Applying to study in the USA is a serious undertaking but one that an increasing number of students in the UK and overseas are opting for. There are pros and cons to both the education system and the process but this site is here to help you decide whether the US is for you for your undergraduate studies. Beyond that we can also help you decide which of the 4000+ institutions best matches your abilities and interests and then help you to get there.
The advantages of studying in the US are threefold:
1. You don’t have to decide what you want to study. Unlike in the UK you don’t apply to a course in the US but to the University as a whole, this means that during your first two years you can choose from a variety of different courses before deciding which one you want to concentrate on, this is your ‘major’.
2. The facilities are remarkable. Both educationally and recreationally US universities have far more money to spend on their facilities than their UK peers, in addition the high fees they charge (more on this below) means that the student is taken seriously as a customer and an academic.
3. Networking is taken very seriously. US universities develop an almost cultish loyalty in their alumni who then go on to support both the institution and future generations of alumni. In every major city their is an alumni organisation meaning in every major city there are a group of people who want to help you and see you succeed.
The disadvantages of studying in the US
1. It’s expensive. Very expensive. Typically around $30,000+ tuition per year at an average private university rising to $50,000 at the very best. State universities are cheaper but not by a huge amount, see here for more.
2. It takes longer. A typical undergraduate programme is four years rather than three in the UK and some professional qualifications are only taught on a post graduate level, examples being medicine and law. These require at least another three years. Therefore to qualify as a doctor in the US will take at least eight years.
3. It’s incredibly difficult to get in to a renowned university. The acceptance rate for Oxbridge hovers around 20%, for Harvard the rate is around 6% (see the detailed statistics here). However this does not take into account factors such as the number of student athletes (typically all strong enough to represent their country at international standard for U18), legacy candidates (the children of Harvard alumni whose admittance rate is four times the average) and the fact that only around 10% of the admitted students are international of the 1655 who join the university in an average year. As a result the advertised admittance rate for all the top institutions should be halved.
But all of that can seem like verbiage, this video, produced by Yale students working with admissions staff who were recent graduates highlights all the brilliance and madness of the US system.
And if you are still interested now, then please read on!