15 Mar, 2017
10 : 00
On Friday, March 10 we were privileged that a selection of the following leading universities from Scotland participated in our Mini Scottish University Fair. University representatives from St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt were available to answer questions from the public and our Upper Secondary students about the subjects and courses available, the application process, give valuable advice, as well as address any areas of concerns, e.g. living costs and scholarships.
Linda Gibson, Senior International Officer from the University of St Andrews in Fife also attended the Fair. We spoke to Linda about life at St Andrews and what students can expect from studying at one of the world's most prestigious universities.
For international students, it can be very daunting moving to a new area where you don’t know anyone. How does St Andrews help integrate international students?
St Andrews welcomes the world! We have 40% of our students from outside of the UK and another third from inside the UK (30% Scottish), this means everyone is in exactly the same position and just like being at an international school with all the nationalities! There are dedicated international staff in student services who can help with questions about visas, opening a bank account etc. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/international/
How does studying at St Andrews compare to other universities in Scotland and the UK? What is unique about the ‘St Andrews Experience’?
We have a 4-year undergraduate degree structure that doesn’t have general education requirements like the US but offers more breadth and choice than the English 3-year model. St Andrews is a unique university in terms of location and flexibility of the degree structure. It’s very safe and supportive and has a real community feel. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/why/
What aspect of study/learning earns St Andrews its high QS World Ranking?
International league tables use different metrics than national league tables this is why universities are in wildly different places on both. The international league tables use a metric for example about research citation and the more citations you have the better position you have on their league table i.e. the international league table favours large (by volume) universities than smaller universities. Whereas the national league tables assess things like student satisfaction, class sizes etc. We were voted number 1 in Scotland for student satisfaction!
Is there a flexible degree structure at St Andrews?
Yes – students apply for a subject, are admitted into a faculty and students choose 3 subjects in their first 2 years before declaring their ‘major’ at the end of their 2nd year. The exception is Medicine where students have set classes. Some sciences let you go direct into the 2nd year, take integrated masters and specialise a bit earlier in 2nd year. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/ug/options/flexible/
What sort of industry experience does St Andrews provide for undergraduates? Are students able to network with experienced professionals?
Students studying sciences have the opportunity to work for a year in industry. We have a great careers centre with staff dedicated to international students and can help them find placements, internships etc. they can also help with visas, applying for masters and finding a job. They can definitely network with professionals and we have a work shadow programme exactly for that! Our academic families provide opportunities for networking as well. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/careers/
What opportunities do St Andrews students have for studying abroad?
Students can study or work abroad in their junior/third year and can apply for it in 2nd year. There are lots of options depending on the subject: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/studyabroad/
University study can be an expensive undertaking; does St Andrews offer any financial aid to international students?
Yes, we have scholarships specifically for international students. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/ug/fees-and-funding/scholarships/hong-kong/
Before arriving in the UK, what preparation do international students need to complete?
They will need to apply for accommodation, apply for their visa around six weeks before they start their course, organise travel to the UK and from the airport to the university. The students will be emailed about all of this and we have a dedicated Facebook group (search: uni of St Andrews class of 2021) and online: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/newstudents/
What does an undergraduate degree from St Andrews actually mean? What advantage or edge do graduates from St Andrews have in the working world?St Andrews is a unique university experience where students can really get involved in all aspects of university life. I am a graduate of St Andrews (MA Hons Social Anthropology 2013) and had such a great experience there. My degree really helped me get my job after university (at St Andrews) and is the reason I’m still working there! I’m very passionate about the university because it really cares about its students (and staff) and it’s just a fantastic place to work and study! Over 90% of our international graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating. The main industries our students go into are Finance, Management Consultancy, IT, Publishing and Teaching.
What is the concept behind running the event here in HK for already admitted students?
Admissions will be joined by Careers and a Professor of Physics and the students and parents/carers will have a chance to mingle with each other and ask questions about St Andrews. Some of them will still be deciding on their firm choice, but may not be able to visit, this is a good way of seeing if it’s the university for them! We also have alumni from Hong Kong attending.
On average, how many students from HK go to Scotland each year to study?
We have around 30 students from Hong Kong come to St Andrews, in Scotland, this is around 300 and we have a Hong Kong society.
How does St Andrews work with YCIS Hong Kong?
We have been visiting YCIS for a number of years now and we always have great applications each year! We are happy to come individually, attend fairs and also host sessions on topics such as ‘how to write a personal statement’; we also enjoy teaming up with other universities for events like the ‘Mini Scottish University Fair’.
Many thanks to all the universities participating in our Mini Scottish Fair and to our University Guidance Office team for organising this invaluable event.