You want to study at one of the world’s top universities…we can help!
IES University Prep has one goal – to help talented international students apply to study at the world’s top universities. Every step of the way, our team of expert advisors will be there to guide you, from choosing the best universities and courses, the essential preparation that you need to do in order to submit the strongest possible application, writing the Personal Statement, essays or Personal Profile, through to interview preparation and practice. Whether you are aiming for the top UK universities such as Oxford or Cambridge, the Russell Group universities, UK medical schools; the USA’s Ivy League colleges such as Harvard or Yale, or the top universities in Canada, Australia, Asia or Europe, our preparation packages or bespoke concierge service is the best possible route to success.
Alongside the application guidance, we can help you with SAT/ACT test preparation, entrance tests such as BMAT, UCAT, TSA and LNAT, academic tuition, visa support and the practical steps vital to a successful period of overseas study.
Book a FREE consultation to discuss your study plans and how to prepare your applications.
Where do you want to study?
- Our Knowledgebase section will give you lots of information and answer many of your questions – whether you want to study at the top universities in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Europe or Asia.
- Our Courses page will give you information on how we can help you with your study plans. Oxford University, Cambridge University, UK Medical Schools or Design courses, Harvard, Yale or other Ivy League colleges, or the very best universities in Australia, Canada, Europe and Asia – we can help with these and more!
- If you would like to discuss your future study plans then please use our Contact page to arrange a FREE online consultation with our Director of University Services, James Burnett. After the meeting, James will send you a timeline of the preparation you need to do, and advice on how to maximise your chances of getting offers.
- We work closely with international schools and provide help for counsellors, or our team can manage all aspects of a school’s Higher Education applications. Details are on our Schools page.
Popular university destinations
Study at a top university – how to apply
The most popular international destinations for students from Asia are:
These countries make up around 60% of the top 100 universities in world university rankings. Whether you wish to study at one of the USA Ivy League colleges, or to study at UK university such as Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial or one of the medical schools; or a top university in Australia or Canada, there are far more applicants than places available and unless students or their counsellors understand exactly what these top universities are looking for from an application they are less likely to be successful.
Preparation is the key to getting a place to study, whether it is getting university Personal Statement help or preparing for university interviews, the more time spent on preparation and the earlier students start, the better their chances.
How to study at a top university
For international university applications, particularly those at a top university (by top university we generally mean one that is in the world top 100), in whichever country, the starting point is to find out what the academic requirements are – what A level, IB or similar grades/scores are required, what GPA is expected, or which subjects need to be studied. Universities will indicate what their academic requirements are on their websites or prospectuses, and it is important to ensure that an application is not wasted by applying with grades/scores that are not high enough.
University Personal Statement and application essay help
For applications to the top UK universities, such as Oxford or Cambridge (“Oxbridge”), Imperial College, The London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL), King’s College London, St Andrew’s, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, if the academic grades/scores are good enough then the university will look at the Personal Statement. A UK Personal Statement is how a student shows the university that he/she is suitable for the course that they have applied for. At a top UK university, students specialise from day 1 – on an economics degree course, they study economics from the start of the course, on an architecture degree course the focus is on architecture right from the start. This differs from the USA system where students do not choose a major until at least a year into the degree course. So the Personal Statement needs to focus on the course.
In order to write an effective Personal Statement, you need to have done lots of preparation. A good Personal Statement will include details of any reading you have done about the subject, online resources you have used to find out more, internships, work experience or voluntary work that you have done to find out more about the practicalities or personal qualities required, holiday courses or projects. To ensure that you have enough to write about, preparation should start at least 6 months before you apply. Some subjects have very strict requirements about the sort of preparation they ask for. For example, if you want to apply for Medicine or Dentistry you need to have done lots of voluntary work to show that you understand the demands of a medically-related career and that you have the right levels of empathy and communication skills. If you want to be an architect or a designer you need a portfolio of your own art or design ideas to demonstrate your creativity.
- Preparation you have done to find out about the course, e.g background reading, online resources, specialist magazines, work experience (or internships), relevant courses (Summer courses, for example), voluntary work.
- Your IB/A level subjects and why they are relevant to the course.
- Future plans, such as career or further study.
- Achievements or activities that show evidence of your personal qualities
It is really important that students get help in writing their Personal Statements as this is what the top universities use to decide which of the many applicants they can offer places to.
Students applying for the top universities in the USA, such as the Ivy League colleges (which includes Harvard and Yale) have to write a series of essays. An essay chosen from a selection of “prompts” in the online Common Application, and then a further set of essays set by the individual colleges. Again, for an Ivy League application (and for the other top US universities such as MIT, Stanford, CalTech etc) getting help with the essays is vital. As students do not choose a major at the start of their degree courses at the Ivy League colleges and the other top US universities, the essays are very different from those required by the top UK universities – they focus much more on the student’s personal qualities, achievements, goals and what they can bring to the university community.
The top universities in Australia and Canada may also require Personal Statements or essays. These vary from university to university.
Preparing for the university interview
UK university interviews
The top UK universities often require students to have an interview, so preparing for the university interview is important. In particular, the UK medical schools and the Oxbridge universities have very demanding interviews, so Oxbridge interview preparation is essential. In a Cambridge University interview, for example, students may be asked to discuss academic topics that are new to them. This is not a test of their knowledge but to find out more about their problem-solving skills and their ability think creatively rather than just to memorise factual information. Students are less likely to be interviewed for places at the top USA, Australia or Canada universities although it does vary from university to university. However, for USA applications, the top universities encourage students to have lots of contact with them before they apply so that the universities get to know all about the student prior to the application.
The purpose of the interview is to find out more about you, assess your communication skills, knowledge of the course or subject and, for the top universities, to get an idea of your thinking or problem-solving skills. The main areas that interviews generally cover are questions about your Personal Statement to get more detail, about your reasons for choosing the university or course, and some form of subject-related problem-solving or analysis. For a science or engineering interview you may be given a question about something that is new to you, which might be more advanced than you have been taught at school. They are not particularly interested in whether you know the answer, more about how you approach the problem. For a Medicine interview, they may ask you about current global medical issues or give you a scenario where you are a doctor and ask how you would deal with a particular situation. Again, what they are looking at is how you respond, not
whether you know the answer. Interview formats vary from university to university, so you need to find out exactly what will be required well in advance, and then have practice interviews.
- Successful international university applications require lots of preparation.
- Getting into a top university requires a combination of a high level of academic achievement, an excellent Personal Statement or essays and, sometimes, an interview.
- Getting university Personal Statement help and preparing for a university interview is vital.
- For an Oxbridge application (Oxford or Cambridge Universities) or any Ivy League application (and to the other top US universities), the earlier the planning starts the more successful a candidate is likely to be.