While still studying at the bachelor's degree, I firmly decided for myself that I would only continue my studies in the master's program abroad, and in some reputable higher educational institution with a good reputation no less. I studied English both at school and at the university, so the choice fell on the English-speaking countries. The USA and Australia were swept away first: they are too far from home. The UK however is relatively close, and local universities are considered among the best in the world.
Why did I choose Imperial College London?
It took me a while to choose a university I would like to enter. Of course, Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh are the cream of the crop of British universities, but it is difficult to enroll there, and tuition is quite high. In addition, I needed an educational institution that would have a strong program in my specialty — computer science.
During my "research" I made several discoveries. One of them was the fact that in the top ten universities in the world there is a relatively "young" university called Imperial College London. Actually, it became a completely separate and independent university only in 2007, and before it was an integral part of the University of London. It was founded in 1907 for the anniversary of Queen Victoria and was called the Imperial Institute. To be honest, I have always loved English history so these words sounded like music to my ears. But emotions aside, the fact is that in the rankings, Imperial College London is the fifth in the world and third in Europe. The local engineering and scientific school is considered one of the strongest not only in England, but also in the world. "I am sold!" I thought. — "Where to sign?"
How to improve your English in a month in London?
Unfortunately, it so happened that I could not apply immediately after completing my bachelor's degree. I finished my bachelor's degree with honors, but I knew that English was my achilles heel. Therefore, having received my diploma, I entered the language school Isis London. Actually, Isis is a whole network of language schools located in Oxford, Brighton and London.
I paid approximately 1,655 USD for a four week intensive course. But, believe me, it was worth it: no courses in my homeland would have given me such a wonderful language practice. Actuall English is significantly different from the constructions that I studied at home (London is the capital of Great Britain... well, you probably remember yourself). It got to the point that the teachers advised us to use, if possible, not "safe English", but those new words and linguistic constructions that they taught us.
The first two weeks were difficult for me, but then I got used to English, and it started to feel natural just like my mother tongue. Moreover, the immersion in the language environment was complete: the whole month I lived in a family. I had a very warm welcome — every evening the owners and I talked about everything in the world: we discussed politics, music, novels, theatrical premieres. In the future, these courses helped me a lot in my studies, so I would advise anyone who wants to study in the UK to go through a similar experience.
What are the requirements for admission to a Master's degree in England?
Imperial College London does not have a clear deadline for applying for a Master's degree. However, it's best to collect and submit everything by January 15th. Important documents included my bachelor's degree, resume, essay and motivation letter, recommendations from my teachers and IELTS results.
Requirements at Imperial College London are very high: the GPA of the diploma must be either excellent or as close to excellent as possible. As for the knowledge of the English language, at the time of my admission the minimum score requirements in each of the four sections of IELTS was 6.5, in the written and spoken parts of TOEFL — 24 points each. This is not much, but the minimum requirements are called so for a reason, I encourage you to do better. For the fact that I managed to successfully pass IELTS, I am still grateful to the language school.
What I especially liked about the university policy is the openness and friendliness towards applicants. Once a semester, the administration organized a conference where teachers and students could speak, then all the records were posted online. Also, open days are constantly held (by the way, I attended such an event while studying at language school).
Difficulties of admission to a master's degree in England
The questionnaire, which can be downloaded from the website of Imperial College London, contains questions that must be answered in an essay. Writing it, maybe only for me, was one of the most difficult parts of admission. Personally, I wrote an essay for almost a week: you have to enlarge on how you see your career, who you want to become in three years time, in five years, describe yourself, your attitude to science and life in general. I rewrote the letter several times, I wanted to be original, but, each time, I thought that it turned out somewhat silly and cliche, so I had to sit down and do it again.
Three weeks after submitting the documents, I had a Skype interview with one of the school's teachers. The questions were not very difficult, related to my specialty and were designed to test logical reasoning. Some of the questions were similar to the ones I already answered in my essay.
The process of studying for a master's degree Imperial College London
The cost of tuition for a master's program is approximately 34,485 USD. A master's degree at Imperial College London takes a year. This was probably the most difficult year of my life. At home, I got used to taking my studies seriously, but there was so much new information dumped on me every day... The knowledge I had was enough only for a few lectures, then an in-depth study of subjects, combined with research work, began. I had to systematize the results of my research in my graduation project.
The good thing was the fact that there were almost no problems in my everyday life. I lived on a campus located in South Kensington. Our social life was constantly in full swing. Even despite the chronic lack of time, I still took part in organizing various events. We held a folk music competition in Hyde Park, for example.
By the way, I was very impressed by the student spaces. Everything is thought out, all rooms are equipped with computers, and during the examination period our library worked around the clock.
What are the prospects after graduating from a Master's degree in England?
I think I have a good chance to find an interesting job after I graduate. I already have a job offer from a company back home, but I have not yet decided whether I will return home after receiving my diploma or try to find a job in Europe (this option seems more interesting to me, but I need to study this matter further). In any case, a diploma from Imperial College London opens up quite attractive prospects for me.Ask a specialist