With so many courses on offer – and not just in the subject areas you would expect – there will be courses in subjects and subject combinations you’ve never even considered,  so it’s important you explore the different options thoroughly.

Here’s how to get started:

Choose a subject – the important thing is to choose a subject you enjoy that will help you reach your goals. Think about what you’re aiming to get out of the course – career progression, career change, or the chance to study a subject you love in more depth.

Meet our mentors to understand what the different subject areas have to offer – including graduate destinations, entry requirements, and personal statement tips.

Browse the UCAS search tool for inspiration on the types of courses you can study – don’t forget to use the subject filters to narrow your search.


As an international student, if you are looking to study abroad in the UK or an English-speaking country, one of the basic requirements would be for you to qualify and pass the standardised English language test. IELTS and TOEFL are both popular among students as these tests are accepted by thousands of universities worldwide. Although similar in ambition, these tests differ broadly in their testing criteria.

IELTS: All components of this test are compulsory and the duration of the entire test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Each section of this test is scored out of 9 points and the final score is calculated by averaging the scores of each section. The scores required by different universities vary, however, we at Sumen recommend an overall score of at least 7.5 for admission into most of the top universities in the UK or the US. 

TOEFL: All components of this test are compulsory and the duration of the test is 4 hours. Each section of this test is out of 30 points and the total score is calculated by adding the four individual section scores, making the test out of 120. Each university has its own specific TOEFL requirements, however,  we at Sumen recommend a score of at least 105. 


A Levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications give you the UCAS points you need to study at the undergraduate level. Besides their pivotal role in accessing higher education, they also give you the essential skills you need to flourish academically and professionally. Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A levels over two years. They’re usually assessed by a series of examinations. 

You normally need:

  • at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C
  • at least grade 6 in the specific subject(s) you want to study

However, the specific requirements needed to study A levels will vary across schools and colleges. It's important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.  

Choosing A level subjects

The most important criteria for choosing A levels subjects are:

  • Looking at what you are likely to enjoy and be good at. If you enjoy a subject or have an ability in it already, you are more likely to do well.
  • Are there any particular subjects and/or grades you may need? If you have a particular career, job, or further study in mind, you may need to choose specific A levels in order to meet entry requirements.
  • How open you want to keep your future study and career choices?


A personal statement is part of your application to study at a UK/US university. In a personal statement, the student writes about what they hope to achieve on a UK university course, what they hope to do after the course and why they are applying to this particular university. It is your first chance to show a demonstrable passion and understanding of your chosen subject away from exam results. The length of a personal statement varies depending on the university, but generally the average length for an undergraduate application is between 400 - 600 words, around one side of A4 paper or a maximum of 47 lines. Certain postgraduate programmes may require a 1000 word personal statement, but this will be clearly specified.

Despite impressing with your application, the admissions team may still want to meet you before making an offer - give yourself the best chance of securing your place by discovering how to prepare for a university interview. Interviews and auditions are sometimes used by admissions staff towards the end of the university application process as a means of comparing applicants with a good chance of being offered places on their courses. They're more likely to be held for creative or care-related programmes, as well as for entry into Oxford and Cambridge.