It was during the 19th century when a major expansion in the higher education sector in the UK happened, with the awarding of the royal charters to some of the prominent UK institutions. Since then, many initiatives were launched to bestow university status to some of the institutions, which went on to become the most popular ones in the world.
The UK universities are categorized into colleges of different subjects, which means you need to be sure, beforehand, about which subject you want to study before applying to a UK college. Unlike in the US where you have an option to choose electives and switch over to some other subject at the end of the first year, UK colleges, irrespective of being autonomous bodies, expect you to adhere to your choice of subject. Hence, you either apply at each college of the subject that you are interested in or you apply through a centralized (common) system that allows you to apply at various colleges at the same point in time.
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