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The Ultimate Guide To Applying To Universities Around The World

university guide for institutes around the world
LearnPost Category - LearnLearn

Everything you need to know before you make this important life decision.

Choosing a university can feel overwhelming, especially with the amount of options that are available around the globe. What subject a teen takes in university can help shape their adult life based on what they study and where they choose to partake in that study, so it’s no wonder it feels like a daunting task for both parents and teens. Even once you’ve homed in on a spot, the application process for visas and the tuition itself can also seem like a lot to work through, especially with the added stress of COVID-19.

If you aren’t sure where to start, look no further – this will help you work out how to apply to and get accepted into some of the top colleges across the globe (including right here in Hong Kong!). Let your teen go through this university guide, complete with application guidelines, general tuition fees, and where he or she can for professional assistance, so together you can make the best choice for their education.

Jump to:
University Guide For The UK
University Guide For The US
University Guide For Canada
University Guide For Australia
University Guide For Hong Kong

Read more: Financial Planning For University And College Education

university guide for UK

University Guide For The UK

The United Kingdom is home to some of the oldest and most reputable universities in the world and is a great place to live. While you need to have a major in mind when you apply for universities in the UK, applying is straight forward as it is all done through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) no matter where you’re applying. You also have to option to apply for residency after your studies and can work part-time with a tier 4 visa.

If you plan to apply for your undergraduate degree in the UK, these are the points you need to consider:

Educational Qualifications

You will need one of the following:

  • Completed Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma

Universities may also have grade requirements and expectations for entry as well as an English proficiency test for non-native speakers. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the generally accepted English tests.

What Will It Cost?

International tuition fees vary considerably depending on the programme and university attended and can be anywhere between £10,000 and £50,000 a year (that’s approximately $100,000 to $500,000 in HKD). Government financial aid is limited to UK citizens or EU residences and varies based on what part of the UK you will be attending your schooling. Some universities offer aid for a select number of international students which can be applied for at the time of application and you can also check online to see what is also available globally.

When Should You Apply?

Since some university programmes require testing, pre-sessional programmes, and or/interviews, it’s best to start looking at least a year in advance so you can start applying and register for any possible exams/programmes in the spring and autumn. Deadlines for applications and exam results are between late September to mid-January.

Top Universities In The UK

University of Oxford – Chances are you’ve heard of Oxford, as it is a famed university that is the second oldest in the entire world with a variety of big names as alumni and graduates. Oxford is a city not too far from London. Oxford is the best performing school in the UK with notable majors in philosophy, English language and literature as well as linguistics and geography.

Imperial College London – If you want to get into science, medicine, engineering or business, then you should look at applying to the Imperial College as it is a top-ranking university in these areas. Located in central London, it’s a prime location for seeing everything that London has to offer while working on a degree.

University of Cambridge – 25% of the undergraduate students at Cambridge are international students, making this a diverse and welcoming school. Located about 90 minutes away from London, Cambridge University is also one of the UK’s oldest university. A degree in maths, linguistics or history is good ways to go if you’re looking at attending Cambridge.

Application Process For The UK

Some programmes require you to sit in an exam, pre-sessional programme, and/or interview as part of your application. They need to be registered for and taken in the spring to early fall.

You will need to prove your finances to get approved for a student visa, which will be the first year of your tuition plus an additional £1,200 as well as possible health surcharge so that you can access the UK’s health system if needed. Undergraduate studies will need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) visa that costs £348. You can start applying for the CAS three months before your studies begin.

If you want someone to guide you further while applying to your preferred UK university, you can reach out to an educational consultant:

Campion College Consultancy, 1102 Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Ave, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 9047 2790, [email protected],

Read more: 6 Things You Need To Consider For Your Teenager’s UCAS Application

university guide for the us stanford

University Guide For The US

The US is the world’s most popular country for international study and with some of the world’s best universities and with more options for financial aid than other countries, the US can be an affordable option for quality education. The US is flexible with programme selection and gives students two years to decide on a major for a degree giving a high level of autonomy to explore and learn a variety of subjects. It is important to note that international students can only apply to universities and programmes that are accredited by Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), so be sure to check that the university that you’re applying for is on SEVP’s list.

If you plan to apply for your undergraduate degree in the US, these are the points you need to consider:

Educational Qualifications

 In general, you will need:

  • Completed ACT or SAT and one of the following:
    • IGCSE, AS, and A-Level curriculums
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Completed Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

Universities may also have grade requirements and expectations for entry as well as an English proficiency test for non-native speakers. TOEFL is one of the most generally accepted English tests.

What Will It Cost?

A top-end university in the US easily costs around $60,000 USD a year (that’s approximately $465,000 in HKD) excluding the costs of books, supplies and cost of living. However, on average, the cost of tuition in the US is around USD $27,000 a year. This also doesn’t include the costs of living, applications, tests, books, supplies, immigrations fees and fees to the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The cost of living also varies greatly in the US, depending on location.

Financial aid is more accessible for international students than in Canada, the UK or Australia, which can greatly help reduce the cost. Check the with the university before applying about what is available in terms of financial aid.

When Should You Apply?

You’ll likely need to prepare more than a year in advance for the US, with most universities accepting applications with early to regular deadlines between October and January.

Top Universities In The US

Stanford UniversityEstablished in 1885 and located in Stanford, California, it is one of the world’s leading universities. It has a notoriously difficult acceptance rate but is associated with prestigious alumni and graduate. Stanford’s most popular majors are in computer and information sciences as well as engineering, and biology.

Harvard University ­An Ivy League school, Harvard was established in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is the oldest universities in the US as well as one of the most notable. Harvard, while difficult to get into, offers some of the best financial aid and teachers in the country for its students making it worth applying for. Harvard offers a wide of array of clubs, sports and extracurricular activities too. The most popular majors at Harvard are in the social sciences, mathematics and biological sciences.

The University of Chicago Located near Hyde Park, the University of Chicago is popular and highly ranked. Before becoming president, Barak Obama taught law at this university giving you an idea of the calibre of teachers it has. It also has a few global university centres, with one located here in Hong Kong. Economic, mathematics, biology and social sciences are some of its top majors.

Application Process For The US

Give yourself lots of time if you’re applying in the US as it is a lengthy process. Schools will require a complete application (Common, Coalition or Universal College application of which all universities in the US use) with an application fee (approximately $75 to $90 USD with some schools offering financial assistance with the fee), school transcripts, as well as your ACT or SAT results. These two tests are specific to the US and will need to be taken regardless of your international education, though some are waiving this requirement during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some schools also require a letter of recommendation from teachers or a counsellor, mid-year transcripts, course prerequisites, further testing upon acceptance, or a school report. Extra-curricular activities, volunteering, and other items displaying quality of character may also be helpful in your applications.

If English is not your first language, depending on the school, you may or may not be required to take a proficiency test though it will likely be a requirement for your visa so you’re strongly encouraged to take an exam.

Once accepted, you will need to apply for a student visa which can be done online for $160 USD. Further, you will also likely have to take part in an interview at the US Consulate in Hong Kong.

If you are interested in more information, you can reach out to an educational consultant:

Apply Ivy, 138 Queen’s Road Central, 11th Floor, V Huen Building, Central, Hong Kong, 6773 9744, [email protected],

Read more: Applying to University: How A Hong Kong Kid Decided Between The US And UK System

university guide for canada

University Guide For Canada

Not only is Canada beautiful it is also home to some of the world’s best higher education facilities. Many students and families from Hong Kong call Canada their second home making it a more comfortable move. Further, most Canadian universities are more flexible if you have a change of heart with your major in comparison to the UK or Australia. As an international student, you are also able to work part-time during your stay and have the possibility to apply for residency once your education is finished.

If you plan to apply for your undergraduate degree in Canada, you will need:

Educational Qualifications

One of the following:

  • Completed Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma

Depending on the university and area of study a minimum grade required and may also have specific course prerequisites.

Some schools in Canada will require an English proficiency test based purely on the location you’re applying from, while others will allow exemptions if you can show that English is the language you’ve been educated in and or speak at home.

Examples of some generally accepted language proficiency tests include the Cambridge Assessment English (C1: Advanced or C2: Proficiency), International Baccalaureate English, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

What Will It Cost?

International students in Canada can expect to can pay upwards of around $30,000 to $60,000 CAD (that’s approximately $176,000 to $352,000 HKD) a year, without including the cost of living, books, supplies, fees etc. Cost of living varies by location within Canada with major cities like Vancouver and Toronto rivalling that of Hong Kong in terms of rental fees and home availability outside of campus.

Most universities offer on and off-campus living arrangements that are affordable and not all universities in Canada are that expensive. On average, international students spend about $27,000 CAD a year for tuition. In Canada, government financial aid options are limited to Canadian residents but check online to see what might be available for you globally.

When Should You Apply?

You’ll need to prepare to apply about a year in advance, with most universities accepting applications in late September with deadlines ranging from November to mid-January.

Top Universities in Canada:

The University of Toronto (UofT) – Toronto is Canada’s biggest city and UofT is one Canada’s and the world’s top universities. UofT is a reputed for medicine and pharmacy, as well as English literature, linguistics, library information sciences, and other social sciences as well as computer science and biological sciences.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) – The main campus is located in Vancouver, which is home to a large community of Hong Kongers. UBC is top ranking in the subjects of education, forestry, geography, biodiversity and conservation as well as international relations.

McGill University – Located in Montreal, one of Canada’s oldest cities, Montreal is a major cultural hub in Canada with plenty of diversity and delicious food. While the university is taught in English, the city of Montreal’s residences are mostly bilingual and will use English and French interchangeably. McGill is top-ranking highly in the subjects of engineering, anatomy and physiology, library and information management, medicine and biological sciences.

Application Process For Canada

Most universities require the submittal of an application, often unique to each university, with a non-refundable fee (around CAD $90 to $200) along with educational transcripts. Some universities also require subject-specific prerequisites, a personal profile or statement of interest, or other supplementary documentation depending on the program you’re applying for.

Upon acceptance, you will then need to apply for a study permit which can be done online. To study within the province of Quebec you’ll also need a Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec (CAQ). Proof of finances will be assessed for your permit to ensure that you have enough money for fees and living expenses, which is around CAD $11,000 per school year.

If you are interested in more information, you can reach out to an educational consultant:

Esquire Canada Immigration and Education, Unit 907, 9/F, Silvercord Tower 2, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2892 7674, [email protected],

Read more: 5 Tips To Help You Adapt To An Empty Nest

university guide to australia

University Guide For Australia

Known for its beaches and wild animals, Australia is also home to some of the world’s best higher education. Similar to the UK, Australia wants you to select your courses before you begin your studies, however, you can also choose to apply to different courses at one or many universities. If necessary, get someone to guide you as it is important to choose what you want as you may not be able to swap and some states also limit the number of universities you can apply to. Like Canada, each university has its own application process meaning that it will take a bit more work to apply to more than one university. Also like Canada and the UK, you are also eligible to work during your studies while tuition fees are generally lower than the UK and US but comparable to Canada for international students.

If you plan to apply for your undergraduate degree in Australia, you will need:

Educational Qualifications

One of the following:

  • Completed Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma

Universities may also have grade requirements and expectations for entry as well as an English proficiency test for non-native speakers. IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE Academic are some generally accepted tests.

What Will It Cost?

On average, international students pay around $31,000 AUD per year (approximately $176,000 in HKD), however, some programs can upwards of $80,000 AUD per year. This is also excluding the cost of living (which can be high in Australia), books, supplies, fees etc. While government financial aid isn’t available, many universities have great scholarships available to international students. Some, but not all, universities in Australia charge a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) per term in which the rate is determined by the government every year but is generally around $150 AUD.

When Should You Apply?

Mid-October to late December for the beginning of term but many Australian universities also have the option of applying mid-year, meaning that deadlines may vary throughout the year.

Top Universities In Australia

The University of SydneyThe University of Sydney consistently places as one of the world’s top universities and has a large international student body. It’s also a great option if you’re looking to take oncology, veterinary science, management, and even the humanities and performing arts.

The University of MelbourneLocated in the heart of Melbourne, this university offers a robust student experience both culturally and academically and has been touted as the most prestigious university in Australia. Psychology, microbiology and arts and humanities are some of its top-ranking subjects.

Australian National University (ANU) – Located in Canberra, the capital of Australia, and is known for its students’ satisfaction and employability. If you’re looking to do a degree in medicine, biology or environment, you should consider ANU.

Application Process

Apply with and pay the fee (usually around $100 to $125 AUD), along with your diploma, and educational transcripts.

You may have to take an English proficiency test if your native language isn’t English and with some schools requiring it on a location basis. The most popular tests, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc. are generally accepted. Some schools are also accepting the Duolingo English Test amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once you have confirmation of employment you will need to get a student visa which can take up to 4 weeks to process, so give yourself lots of time. The visa costs around $550 AUD and you will require proof of your finances to cover return airfare, tuition costs and cost of living. An interview may be required in some instances.

After graduation, you can apply for the Skilled Independent Visa to start your way in becoming a permanent resident.

If you are interested in more information, you can reach out to an educational consultant:

IDP Education Hong KongRoom 2807-09, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2827 6362, [email protected]

Read more: Skills That Our Children Will Need In 10 Years’ Time

university guide to hong kong

University Guide For Hong Kong

You don’t have to leave home to get a good education! Hong Kong is also home to some of its own world-class higher education facilities. What’s more, you could also be saving yourself some hefty international fees. If you’ve received your HKDSE, it is also straightforward to apply to universities in Hong Kong through the Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS).

If you plan to apply for your undergraduate degree in Hong Kong, you will need:

Educational Qualifications

One of the following:

  • Completed Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma

Most universities teach in English in Hong Kong, with a few exceptions, but depending on your programme you may need to prove proficiency in Chinese if it is an area of your study.

What Will This Cost You?

Tuition is around $42,100 per year with lots of options for funding. One of the big options comes from the Hong Kong government with Tertiary Student Finance Scheme that is available to local students in the form of grants or loans. Universities may also have additional funding that you can apply for. The government also offers a variety of scholarships that you can apply for as well.

When Should You Apply?

You’re generally advised to looking about a year in advance, with most universities having deadlines between October and December.

Top Universities In Hong Kong

University of Hong Kong (HKU)HKU is Hong Kong’s oldest university having opened in 1910 with its aim at being an English-speaking university for China. It has since become one of Asia’s top universities (also the world’s) and remains the only English-medium, research-led, comprehensive university in China. HKU is a very diverse school with a very large international student base. HKU has a very reputable dentistry programme and is also known for its education and civil engineering courses.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)If you’re looking to major in science, technology, engineering, management or business studies, then HKUST might be the right school for you. Established in 1991, HKUST quickly established and is becoming one of the fastest-growing universities in the world. It is a top-ranking university in the world and in Asia, with its science programmes and graduates’ employability. HKUST also has a rich student life and is located near the beautiful Clearwater Bay.

Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)CUHK was founded in 1963, and is the only university in Hong Kong that adopts a colligate system, meaning that the university is made up of communities with their own hostels, dining halls and other facilities. CUHK is also a highly ranked university in both Asia and the world. While English is generally the main medium of instruction, bilingualism is strong at CUHK, giving the university a unique advantage in the university’s atmosphere as well as in studies on cultures and languages. The university has research priorities in China studies, translational biomedicine, information and automation technology and environment and sustainability, making this school ideal if you’re interested in these areas.

Application Process

If you have your HKDSE or will be getting it, you can use the JUPAS system to apply for universities in Hong Kong. If you have an IB though, local or not, you will need to apply directly to the universities individually. You’ll also often need to submit a personal statement, resume, test scores, and/or a reference letter. Interviews may also be conducted, depending on the university. Applications fees for Hong Kong universities are around $300 to $450.

If you need a more detailed guide to Hong Kong universities, you can reach out to an educational consultant:

ITS Education, 4/F, BOC Group Life Assurance Tower, 134-136 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2116 3916, [email protected],

Read more: University Applications: Thinking Outside The Box

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of Naassom Azevedo via Unsplash, image 2 courtesy of Jason Leung via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels, image 4 courtesy of Charles DeLoye via Unsplash, image 6 courtesy of  Abby Chung via Pexels.

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