How to enroll in University in England

Iscrizione università Inghilterra

University in the UK explained

Studying at a UK university as an international student has many advantages: it is a great opportunity to improve your English language skills, to enrich yourself by living in a different culture on your own and to increase your job prospects.

The British university system is vastly different than other european systems. In this article I will explain you in detail how British universities are structured, how to choose the best university for you and how to prepare your application.

How are British universities structured?

Once you have passed your final high school exams, if you want to undertake higher study you can either apply for a course at a college (offering university-level education combined with practical experience) or you can apply for a course at a university, offering degrees which are usually three years long (four in Scotland) and that will award you, at the end of the course, a bachelor’s degree.

If you want to keep studying after your first degree, you can apply for a postgraduate degree, where you will be studying to obtain a master, which can be followed by a doctorate to obtain a PhD.

How do I choose the right university for me?

There are more than 100 universities and colleges in England alone and with such a large choice, choosing the best course at the best university for you is not an easy task. First of all, you need to know that every university course only accept a given number of students: whether you will be accepted or refused will depend on your application and, most importantly, on your final grades at high school. For selected courses where an in-depth knowledge of a specific subject is required, the university might ask you for specific grades in that subject.

If your native language isn’t English, British universities will also require you to prove your English language skills. The IELTS certificate is widely accepted across the country, and generally universities require you to achieve a grade between 6 and 7.5 (out of 9). To find out which grades you need for the course you would like to apply to, visit the university’s website, find the course you are interested in and check the entry requirements section. You will most likely only find British grades, but as a general rule the Italian grade of 95/100 is equivalent to AAA, 90/100 is equivalent to AAB, 85/100 is equivalent to ABB and so on.

Now that you have established which courses you would like to apply for, you have to choose where you would like to study. The answer will vary according to your preferences and your needs: if you have a limited budget, the north of England is a great choice thanks to the lower cost of living; if you prefer living in a quiet area, it is best to avoid crowded cities such as London or Manchester.

University rankings are very important in the UK: each year every university in the country is ranked based on various factors such as facilities, quality of research and teaching. The higher a university is ranked, the better it will look on your CV.

How do I prepare my application?

First of all, you should familiarise yourself with the UCAS website (University and Colleges Admissions Service): this portal works as an intermediary between the applicants and universities.

Once you have created an account, you will have a number of sections to fill out:

  • Personal details: Here you will have to provide your contact details, your education history and state any qualifications you might have;
  • Course choices: Here you will have to list your course choice preferences. You can apply to up to five courses, which do not have to be from the same university. At this stage you are not required to order them by preference. You can apply to courses in different subjects (for example, you can choose to study English Literature in London and History in Birmingham), but it is recommended to apply to subjects in the same area (humanities, sciences etc) because you can only write one personal statement;
  • Personal statement: This is the most important section of your application. You will be asked to write a 4000 characters (or 47 lines) long letter in which you need to convince the university you are the ideal candidate for the course you have chosen. There are plenty of resources and examples online to help you write your statement;
  • Reference: This section has to be filled by one of your teachers. You can ask a reference from the teacher of the subject you have chosen or alternatively you can ask your English teacher if you are an international student. Your teacher is also required to state your predicted grade (unless you have already completed high school);
  • Fees: Finally, you will be asked to pay an application fee. The cost is currently £20 if you only apply for one course, or £25 or if you apply to more than one course.

Applications are open from mid-September and the deadline is on 15th January. There are some exceptions to this rule: if you would like to study at either Oxford or Cambridge University (you can’t apply for both), or if you want to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or science, the deadline is on 15th October.

What happens next?

You should start hearing back from universities from March. You could get one of these three answers:

  • Conditional: Your place is put on hold and will be confirmed once you have met all the entry requirements;
  • Unconditional: You meet all the entry requirements and your place is confirmed;
  • Unsuccessful: Your application has been rejected.

Once you have received an answer from the universities you will be asked to select your firm choice (the course you most want to attend) and your insurance choice (your backup choice should you not meet the entry requirements for your firm choice).

If you pass your final exams and you achieve the grades asked by your university, the status of your offer will automatically change from conditional to unconditional: this change usually takes place in August when British students receive their A Level results. Now that you have your confirmation you can prepare your application for a room in university halls and start planning your move!

How can I finance my studies?

British university courses are considerably more expensive than other european universities: in 2019/2020, one year can cost up to £9250 for UK and EU students. For international students (except EU students) the cost of one year starts at £10,000.

The vast majority of British and European students apply for a loan from Student Finance, which will cover the fees for the entirety of the course. You will start repaying your fees in monthly instalments after graduation as long as you are earning at least £21,000 per year. If you are earning less, you won’t be asked to pay.

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Complete Guide to Learning English: Strategies and Resources

Come imparare la lingua inglese

In the modern era, mastering English has become an essential skill. This global language opens doors in various aspects of life, both personal and professional. This article will explore the importance of acquiring English language skills and guide you through a series of resources and strategies to help you perfect this language. Additionally, we will delve into free online resources, tips to enhance your reading, listening, writing, and pronunciation skills, and immerse ourselves in English culture. It’s time to explore the vast world of English and unlock your potential in language learning!

Benefits of Learning English

Learning English offers a range of advantages that extend well beyond merely mastering a foreign language. Here’s why you should seriously consider investing time and energy in learning English:

  • Global Opportunities: English is a universal language widely used around the world. Acquiring English skills allows you to communicate with people from different cultures and travel more confidently in many countries.
  • Professional Growth: Many companies require or prefer candidates who speak English fluently. Mastery of this language can open doors to new career opportunities and enhance your professional prospects.
  • Access to Global Resources: A significant portion of online content is in English. Learning this language gives you access to a wide range of online resources, from academic research to YouTube tutorials.
  • Improved Communication: Enhancing your language skills in English enables you to communicate more effectively, both in formal and informal situations. This can improve your personal and professional relationships.
  • Personal Growth: Learning a new language stimulates the mind and promotes personal growth. It challenges you to think differently and exposes you to new cultures and ways of thinking.

Free Online Resources for Learning English

Now that you’ve understood the benefits of learning English, you might be wondering where to start. Fortunately, there are numerous free online resources you can leverage to improve your language skills. Here are some options to consider:

  • Educational Websites: There are specialized websites for teaching English with lessons, exercises, and quizzes covering a wide range of topics.
    1. British Council – Learn English: The British Council offers a wide range of educational resources, including exercises, videos, and interactive activities to enhance your English.
    2. Duolingo: Duolingo is a website that offers free English language courses with interactive exercises and fun quizzes.
    3. BBC Learning English: BBC Learning English provides videos, stories, and audio lessons to improve your language skills.
  • Language Learning Apps: Many apps are available for your smartphone to make learning fun and interactive. Some offer audio lessons, writing exercises, and games to enhance your pronunciation.
    1. Duolingo: Duolingo is also available as a mobile app, offering a variety of interactive English lessons.
    2. Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone offers a language learning app with audio and visual lessons to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.
    3. Memrise: Memrise is an app that uses flashcards and memorization techniques to help you learn vocabulary in a fun way.
  • Educational YouTube Channels: Many English language teachers share videos on YouTube that explain grammar, pronunciation, and more. It’s an informal but effective way to learn.
    1. Learn English with EnglishClass101.com: This channel offers educational videos on a variety of English topics, from grammar to culture.
    2. EngVid: EngVid features English lessons taught by different teachers on various language skills.
    3. Rachel’s English: This channel focuses on pronunciation and offers clear lessons on improving your diction and accent.
  • Conversation Exercise Websites: If you want to practice English conversation, you can find websites that connect students from around the world to practice through video chats.
    1. Speaky: Speaky is an online platform that connects students eager to practice English conversation.
    2. Tandem: Tandem is an app that connects you with native English speakers for conversation in exchange for learning your language.
    3. ConversationExchange: This website allows you to find language exchange partners with whom you can practice English conversation.
  • Free Books and Resources: Many educational resources are available for free online, such as ebooks, handouts, and downloadable educational material.
    1. Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg offers a vast collection of free English books, including literary classics.
    2. OpenStax CNX: OpenStax CNX offers free textbooks and educational resources in English on various subjects.
    3. Voice of America – Learning English: Voice of America provides free resources, including articles, audio, and videos to enhance your English language skills.

Studying English Online: Flexibility and Accessibility

Technology has revolutionized language learning, making it more flexible and accessible than ever. Online studies offer several advantages that can adapt to your busy lifestyle:

  • Flexibility: Online studies allow you to schedule lessons and study sessions based on your availability. This flexibility is ideal for those with irregular schedules or family commitments.
  • Access from Anywhere: You can access educational materials and lessons from anywhere with an internet connection. This geographical freedom enables you to study from home, a cafe, or even while traveling.
  • Variety of Materials: Online studies offer a wide range of materials, from texts to videos, covering all aspects of English learning: reading, listening, writing, and conversation.
  • Interactivity: Many online courses include interactive elements, such as exercises, quizzes, and live lessons. These make learning engaging and effective.
  • Time and Money Saving: Online studies can save time and money by eliminating the need to physically travel to a study location.

The Advantage of Studying at an In-Person English School

While online learning offers many opportunities, we cannot overlook the advantages of a more traditional study at a physical English school like Ingla, located in central London. Here’s why you might consider this option:

  • Native Teachers: Studying with native teachers provides an authentic learning experience. You can improve your pronunciation and gain a deeper understanding of the language.
  • Cultural Immersion: Studying on-site allows you to immerse yourself in English culture. This experience can enrich your learning by allowing you to apply what you’ve learned in real life.
  • Structured Lessons: English schools offer structured educational programs with lessons on grammar, conversation, and more. This ensures comprehensive training.
  • Social Interaction: In an English school, you have the opportunity to interact with other students. This interaction can help you practice the language in real situations.
  • Direct Feedback: Teachers can provide direct feedback on your language skills, helping you identify and correct your weaknesses.

Effective Strategies for Learning English

In addition to using online resources and virtual courses, there are key strategies that can enhance your English learning. Here are some practical tips:

  • Consistent Practice: Consistency is essential. Dedicate some time to learning English every day, even if it’s just 15-30 minutes.
  • Participation in Conversations: Engage in conversations in English with native speakers or fellow students to improve pronunciation and listening comprehension.
  • Read Materials in English: Reading books, articles, or news in English expands your vocabulary and enhances language comprehension.
  • Watch Movies and TV Shows in English: Watching audiovisual content in English helps you become familiar with the accent and colloquial language.
  • Keep a Diary: Writing a diary in English is an effective way to improve writing and personal expression.
  • Use Language Learning Apps: There are many apps that offer grammar exercises, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Use them to strengthen your skills.
  • Teach Yourself: Learn to identify your weaknesses and areas that need improvement, then focus on them.

Utilizing Technological Tools for Learning

Technology has opened up new opportunities for language learning, making it more flexible and accessible than ever. Here’s how you can use technological tools to enhance your English language skills:

  • Language Learning Apps: Apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone offer structured and interactive lessons to improve your language skills. You can learn from wherever you are, directly from your smartphone.
    1. Duolingo: Duolingo is a widely used app that provides interactive English lessons with diverse activities for language skill development.
    2. Babbel: Babbel is an app specialized in teaching foreign languages, including English, with a conversation-based approach.
    3. Rosetta Stone: Babbel is an app specialized in teaching foreign languages, including English, with a conversation-based approach.
  • Online Translators: Online translators like Google Translate can help you understand the meaning of words and phrases in English. However, avoid excessive translation and try to understand the context.
    1. Google Translate: Google Translate is one of the most commonly used online translators and is useful for comprehending the meanings of words and phrases in English.
    2. DeepL: DeepL is known for its high-quality translations and is a reliable resource for understanding the context of words and phrases.
    3. Linguee: Linguee is an online translator that provides examples of word usage in real contexts, aiding better comprehension.
  • Grammar Checkers: Tools like Grammarly can help you correct grammatical errors in your writing, contributing to improving your English writing.
    1. Grammarly: Grammarly is a well-known grammar correction tool that analyzes and enhances the grammar and style of your English writing.
    2. ProWritingAid: ProWritingAid is another tool that offers advanced grammar correction and suggestions for improving writing.
    3. Hemingway Editor: Hemingway Editor focuses on clarity and simplicity of writing, providing suggestions to simplify the text.
  • Educational Podcasts: Listening to podcasts in English is a great way to improve listening comprehension. There are podcasts available on a wide range of topics, suitable for different language proficiency levels.
    1. BBC Learning English Podcast: BBC Learning English offers a series of educational podcasts on various topics, suitable for different language proficiency levels.
    2. TED Talks in English: TED Talks provide engaging and thought-provoking conversations on a wide range of topics, with the option of subtitles.
    3. VOA Learning English – Everyday Grammar: Voice of America’s Everyday Grammar podcast provides clear explanations of English grammar.
  • Live Online Lessons: Participating in live online lessons with native-speaking teachers is an effective way to practice the language in a controlled environment.
    1. italki: italki is a platform that allows you to book live online lessons with native English teachers.
    2. Verbling: Verbling offers a variety of teachers and live online lessons to improve your language skills.
    3. Preply: Preply allows you to find online English language teachers for personalized lessons.
  • Educational Websites: There are many educational websites that offer free resources for learning English, including grammar exercises, conversation lessons, and more.
    1. British Council – Learn English: The British Council offers a wide range of educational resources, including grammar exercises, conversation lessons, and English language tests.
    2. ESL Gold: ESL Gold provides a range of resources for learning English, including exercises, vocabulary, and listening lessons.
    3. UsingEnglish.com: UsingEnglish.com is a website that offers grammar exercises, learning resources, and a forum for English students.

While embracing technology for your learning, it’s important to maintain a balance between the digital world and the real world. Technologies should be a tool to enhance your learning, not replace human interaction and practical experience.

Improving Reading Skills in English

Reading is an essential component of learning a foreign language. Here’s how you can improve your reading skills in English:

  • Read English Books: Start with books that are suitable for your level of proficiency and gradually challenge yourself with more complex texts. Consistent reading expands your vocabulary and enhances language comprehension.
  • Online Articles and News: Read articles, blogs, and news in English on topics that interest you. This keeps you informed and exercises your ability to understand authentic texts.
  • Children’s Books: Don’t underestimate English children’s books. They are excellent for beginners and often contain pictures that aid in comprehension.
  • Dictionaries and Reading Apps: Use dictionaries and reading apps that allow you to select an unfamiliar word and get its definition immediately.
  • Reading Groups: Join an English reading group or a book club. This provides you with the opportunity to discuss books and practice the language.

Enhancing Listening Skills in English

Listening comprehension is fundamental for communication in English. Here’s how you can improve your listening skills:

  • Listen to Podcasts: There are numerous English podcasts on a wide range of topics. Choose the ones that interest you the most and listen to them regularly.
  • Watch Movies and TV Shows in English: Change the audio settings of movies and TV shows to English. This helps you get used to the accent and colloquial language.
  • Active Listening: Practice active listening by focusing on comprehension. Try to repeat phrases and answer questions posed in the audio material.
  • Conversation Lessons: Participate in conversation lessons with native speakers or other students. Verbal interaction will help you improve your listening comprehension.
  • English Music: Listen to English music and read the song lyrics. This is a fun way to enhance listening skills and learn new words and phrases.

Deepening Writing Skills

Writing is an important aspect of learning English. Here’s how you can develop effective writing skills:

  • Creative Writing: Write stories, poems, or journals in English. This exercise enhances your creativity and helps you get used to expressing yourself in the new language.
  • English Correspondence: Write emails or letters in English to people you know. This forces you to practice practical writing.
  • English Blog: If you feel confident, start a blog in English. This allows you to share your ideas and improve your writing skills.
  • Proofreading Tools: Use online tools like Grammarly or spell checkers to improve the accuracy of your writing.
  • Join Writing Courses: If possible, take English writing courses to receive feedback from experts.
  • Translation and Reflection: Take the time to translate texts from your native language to English and vice versa. This exercise improves your understanding of both languages.
  • Maintain a Diary: Writing a diary in English is an effective way to track your progress and practice writing regularly.
  • English Social Media: Use social media to write posts, comments, and messages in English. This helps you communicate with native speakers and other students.
  • Participate in Writing Contests: Look for English literary contests you can enter. This gives you the opportunity to test your skills.
  • Critical Reading: Read books or articles in English and write a critique. This exercise improves your understanding and your ability to express opinions.
  • Reviewer or Editor: If possible, find someone who can read and correct your English writings. This provides valuable feedback.

Tips for Improving Pronunciation

Accurate pronunciation is crucial for clear communication in English. Here are some tips to enhance your pronunciation and accent:

  • Active Listening: Pay attention to the accent and pronunciation of native speakers. Try to mimic their sounds and intonations.
  • Pronunciation Exercises: Practice specific pronunciation exercises, especially those focusing on challenging sounds or sound combinations.
  • Repetition: Repeat difficult phrases or words after hearing them from native speakers. Repetition helps improve pronunciation.
  • Pronunciation Lessons: Take pronunciation lessons with specialized instructors if possible.
  • Record Yourself: Record your voice while speaking in English and listen to the recording. This helps you identify pronunciation errors.

Resources for Advanced Learning

If you are determined to reach an advanced level of English proficiency, there are various resources and strategies you can use to further enhance your language skills:

  • Advanced Language Courses: Enroll in advanced language courses that offer tailored training to meet your specific needs. These courses usually cover more complex and challenging topics.
  • Advanced Readings: Read advanced novels, essays, and articles. These materials will expand your vocabulary and help you understand more complex subjects.
  • Advanced Conversations: Seek conversation partners or participate in English discussion groups on advanced topics. This will exercise your language skills in more complex contexts.
  • Certification Exams: Prepare for certification exams like TOEFL or IELTS if you wish to demonstrate your advanced English proficiency.
  • Academic Reading and Writing: If you aim to use English for academic purposes, practice academic reading and writing. This includes understanding specialized texts and producing formal written work.
  • Specialized Resources: Look for specialized resources in your field of interest, which might include scientific, legal, or technical texts.
  • Specialized Instructors: Consider lessons with instructors specialized in your field, who can provide targeted training.
  • Authentic Material: Language experts often recommend using authentic materials like news and television programs to enhance advanced English usage.
  • Attend Workshops and Seminars: If possible, attend workshops and seminars in English to gain advanced knowledge.
  • Work or Study Abroad: If you have the opportunity, work or study in an English-speaking country. Total immersion will accelerate your learning.

Reaching an advanced level requires dedication and consistent practice. By using these resources and strategies, you will be able to deepen your knowledge of English significantly.

Practical Applications of English

English is a universal language and can be applied in various contexts. Here’s how you can use English in your everyday life:

  • Traveling: Learning English is a significant advantage when traveling to English-speaking countries or tourist destinations where English is widely understood.
  • Work: Many industries require or appreciate English proficiency. This can enhance your career opportunities.
  • Global Communication: English is often the language used in global communications, including business correspondence and international conferences.
  • Pop Culture: Many forms of pop culture, such as films, music, and TV series, are in English. Knowing the language allows you to better appreciate these art forms.
  • Academically: English is widely used in academic settings. If you study or work in a field that requires English proficiency, you have access to a wide range of resources and research.
  • Interpersonal Relationships: Knowing English enables you to communicate with people from different parts of the world and build international relationships.
  • International Exams: If you need to take international exams for academic or professional purposes, knowledge of English is essential.
  • Volunteering and Working Abroad: If you plan to volunteer or work abroad, English proficiency is often a prerequisite.

English is a skill that opens many doors in everyday life. Whether you are seeking new career opportunities or simply want to explore the world, learning English is an important step.

Online Learning Communities

Online learning communities provide an interactive and collaborative environment to enhance your English language skills. Here’s how you can leverage these communities:

  • Discussion Forums: Participate in English-language discussion forums dedicated to language learning. You can ask questions, share experiences, and learn from other students.
  • Online Study Groups: Join online study groups where students meet virtually to practice English. These groups often organize conversation sessions and shared learning activities.
  • Social Media and Language Apps: Follow pages and groups dedicated to English learning on social media platforms like Facebook and use specialized apps to connect with other students.
  • Language Exchange: Look for online language exchange partners. This allows you to practice English with people who want to learn your native language, creating a mutually beneficial learning environment.
  • YouTube and Educational Podcasts: Many individuals share English lessons, tutorials, and conversations on YouTube and through educational podcasts. These materials can enrich your understanding and provide opportunities for practice.
  • Online Learning Platforms: Use platforms like Duolingo, Babbel, or Rosetta Stone, which offer interactive courses and practice opportunities.
  • Webinars and Online Conferences: Attend webinars and online conferences in English on topics of interest to you. These experiences can improve your listening and comprehension skills.
  • Virtual Collaboration: Virtually collaborate with students from around the world on projects, presentations, or shared learning activities.
  • Online Challenges and Contests: Participate in online challenges and contests related to English to test your skills and compete with other students.

Online learning communities offer a stimulating and diverse environment to enhance your English language skills. Active participation in these spaces can significantly contribute to your learning.

Deep Dive into English Culture and Traditions

Exploring English culture and its traditions can significantly enrich your English language learning. Here are some of the traditions and cultural elements you might delve into:

  • English Holidays: Discover English holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Guy Fawkes Night, and the Queen’s birthday. These celebrations provide a unique opportunity to understand British culture.
  • Theater and Shakespeare: English literature and theater, especially the works of William Shakespeare, have had a lasting impact on global culture. Read or watch performances of his plays.
  • Music and English Bands: Explore British music, from legendary bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to contemporary artists. Music offers immersion in the language and culture.
  • English Cuisine and Drinks: Experience English cuisine, including traditional dishes like roast beef, fish and chips, and pudding. Discover beverages such as tea and English beers.
  • English Sports: Football, cricket, rugby, and tennis are all highly followed sports in England. Follow English sporting events to learn about national passions.
  • Art and Museums: Explore English museums and art galleries, such as the British Museum and the National Gallery, to admire artworks and historical artifacts.
  • English Literature: Read novels and essays by famous English authors like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and George Orwell.
  • Cultural Events: Participate in cultural events like festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions. These occasions allow you to immerse yourself in contemporary English culture.

Deepening your knowledge of English culture and its traditions provides a broader perspective on the language and helps you better understand the context in which it originated and evolved. Culture is an important part of learning any language.