K M Enayet Hossain
26 October, 2022

7 min read


Supporting documents guide for university applications

Know your supporting documents required for university applications as an international student, provide these in time and get your offer letters successfully.

Our website has a guide about documents and information requirements from international students for UK university applications in ‘How to apply for university admission’  and other guide articles for specific nationals in our ‘Student Guides’ section. This article ‘Supporting documents guide for university applications’ is to supplement and complement those guides and provide additional advice on providing correct documents in correct format to create maximum chance of offer letters in comparatively quicker time. 


Supporting document: CV

CV for university admission and CV for job application are different – the structure and content presentations of academic CV are purpose-designed for admission and the contents support other admission documents submitted with the application. Hence, it is very important to write a unique CV for the purpose, you can use our online tools Build your personalised CV  for university admission' free of charge and get yours done for university application. It is absolutely crucial that you must submit CV only with up-to-date information. 


DOs on the CV

  • Provide your name as per your passport
  • Provide a correct email address - make sure it is active and you have access to it
  • Provide email address that has at least one of your names (first/middle/last) name in it
  • Provide phone number with international dialling code, do not assume admission officers know it or do not make them search for it
  • Provide current contact address with complete information i.e. with house/street name and number, city name, postal code and country name
  • Provide start dates & end dates of studies, trainings, employments etc. in day/month/year format
  • Provide duration of study gap in day/month/year format and give reason/s for gaps
  • Check spelling for grammatical errors


DON’Ts on the CV

  • Provide abbreviated names or nickname or name that do not match passport name
  • Provide email address that does not have your name in it or have fancy/funky words i.e. loverboy@gmail.com /messageme@yahoo.com etc.
  • Use abbreviated forms i.e. for course you studied, university names etc.
  • Lie on the CV
  • Use incorrect grammar
  • Use your photo
  • Provide information about height, weight and blood group
  • Write it in language other than English


Supporting document: Academic

If you do not submit the correct and required educational documents in acceptable format, your application may be considered incomplete and could be rejected. Please submit clear legible copies of each document required. PDF format is preferable; you may also submit jpg or png format documents. However, image/photo taken with your hand/toe visible, bed-sheet in the background, part of the document is folded, shaded grey/black, blurred, corners cut etc. give very bad image about your personality as a student and may affect your application negatively. You do not need to be a great photographer to take good images of your documents, just use 25% of your selfie taking skills! If you want to scan your documents and do not have your own scanner, you can obviously go to a shop that has scanner to scan your documents.  You may also wish to install camScanner app on your mobile phone to scan your documents 


DOs for academic documents 

  • Name each document as per its type e.g. Passport, Bachelor’s Certificate. It is better to add your first name to it i.e. John-Passport
  • Provide translated copy by professional translator along with the original one if your document is not in English
  • Reduce/compress size of the document if it is too big (for a single document, some application portal accept maximum 2MB while some portal accept only 1MB). You may wish to use the free app ILOVEPDF to compress documents (and for other tasks too)
  • If a document such as a transcript is more than one page long, it should be scanned as one file, eg a single PDF.
  • Additional documents/information if documents verification is required i.e. Scratch Card to check WAEC qualification


DON’Ts for academic documents

  • Send documents named as image.001, pdf16 etc. or documents named with incorrect spelling i.e. ‘Reference Letter’ named as ‘Reference Latter’
  • Documents with validity date expired i.e. passport, English test certificate etc.
  • Documents without an issue date i.e. academic reference letter, degree award confirmation letter etc.
  • Documents that are password protected or encrypted
  • Additional documents irrelevant to the course you are applying


Qualification certificates 

In some countries universities issue the main certificates after a few years and they give a ‘provisional’ certificate to graduates meanwhile. But UKVI do not accept ‘provisional’ certificates for degrees and hence universities will not accept these too. If you are a student with this situation, you should collect an ‘award confirmation letter’ along with Official academic transcript for the qualification and submit both these documents to universities. 


Official academic transcript 

A transcript is a summary of a student's academic performance and progress to date. It lists the modules taken during each academic year, and the marks obtained in each module. An Academic Transcript can also be known as an Academic Record, Diploma Supplement or Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR),  there are no difference between these terms; they are the same document - Marks Sheet/certificates issued in some countries are not considered as academic transcript and generally not accepted for admission. 

Official Academic Transcript is the official record of your study printed on university transcript paper. You must submit an official academic transcript with your admission application. Unofficial copy of academic transcript i.e. screenshot taken from student portal, transcript water-marked as ‘student copy’ etc. are not official and won’t be accepted.  


Supporting document: change of name 

If you have changed your name recently and your name appear differently than it appeared on your previous documents, then make sure to submit documentary evidences to justify the reason for the changes i.e. with a marriage certificate/change of name deed/affidavit/birth certificate/ certificate of naturalisation or registration/ adoption order/certificate etc. 


Supporting document: errors in name

If you find errors in your name on your certificates and transcripts and it is different on your passport and birth certificate, then get the errors amended to make sure all documents showing the same name of yours. Sometimes a statutory declaration or affidavit may be sufficient to resolve the issue but if the discrepancies are varied on different documents then you may need to overhaul a few things and get the common name you want on each document.  


Supporting document: other 

  • Personal statement: make sure to submit a plagiarism free well-written personal statement. This is a mandatory document with a very few exceptions
  • Academic reference letters: you will need to provide 2 academic reference letters on university letterhead paper, signed by the referee with name and contact details, issued within last 2 years
  • Research proposal: normally you will need to submit a original research proposal if you are applying for a PhD course
  • Portfolio: For some practice based courses you will need to provide a portfolio of your earlier works with your application. Please check the entry requirements section of the course you are applying to find out if you need this
  • Registration/membership confirmation documents: for specific courses, you will need to provide registration/membership confirmation document i.e. ACCA registration, Inns membership, registration confirmation in nursing council etc.


Supporting document: previous visa and visa refusal 

  • Visa refusal letter: you must provide copies of visa refusal letter/s or information of visa refusals (if they did not issue any letter) for any country under any category (i.e. student, visit, settlement, work)
  • Visa copies: you should proactively provide information and document of any past visa (i.e. study, visit, work etc.) to your destination country or other country on your admission application
  • Arrival stamp: you will need to provide passport page stamped and dated by immigration authority on your arrival to your home country from abroad


Offer letters get delayed or applications get rejected when students do not provide sufficient documents or documents are not legible, documents are outdate, format and presentation look awful and so on. You should be mindful that university admission officers are human being like any of us, presenting right documents nicely to them makes their tasks simple and pleasant and they consider your application without negative impression at the outset. If you send insufficient documents with messy presentation and incomplete information, then admission officers are likely to keep your application aside or reject it outright out of dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is vital for you to provide the supporting documents for university applications correctly and in time to avoid disappointment.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s

QDo I need to submit all documents at the time of application to the University?

A It is good to have all documents ready at the time of your university application. However, if you do not have all of these, then you can submit the remaining documents later via application portal or email. Make sure to provide all necessary documents before the application deadline.

Q Do universities need my original educational documents?

A Universities do not require your hard copies of educational documents with your admission application. However, they will ask for these at the time of your registration after you arrive at the university with successful student visa.

Q Do I need to attest/certify my documents before sending to university for admission?

A No, you do not need to attest your documents as you will be submitting copies scanned/photographed from the original official versions.

If you are an international student and are required to post your documentation to the University, you may keep your original documents to be used for a visa application and submit certified copies. A certified copy is approved as a true copy by a relevant authority. You can ask your university, your local British Council, a solicitor or another professional person to certify documents for you.

Q How to apply if my current study result is pending?

A If you're still registered for your current course, or your undergraduate or postgraduate results are still pending, please provide an attested copy of interim transcript of your results to date with your application. University will make you an offer with condition of submission of final transcript showing required grades and level.

Q I am confused about application supporting documents and filling up application, where can get help?

A Total Student Care (TSC) is an official international education agent – our team of expert education counsellors will be happy to help and support you through the application process with error-free application to university,contact us today to start your prospective higher study journey abroad

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