which we need to point out but these matters are not insurmountable hurdles so do not be overly concerned.
First, the Gao Kao which you have or will have taken by the end of your High School (Senior Middle School) in China is not recognised by the UK as a sufficient level of education to commence a Bachelor's degree course. Again please understand that this is not simply a matter of your English standard but all relevant subjects. By 2017 the Gao Kao will include Oral English examination, so the English Gao Kao standard is rising. Nevertheless, the requirement for University entrance is not the Gao Kao but GCE (General Certificate of Education) Advanced Level, commonly known as 'A' Level which is what UK students take. 'A' Levels are generally worked towards over two years and split into two parts, with one part studied in each year. The first part is known as the Advanced Subsidiary Level, or 'AS' Level. The second part is known as the 'A2' Level. The 'AS' Level combined with the 'A2' Level forms the complete 'A' Level qualification.
Let me take a typical example. Let us look at the entrance requirements for The University of Nottingham, a highly regarded but typical university as regards entrance requirements. Normally a student will be expected to have studied three subject to the higher "A" level and four subjects to "AS" level. But even students with just 3 "A" levels may gain entry. There are more than 10 other qualifications besides "A" levels which are acceptable to the University but Gao Kao is not one.
It is not practical to give all the different entry requirements for each University and course and whether for direct undergraduate entry or for the Foundation course (which we cover below) but suffice to say that each university is different and different courses will have different requirements. For Foundation courses generally the Gao Kao will be considered and an overall average of at least 70% is required. If you want to take the Foundation course after year 11 (2nd year of Senior Middle School) then your Zhong Kao results may be considered. For Chinese students applying for any degree or Foundation course they will additionally need to demonstrate good level of English and generally the IELTS exam results are accepted and we recommend that exam over others. (please see the section "English Language Requirements" below). The earlier you plan your future education the better choices you have in your decision making process.
So how can a Chinese student achieve the entry requirements?
Well, by a number of different methods.
If you have to reject all of the above opportunities, then there is still at least one more which may be acceptable.
In 2004, Nottingham was the first Sino-foreign university to establish a campus in China. The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (UNNC) offers the same high standard of teaching as the UK campuses and has internationalisation at its heart: of over 6,000 students, there are around 540 international students from 60 countries. With the world’s fastest-growing economy, China has become one of the most important countries in the world.
So the University of Nottingham has a word class campus in China. Truly amazing! All study programmes taught at Ningbo are conducted in English and you will graduate with a University of Nottingham degree. As a student based in Ningbo, you will have opportunities to study in the UK and at other top universities.
So instead of applying to a UK university you are applying to a Chinese campus of a UK University and during the four years you could spend one or two years in England at the UK campus. The one obvious advantage is that The University of Nottingham in China accepts your Gao Kao providing you have the highest grades (First Division)and currently a minimum score of 115 for English test as part of the National University Entrance Examination.
There is no UK funding available for Foundation courses. So this is something you need to consider carefully. However, once through the Foundation Year, undergraduate scholarships are available.
As to undergraduate fees please look at our Universities page where we discuss University Fees. Suffice here to again illustrate fees by reference to University of
Nottingham. For the year 2014-2015 the typical fees for Undergraduate courses range from £13,470 to £17,340. The exception is a particular Veterinary Medicine course where the fee is £25,690.
These rates are per annum.
English Language requirements
If your English is below par, then you also need to attend an academic English and study skills programme which will prepare you to study your degree in English. We always recommend taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The grade you will require will vary by University and be dependent on the type of Foundation course or direct undergraduate entry. As an illustration only we can say that the University of Nottingham requires an IELTS of 5.5 with no less than 5 in any element i.e. in Listening, Reading, Writing and Oral. But if you were wishing to read Medicine then you need IELTS 7.5 with no less than 7 in any element. The NCUK Foundation entry requires only an overall result of 5.0.
In short the higher your IELTS score the more options you have. So we encourage you to aim for the highest score. IELTS is not essential as other English language equivalencies are acceptable e.g. TOEFL, GCSE, Hong Kong A Level use of English. So if you already have some English test then check with us on whether it meets a specific course requirement.
When and how
If you need to undertake a Foundation Course then the application process begins Oct/Nov of the preceding year. So if you are accepted it is conditional upon your Ga Kao results.
If you are taking "A" levels, or are already enrolled on a Foundation course, then you need to be sure that you apply in plenty of time. All applications for undergraduate direct entry are made through 'Universities and Colleges Admissions Service' commonly known as UCAS) and not with the University. Students choose up to five university courses and then apply by completing the form at www.ucas.com/apply. 110,000 students apply from outside the UK through UCAS each year.
Applications can begin about a year in advance. There are four key dates and the following applies for 2015 entrance.
We can assist in the application process from UCAS, but you should begin to explore the UCAS website early on.
If the application is successful the student will receive an offer from the University. There are two types of offer. An "Unconditional" offer means that the student has been offered a place on the course. A "Conditional" offer means there are conditions to be fulfilled, such as examination results and the level of English skills.
You will also need to produce a 'Personal Statement' and this is a very important part of the application process. Essentially the Personal Statement has to convince the University as to why they should accept you over another student. We can give advice on the Personal Statement and it should be produced in both languages. It is important that your personal statement is unique and is not based on a standard or taken from other Personal Statements. Plagiarism is not tolerated. One thing to remember is that the Personal Statement is seen by all five universities that you apply for, so it has to be non specific and do not mention any particular university or course. The Personal Statement can be drafted ahead of time, so do not leave it to the end. UK Universities are interested mostly in your academic ability. Applications to the USA Universities have different expectations.
We hope that we have demonstrated by the above that we have a fuller understanding of the opportunities for undergraduates than most of our competitors and that exploring opportunities with us will give you several possible avenues that you may not otherwise have explored. Our services include helping you to identify the right course and university and to make the application through UCAS. In addition we help to identify sources of funding and again will assist in the completion of forms for scholarships and bursaries.
UK University Application Services.... Helping Chinese students gain placement
THE NEXT STEP
Whatever point you are in your education, whether still in Senior High School or already a Bachelor or Masters Degree graduate, our impartial professional consultancy will enable you to make that right choice. An exploratory discussion about our services can be mutually arranged in English or Chinese and obviously is without cost. Please contact us as shown below or see our Contact us page for enquiry and contact forms.
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