Six Common Mistakes UK International Students Make!

six common mistakes uk international students make

As an international student planning to pursue education in the UK, the transition to a new academic and cultural environment can be challenging. Amidst the excitement of going ahead for a diverse educational experience, there are chances of missing out on some important things to consider while moving to a new country. Thus, this guide aims to shed light on six common mistakes UK international students make and strategies to avoid them.

Common MistakesWays to Avoid
Inadequate planning for university applicationsStart research and application process early, at least a year before intended start date
Applying for the wrong student visaUnderstand the difference between Temporary Study Permit Visa and Student Visa, and apply accordingly
Not applying for scholarships and relying on self-fundingResearch and apply for available scholarships like Chevening, Commonwealth, Sussex India, Rhodes, and GREAT Scholarships
Not planning accommodation in advanceBook student accommodation well in advance
Not packing carefullyAvoid overpacking or underpacking, research airline baggage allowances and fees
Language and cultural barriersFamiliarize with British accent, have an open-minded approach, immerse in local culture

Inadequate Planning For University Applications

Not shortlisting and planning to apply to the universities in the UK of your preference in advance is one of the biggest mistakes made by international students aspiring to study in the country.

  •  The application process for UK universities can be time-sensitive and demanding. Prospective students should begin their research and application process as early as possible, normally a year before their intended start date.
  • The application window for undergraduate courses through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) opens in September and closes in late June, with different deadlines for different courses. However, it is always a smart idea to submit applications as early as possible, especially for highly competitive programmes.
  • English language proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL often have specific registration deadlines and test dates. Thus, being aware of the deadlines and planning is essential in avoiding last-minute stress and complications.

Applying For The Wrong Student Visa

To study abroad in the UK, any international student needs to apply for a visa. Many individuals are unaware that there are two different kinds of student visas for the UK: 

  • Temporary Study Permit Visa: This is the best option for students who wish to participate in a quick language course or research project as part of their degree programme because it is offered for either six or eleven months. 
  • Visa For Students: This was formerly known as the Tier 4 General student visa, and it is required if you wish to enrol in college to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree. 

As an international student residing outside the United Kingdom, you can submit your application up to six months before the commencement of your desired course. In this case, you can expect to receive a decision on your application within three weeks.

Not Applying For Scholarships And Relying On Self-Funding

One of the most common mistakes that international students make while planning to pursue their education in the UK is not researching and applying for scholarships. The cost of education and living expenses in the country can be essentially high thereby creating a huge financial burden. 

  • There are many university-specific scholarships too which you can avail of while applying to the university. Several prestigious universities in the UK, such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), actively participate in these scholarship programmes.

Not Planning Accommodation In Advance

Accommodation is one of the major concerns while planning to study abroad. Failure to plan student accommodation in advance can lead to unnecessary stress, frustration, and even compromises on living conditions. 

  • Many universities offer on-campus housing options, but availability is limited, and these spaces are typically allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Similarly, leaving accommodation planning until the last minute can result in higher costs, limited choices and lengthy commutes to campus. 
  • Opt for purpose-built student accommodations as those available through UniAcco. These properties are stacked with a wide array of contemporary amenities to align with the preferences of young learners.
  • Additionally, UniAcco also offers a “No Visa, No Pay” facility which means that if students booked their accommodation before receiving their visa but were unable to secure a visa to study abroad, their money will be repaid in full. 

Not Packing Carefully

While moving to a different country, there is a comprehensive list of things that you will need to carry with you that will be needed. 

  • However, one of the major six common mistakes UK international students make is overpacking, as students often bring excessive clothing, books, and personal items, resulting in heavy luggage. 
  • Similarly, underpacking essentials like warm clothing, rain gear, and adapters for electrical appliances is another major concern.
  • Another frequent mistake is failing to research airline baggage allowances and fees, leading to unexpected charges at the airport.

Language And Knowledge Barriers

Adapting to a new culture that is different from your home country can seem to be challenging. However, with an open-minded approach and curiosity to learn, these difficulties can be handled easily.

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone, and socialising with peers and university resources can help tackle language barriers.
  • The academic environment and the teaching methods in classes will be different in the UK. Thus, it is important to familiarise yourself with the British accent for language proficiency.
  • Not immersing yourself in the local culture and resistance to adapting to the change in the overall environment can become a roadblock to your academic success. 

Thus, avoiding these six common mistakes UK international students make while going ahead for their academic pursuits, it is imperative to be prepared in advance and have a strategic planning for your study abroad journey. This not only saves unwanted troubles but also contributes towards your academic success in the UK.


What problems do international students in the UK face?

Common issues that international students normally face while studying abroad in the UK include financial planning, accommodation, confusion about things to pack, language barriers and adapting to a new culture.

What is one of the biggest mistakes international students make when applying to UK universities?

Inadequate planning for university applications, missing deadlines, and not preparing for required exams is one of the biggest challenges international students face.

Why is it important for international students to apply for scholarships?

Applying for scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden and help fund their education in the UK. Scholarships like Chevening Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, Sussex India Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarships, GREAT Scholarships and many more are available to offer financial aid to deserving students from around the world.

What is a common packing mistake made by international students moving to the UK?

Overpacking or underpacking essentials, not researching airline baggage allowances, and not documenting valuable items properly.

How can international students overcome language and cultural barriers in the UK?

Being familiar with the British accent well in advance, having an open-minded approach and immersing yourself in the local culture will help international students in overcoming language and cultural barriers in the UK. 

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six common mistakes uk international students make

Six Common Mistakes UK International Students Make!

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