The Recent Presidential Election

Posted on 23rd November 2016

The recent US election of November 2016 has no doubt caused some jitters amongst students currently applying for university in the USA. There’s no doubt that the election campaign was bitterly fought, and the rhetoric around the campaign was unsettling for many people. Whatever your thoughts about the new political landscape, this is obviously a time of uncertainty. At UES, we've spoken to a lot of students, parents, tutors, and university admissions officers over the last couple of weeks. We’ve also had to reassure students who are having doubts about their US university applications.

We are certain that the election result shouldn't deter students from applying to college in the US, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, US colleges have weathered worse storms and winds of change than this. Some of the leading US colleges are at least 300 years old (older, incidentally, than most British universities), which means they've continued to educate students through the War of Independence, the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and four presidential assassinations. They are big enough, respected enough, and wealthy enough to survive times of political change.

Secondly, universities tend to be progressive arenas of learning that exist separately to the political landscape. The system of academic tenure means that American professors are able to be politically outspoken in ways that academics in other countries are not, and US citizens have their right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. American colleges have flourished precisely because they are independent, encouraging free thought and original ideas. Indeed, universities are looking for people who can bring something new to the student body, not those who merely follow the crowd.

Lastly, a country undergoing uncertainty and change can be an exciting place to learn. For every student who has expressed doubts about studying in the US, another has been galvanised to pursue their studies there. If you want to make a difference to a society, you should want to learn about what is happening in a certain place, experience it first hand, and help influence things for the better. This doesn’t mean you have to become a politician! Just by living in a place, talking to people, and being part of society, you can do a great deal more than merely by commentating from overseas.

American colleges are, and will continue to be, some of the best institutions of higher education in the world. This will not change in the near future. If you have the ability to attend, there is no need to fear going there - not only will you be given the chance to take part in a vast array of activities and learn from a wide range of subjects, you will also come away with a world class degree and experience of people and cultures that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
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