Nigeria is ranked as the 10th country in the world and the highest in Africa for education migration by UNESCO. The high rise of Nigeria’s demand on the foreign education market is due to its rapidly growing population with estimation of 186.8 million, a thriving upper and middle class, educational standards, and various government and corporate scholarships. The United Kingdom, in particular, has long been a popular and favorite destination for Nigerian students given our historical, colonial and cultural ties.
The United Kingdom is the global leader in high-quality undergraduate and postgraduate education for international students, with its many world-class universities; international students rated the UK number one for student satisfaction, ahead of the United States, Canada, etc. However, in recent times, the UK has seen deteriorating levels of student satisfaction around the availability of financial aid, cost of study, cost of living and opportunities to work during and after school were some of the negative factors against a UK education, as this became more serious concerns for students later during study.
A 2015 I-graduate analysis of student satisfaction surveys rates Nigerian students as the seventh most satisfied international students in the world. With a student population of 17973 in the UK as at 2015, this is a 52% growth from 2008; Nigerian students are the third largest group of international students in the UK, at 4.1% according to HESA. As an increasing number of Nigerian students travel to the UK for studies each year, a whooping sum of £300 million annually are spent on UK according to some estimates. Most students gave such reasons for relocation such as better standard of education, cultural diversity, time schedule, personal motivation, better career prospects, institutions reputation, course of study, potential safety, scholarship and research.
For my research on where are the best schools to study in the United Kingdom, I looked into 13 different institutions across its vast geographical location, these schools cut across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Traditionally, this university rankings list the best UK universities for Nigerians based across core points such as
- University rankings
- Ambience and student life
- Admission and visa processing
- Geographical location
- Course of study
- Tuition and cost of living
There are a lot of good institutions in the UK, but I’m only going to mention a few, here is my combined list, but note that this does not suggest any school not listed below null or void.
- The Elites: These are the oldest, most prestigious universities in the UK, and the world in general. Entry standards and admissions requirements are quite high. They usually offer an array of degrees with options of joint combinations. Social, cultural, historical and recreational life is in full bloom in these colleges, over a 1000 libraries, and a rich college owned accommodations. They rank the highest on the UK employability rankings, and in the top ten positions in the world. These three universities are Oxford, Cambridge and the Imperial College London.
- University College London: This institution was the top recruiters for international students in 2015, with a total figure of 13545. It is ranked at number 14 in the world and a UK ranking of 4, its employability status is 8th on the UK employability university survey. Its main campus is situated in central London of Bloomsbury.
- Cardiff University: This is a highly ranked research university located in Cardiff city in Wales. It is ranked as number 182 worldwide with a UK employability of 28. It is particularly strong in the field of medicine and law respectively. The university offers a unique student life with a strong student body presence, academic societies and athletics.
- University of Aberdeen: This is the third oldest university in Scotland; it is a research university with a resounding medical school. This university attracts a vast population of Nigerian students, especially those in the Engineering and technology field. They offer a variety of scholarship programs to help with tuition fees. It is situated in the rich, cultural city of Aberdeen, Scotland.
- Queen’s University Belfast: This is one of UK’s biggest and the 9th oldest university; it’s the top ranking in the Northern Ireland. It prides itself with top notch learning and research facilities. It offers full and partial scholarships for international students with safe and affordable cost of living. Belfast is one of UK’s most affordable student cities, estimated to be 50% cheaper than London. It is located in the centre of a host of European capitals.
- University of Southampton: This is located in the lively, energetic city by the sea, which makes it quite cosy for festivals. It offers a unique support for international students, career advice after graduation and an enthusiastic foreign exchange programs with other international institutions.
- University of Birmingham: This research university is ranked number 119 worldwide, 18 in the UK, and 21 on the employability rankings table. Birmingham boosts of a student population of 35,000, which is the fourth largest in the UK. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, student friendly cafes, which is good for part-time jobs.
Other Notable universities in the UK include the following:
- University of Manchester
- University of Nottingham
- University of Leeds
- University of Liverpool
- University of Glasgow
- University of Strathclyde
It is strongly advised that students seeking an international education in the UK equip themselves with knowledge of the universities they want to attend, seek an advanced knowledge about the proposed course of study; there have been cases of awarded courses not having a relation to undergrad study, hence causing intense stress on the student. Also, establish a correlation to how the courses fit into their career prospects and how well the courses can be applied in back home, in Nigeria.
“It is not enough to just acquire knowledge, but what you do with it matters a lot more”.
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