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Thursday, 16 August 2007

Universities in the UK (BBC)

A university graduate


Universities in Britain are a magnet for overseas students. There are currently over 200,000 from outside Britain studying at British universities. The largest single group is Chinese students. There are currently 50,000 in the UK. The British government expects the total number of overseas students to be around 900,000 by 2020, and also thinks that a quarter of these will be Chinese.

But why is the UK such a popular destination for university students? Well, the quality of your course is guaranteed. All courses are assessed by an independent system, so you can be assured that your course is officially approved and has wide international recognition.

The British education system is very flexible in order to provide for the needs of a modern, complex society. It is also cost-effective. Degree courses are usually shorter and more intensive than in other countries. There are lots of scholarships available. You normally need 3 A-levels, which are the exams taken by people leaving school at 18, in order to enter an undergraduate degree course. You also need an IELTS score of at least 5.5, but many universities offer foundation or access courses to prepare students for their studies.

British universities offer a personalised but independent approach. The emphasis is on creative and independent thought, which helps develop the skills you will need to compete in the global job market. Tutors not only teach but also provide support and guidance. As a result, international students have a very low drop out rate and a very high pass rate.

It is very simple to become an international student in the UK. The British Council offers a free and impartial service to anyone who is interested in studying in the UK, and an organisation called UCAS assists you in finding a course and making an effective application.

The UK is a dynamic and cosmopolitan place. The countryside is beautiful, and the theatres, museums, architecture and rich history make it a fascinating place to live and study. Why not give it a go?

Vocabulary

magnet
a thing that attracts (literally, a piece of metal that attracts or repels iron)

overseas
coming from abroad, foreign

guaranteed
promised and assured

assessed
evaluated, ranked

recognition
accepting that something (e.g. a course) is of high quality

cost-effective
here, provides good education for not too much money

degree
here, providing further education

scholarships
payments from a sponsor's funds to maintain a good student in full-time education

IELTS
short for International English Language Testing System. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking

foundation
here, basic, preparatory

personalised
focused on individual students

emphasis
special importance

global job market
jobs that are open to people all over the world

guidance
help and direction

drop out
when you have to stop your university studies before you have completed your course

pass rate
marks that you need to get in order to begin/continue to study at a university

impartial
fair, unbiased

dynamic
where a lot happens and changes happen quite often

cosmopolitan
including people of many different backgrounds

fascinating
very interesting, irresistibly attractive

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