One of the top universities in the world, University of Liverpool, is welcoming applicants from Estonia. Here you can read an interview with the university recruitment officer, who just recently visited Estonia and encouraged all the ambitious students to send their application.
Jay-Louise, you are representing an university that belongs to the top 1% in the world. However, you will find time to come to our little Estonia to meet our students in order to explain what does a top university expect from a potential student?
We are delighted to be in Estonia meeting potential students and helping them to learn more about our university to make the right choice for future study. The university has a vision that its students will become global graduates, representing the University and connecting networks/alumni all over the world. We are looking for motivated students who have a strong academic background, are enthusiastic about studying a particular discipline and are passionate about using their time and study at Liverpool, to help tackle some of the biggest global challenges as leaders in their future careers.
What are the requirements to be accepted to the University of Liverpool?
For entry into Liverpool, subject specific grades would be required from the Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus (Secondary School Leaving Certificate), rather than the Riigieksamid (State Exams). We just ask for an overall average to be achieved from the Riigesksamid as we realise students only take three subjects in this.
For example, for entry into one of our Engineering programs, we would ask for the equivalent of AAB including Maths and Physics. So, for students with Estonian qualifications, this would be:
Pass Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) with 4.5 overall, including high grades in Maths and Physics. In addition, you must achieve a minimum overall average of 85% in Riigieksamid (State Exams).
Do you make a distinction between narrow(basic) and broad(extensive) state examination in mathematics?
For some Engineering courses that require A level Maths, ’higher level of Maths required’ is stated as one of the requirements. Therefore, I would assume that these courses require broad (extensive) Maths in the state exams. For programmes, that don’t require A level Maths, I would say that no distinction would be made.
How important of a role does the motivation letter play in the application procedure?
The personal statement is the applicant’s opportunity to relay their passion for their subject of interest, why they want to study the course they are applying for and why they want to study at Liverpool in particular. It is important to meet the academic entry requirements, but the personal statement, along with academic references, is very important in supporting your application. It also gives the Admissions team an insight into what the applicant’s motivations are, for wanting to study a particular programme or discipline.
Even though the research shows that comparing to other European countries, Estonian students have a very good level of English, students still tend to fear they cannot manage their studies in a foreign language. They are especially worried about all sorts of accents. Since you have been in contact with numerous foreign students – how would you comment on this fear?
This worry is understandable for anyone considering moving to a new country where their native language is not spoken. However I would say from experience of working with international students, that once you are in an immersive environment where only English is spoken, your language skills will naturally improve greatly and you become more confident in areas, particularly speaking. At first, some students may find that understanding regional accents may be more challenging, however once they get used listening to different accents, it will improve their English language and communication skills for life. And, learning new accents and dialect words can be fun!
Some universities in the UK have a minimum language requirement level of B2. How is it at the top universities like the University of Liverpool?
The exact language requirement depends on the course, but is between IELTS 6.0 – 7.0, with a minimum requirement in each individual band of IELTS (from upper B2 level on Cambridge English: Advanced). More information can be found here.
There are about 160 universities in Britain, where students can choose between about 43 000 different courses. How can one make the right choice? Do you have any suggestions on your part?
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding which university is right for you. You should consider the teaching and learning style of the university – some universities are research-intensive, for example; what facilities are available on campus. A very important consideration is location, do you want to be in a big city, a small town in a rural location, or somewhere in between? Start by focusing on an aspect that is most important to you, and then research your options from there.
Some of the students use the help of different organisations when applying to universities abroad, simply because of the variety of choices and the number of unanswered questions. What kind of advantages do the organisation have comparing to applying to universities by oneself?
We try to come and visit students in their country as often as possible, but as we can’t always, we feel it’s important that students can go to organisations like Dream Foundation so that they can talk with a counsellor who knows about the University of Liverpool, who can tell them about our courses and facilities and offer advice on the best choice for them face to face. Applying to universities abroad can be a daunting prospect. There are so many univeristies and courses to choose from. Also, it is always beneficial to get additional input from people or organisations like who are familiar with the UK Higher education system and the various universities. This is where organisations like Dream Foundation, have a significant advantage.
Higher education in Estonia is free. Why should a young Estonian consider choosing a UK university with high tuition?
It’s becoming more and more important in the world we live in, to have a global education and exposure to various ideas and cultures. This is no longer something that is considered to be a desirable trait, but is almost becoming an essential one. This is also valued by potential employers when looking for future employees. What you choose to study, is almost just as important as where you study. This is where, studying in the UK, which is one of the world’s top 3 destinations and more so at a Russell Group university like the University of Liverpool becomes even more crucial, because the kind of academic rigour and quality imparted, is something that is recognised globally.
Why choose University of Liverpool?
The University was established in 1881 and we are the original ‘redbrick’ university – we have a long history of academic excellence and are associated with 9 Nobel Laureates. We are a research-led university which means that our teaching has a strong evidence base in current research and students are taught by experts in their field. A unique feature of Liverpool is that we are a campus university, all our facilities are in one place with a great sense of community; but we are also based in the middle of a busy and cosmopolitan city centre, which means students get the best of both worlds.
What is it like to be a student in the city of Liverpool?
Liverpool is a great city to be a student in. I studied at Liverpool myself! Liverpool is known as a city of music, and it’s true that as well as being the birthplace of The Beatles, there are many music venues, from concerts by internationally known stars, to gigs featuring local bands and festivals celebrating music and dance from all over the world. Liverpool is also famous for sport – we have two premier league football clubs. Liverpool won European Capital of Culture in 2008, which was an acknowledgement of the vast cultural activities and international vibe of the city. We have more museums and art galleries than anywhere outside of London. Liverpool is also great for shopping, eating and socialising, with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to discover. It’s also the 2nd most affordable city to be a student in the UK, which is great if you want to be living in a city, but are on a budget.
UK deadline for application is approaching – how important it is for students to apply in the first round?
We would recommend that students apply within the January 15th deadline. The reason we encourage them to do so, is to ensure that students do not miss out on certain programmes that are very popular and hence may reach capacity very early on.
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Dream Foundation is helping everyone with their UCAS applications and also arranging events about studies in the UK. On 27 and 28 December 2017 there will be seminars in Tartu and Tallinn about UK uni experience. Students who have come home for Christmas will be sharing their stories. See more here.