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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this page, we have taken the efforts to answer your frequently asked questions. We have tried our best to give
you as much information as possible precisely and in simple manner. We hope you can make
the best out of these and reap the benefits.

You may appreciate that it is not always possible to provide detailed information for the questions in one place
since there are so many. Even if we do, the use of this page will be useless to most of the users.
We will be happy to provide detailed answers catered for you via emails
should you require.

I am sure, you will have more questions and queries – please feel free to use our enquiry section and ask those.
We will take initiatives to provide appropriate answers for those at the earliest.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why do I need a higher education consultant to study abroad?

A: A good education consultant can help you to choose the right course at the right institution with right directions for
your academic and career progressions. They can provide you one-stop services and save you time,
money and from accidental/wrong decisions. They earn synergic benefits for you
from your investment in the higher education overseas.


Q: How can I apply for admission at a UK University/College with the help of
Total Student Care (TSC)?

A: You may set an appointment to visit our office in person with your original documents or you may email
those or use our ‘Apply Online’ facility on our website.


Q: What is a Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose (SOP)? How can
I write it?

A: Personal Statement is sometimes called Statement of Purpose (SoP) since a personal statement gives clear
statement of your purpose of choosing to study a certain course at certain institution.

Personal Statement as the name suggests is a statement that is very personal to you – related to your past and
current attainments and your future pursuance. Therefore, it cannot be copied from or written by
someone else – on the one hand,it would be public statement and on the other hand,
it may constitute to plagiarism.

Remember, your personal statement is an opportunity for you to tell the selectors why you think you would be
a suitable student for the course you are applying and why the University/College should select
your application over those of other candidates. It is therefore vitally important that
you make this statement as effective as possible.


Q: What is a University and what is a College?

A: Universities often known as Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the UK, are educational institutions of
higher learning and research.

Universities have degree awarding power and grant academic degrees in a wide range of subjects at
undergarduate, postgraduate, research and professional levels.

The UK brand of higher educations have sky-kissing reputation and respect all over the world. Some of
the top universities dominate the world university ranking list every year.

In simple term, colleges are intermediary educational institutions between high school and universities. In the
UK, colleges provide tution to students over the age of 16 in particular subject or skills for qualifications
that are not usually academic degrees but lead to degree courses at universities. Colleges
provide a rich mix of academic and vocational education for international students
starting from academic level 3. Students can follow access course, national
diploma, higher national diploma, foundation degree courses at wide
variety of subjects and progress onto degree courses at universities.


Q: What is a Tier 4 sponsor?

A: A Tier 4 sponsor is an education provider that offers courses of study to full-time students in the UK. To qualify
as a Tier 4 sponsor, education provider must take a licence from the UKVI. If granted, the education
provider is given a licence number which is unique to that education provider. It is a combination
of digits and capital letters. To sponsor Tier 4 students an education provider must
have a valid and appropriate sponsor licence.


Q: What does ‘intake’ mean? How many intakes your universities and
colleges have?

A: For universities/colleges ‘intake’ is the time that they can take you in for a course. Normally, UK universities/
colleges have intakes in January/February and September/October each year. However, some
universities/colleges have April/May, July/August intakes in addition. Students who
required pre-sessional English course might be given earlier start date
to match the main intake.


Q: Can I apply for part-time course and obtain a student visa for the UK?

A: No, international student must take a full-time course to obtain or extend a student visa in the UK.


Q: Do I need to disclose any medical condition I may have in the
application form?

A: Yes, you must disclose this. This will help the University/College to arrange resources for you if you
are offered a place. Severe medical condition or pregnancy that will follow a child birth shortly
may affect your attendance in class – disclosures would allow your University/College
to make correct decision and provide helps and supports effectively.


Q: Do I need to disclose learning difficulties or other disabilities?

A: Yes, you should mention this in your application. Most of the educational institutions in the UK
have policy and procedures for this – they have dedicated resources to help students
with learning difficulties or other disabilities. Your disclosures will allow the
university to allocate those as appropriate and required.


Q: Do I need to disclose any criminal conviction in the application form?

A: Yes, you will have to disclose this – it would help the University/College to follow the correct
procedures to safeguard everybody’s interests.


Q: What is the difference between Conditional Offer and Unconditional Offer?

A: In the Conditional Offer, Universities/Colleges give some conditions that you need to fulfil to be accepted
unconditionally. Once you meet those conditions, they issue Unconditional Offer.


Q: What is a CAS? Do I need to submit it with my visa application?

A: CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. It is a reference, combination of numbers and
letters and issued by UK Government’s Home Office on the request of sponsoring universities/
colleges. Your University/College will provide this to you - you will need the CAS
reference to apply for your student visa. CAS Reference is valid for 6 months
from the issue date. You can use your CAS reference up to
3 months before the course start date.

There is nothing called CAS Letter (The provision of Visa Letter is abolished by Home Office in February
2010). Along with your CAS reference, your University/College will give some information that you
require to apply for visa –this is called CAS Statement. This may be emailed to you or
you may get this from the online portal.

You do not need to submit this with your visa application. So, do not get confused if the CAS reference
and the statement is not printed on the University/College’s letterhead pad (hard copy) and
then posted to you. The CAS reference links to an electronic record on the
Home Office database, they have that information already.


Q: Can I use the CAS reference to study a different course or at different University/College?
Can another student use my CAS reference to apply for his/her study visa?

A: No, CAS reference is generated by UK Home Office for a specific course at specific Tier 4 Sponsor,
University/College – therefore, you can not use it to study a different course or at a different
institution. The CAS reference issued for you is unique to you only – nobody else
can use this for his/her visa application.


Q: What do I do if there is a mistake in the CAS statement? Will I need
another CAS reference?

A: Normally, your Tier 4 sponsor will double-check the information with you by sending a ‘draft’ statement
before the issuance of CAS reference – therefore, the scope of mistake is limited. However, if
there is one, you need to tell them clearly what is it and then they will amend it by
a ‘sponsor note’ and it would be electronically updated in the record of
Home Office.

You do not need another CAS reference unless there are number of gross mistakes which are very unlikely.


Q: When will the University/College arrange the CAS reference for me?
How long does it take to get it?

A: Once you accept the Unconditional Offer and confirm the acceptance of place, pay the fees or make
deposit of fees as mentioned, you can request for the CAS reference. The University/College may
want to see evidence for your maintenance funds and other related financial documents.
Normally, it should not take more than 3 working days for the institution to arrange
for your CAS reference, but in busy period it could take slightly extra time.


Q: How can I pay the fees to University/College?

A: University/College will give the bank details/online link to pay tuition fees – you can pay direct to them.
If you are applying first time for UK study visa from your home country, you may need to take
NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the education ministry or central bank from your
country. We advise you to open a ‘student account’ in the bank you have account
with in your home country – this will help you to bring money from home
country to the UK for future subsequent study fees
and maintenance expenses.


Q: What is ‘term’, ‘term-time’, ‘semester’ & ‘academic year’?

A: A term is a portion of a year and usually there are 3 terms in an academic year e.g. autumn, spring and
summer. Each term is about 3 months long and separated by holidays. A term may or
may not include the assessment period.

Term-time is the time when universities/colleges are open to hold classes for continuous period.

A semester describe two six-monthly periods that divide the academic year into two halves - it includes
term-times, holidays and examination periods. Most of the universities/colleges have 2
semesters in a calendar year and accommodate 3 terms in one academic year.
However, some universities and colleges are conducting
3 semesters in a year.

An academic year is normally 9 months (3 terms) usually calculated from the beginning of the autumn
term (early September) to the end of the summer term (late July). In the UK, educational
institutions usually hold classes for 30-32 weeks in one academic year.


Q: What is ‘work-placement’?

A: Some courses are offered with work-placement. These courses are deigned to place you at work to
enable you gaining practical application of the theoretical knowledge you have attained from
the study. This is part of the learning outcomes and supervised by the course tutor to
make sure you gain the required skills and competency. Courses with
work-placement may potentially give students a head
start of their career on completion.


Q: What is ‘internship’?

A: An internship is a period when students (interns) take ‘on-the-job’ training and work experience related
to their field of study. Some universities offer courses with internship – usually universities avail this
opportunity as per their arrangements with associated employer companies from different
industries to give graduates exposure to the working environment.


Q: What is ‘sandwich degree’?

A: A sandwich degree is a 4 year undergraduate course in which students study 3 years at universities
and undertake a placement or internship for 1 year in the industry. The work-placement/
internship year is taken in between the study (normally after the 2nd year of study).
Since either side of the work-placement/internship is study period (replica of
sandwich: 2 year study+1 year internship+1 year study),
the degree is called sandwich degree.


Q: How many days I will have to attend class per week?

A: You will have to attend at least 15 hours organised daytime (8 am to 6 pm) weekday (Monday to Friday)
class per week. Normally, it is split over 3 to 4 days a week and may vary in accordance with the
course or university’s requirements. You must always maintain at least
80% attendance over the study period.


Q: What are SELT and CEFR?

A; SELT stands for Secured English Language Test – it is used to measure students’ English language
proficiency levels in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

CEFR stands for Common European Framework of Reference for languages. CEFR defines foreign
language proficiency at six levels: A1 and A2, B1 and B2, C1 and C2.

To apply for a study visa in the UK, you may need a SELT with proficiency equivalent to particular
CEFR level which is determined by course level and sometimes entry requirements of
the educational institutions.


Q: What is pre-sessional English course?

A: This is an English course taken prior to the main course designed for international students for academic
purposes. The programmes are designed for international students who does not have the required
level of English proficiency or need to improve their English language proficiency as a
condition of entry to universities. In addition to developing English Language
skills at required level for the main course, these courses help to
develop the necessary cultural and study skills, knowledge
about academic environment and life abroad.


Q: Can I do extra studies in addition to the course I will be studying at my
University/College?

A: Yes, you are allowed to take extra course i.e. evening courses, weekend courses or part-time courses that
do not clash with classes of your main course for which you have obtained your student visa.
You do not need permission from Immigration authority or from your University/College
for this, but you must make sure that the extra study does not hamper your
academic progress as expected of the main course by
your education provider.


Q: What is academic progress?

A: Academic progress is the progress that students make towards successful completion of the academic
requirements of the course in which they are enrolled. To gain academic progress, you will
need to pass the units/modules/subjects required for you to complete the course and
gain the qualification within a reasonable timeframe. If you fail to make
satisfactory academic progress, your University/College may
need to withdraw the sponsorship and report
it to the Immigration Authority.


Disclaimer

The answers are given as guidance and to be viewed strictly as guidance, not as legal or immigration advice.