How to apply to study A Levels in the United Kingdom
Applying for UK A Level
Keep calm! Applying to study A levels in the UK is not as rigorous as applying to a UK university.
Basically the first step is deciding which A level subjects to study, bearing in mind the course you want to study at university.
Most UK colleges allow you to do take General Studies subject as one of your A levels if you are undecided and want to keep your university choices open. The results of your GCSEs, IGCSEs or equivalent in your home country are a good indication of which A level subjects are better suited for you. But although picking the subjects you did best at GCSE level seems like the obvious choice, but you should also focus on subjects you like. Because two years in college can become very stressful if you are not studying a subject you don't enjoy.
Applying to study A levels in the UK
You can simply contact the college or sixth form you want to attend. But you should do this as soon as you can because most colleges have limited spaces. Admittance usually depends on your grades but for international students, there is a lot more to consider than the average British national.
I applied to three other British schools besides Bellerbys College and I must say it was very stressful because I had to manage the application process myself. But applying to Bellerbys was stress-free because the Bellerbys agents made it easy.
With Bellerbys, you have three campuses to choose from in Cambridge, Brighton and London. The spaces do get filled up pretty fast. and it’s best to apply early get your first choice of the accommodation options. I initially applied to Bellerbys London but on researching all the Bellerbys campuses, I decided that I would prefer to go to school in the famous seaside city of Brighton and Hove. But by then the college accommodation in Brighton had been fully booked. If this happens to you, don’t panic. Bellerbys College has one of the friendliest associations of homestay families.
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 an opportunity to stay with a family that can help you with all those basic survival tips that you don’t get when living alone!
How do I get my student visa?
The UK requires all visitors from non EU countries to have a visa and a specific student visa covers your entire study period. This has the potential to be the major hurdle in the entire admission process.
To apply for a UK study visa you must complete every other payment and process and must have already been granted admission to study in a school. You will need your UCAS number to apply for your Visa at the British embassy in your home country. Bellerbys will issue your UCAS number in just two days after your payment is confirmed. Depending on your country, the process could take a long time. I personally experienced a delay in my student visa and had to wait for three months before I could study in the UK. A delay can be really frustrating for students excited to study abroad.
Bellerbys College does all it can to help with visa delays. Your agent will also give you all the basic advice you may need at the embassy as they are experienced with the visa process.
If your visa application is delayed, use the time as an opportunity to invest in something useful. You could start to take A level classes online and save yourself the stress of struggling at the beginning of your programme.
Have I made the right decision to study in the UK?
Going to college is a really exciting experience and there are just so many reasons why the UK is the best place to study. Apart from the obvious academic reasons - the UK has some of the best universities in the world - the whole country is a beautiful tourist attraction. Studying in the country gives you an opportunity to experience Great Britain for yourself and broaden your horizons.
I must add that coming to study A levels at an international college like Bellerbys gives you the opportunity to meet 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!