Why are so many people applying to study in the USA?

Posted on 10th October 2017

At UES, we have noticed a surge in the numbers of British (and European) students applying to America for college. There are now over 10,000 students studying in the US, and over 5000 UK students apply for undergraduate in the USA each year. So why this interest?

The reasons come down to two main factors: money and opportunity.

Cost often scares students (and parents) when they look at the headline prices of US universities. However, with the increase in tuition fees in the UK, families are beginning to look around and see what is best value for their money. Why not look globally for the best colleges they can afford?$$ US universities aren’t always as expensive as you might think, especially when you take into account aid and scholarships.

Aid and Scholarships
Many colleges offer what’s called need-based aid to students. This isn’t a scholarship: it’s financial aid given to means-tested students if they are offered a place. Not all universities can offer this to all students, but some (such as Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Yale, and Amhurst) offer it to all international students if they need it. This can make studying in America much cheaper than the UK, if not free!

There are also lots of scholarships available to foreign students in the US. In fact, in 2013-14, 880,000 scholarships were given to foreign students, with a total value of about $10 billion! These are available for all kinds of skills and backgrounds, and could be as simple as being given to the top applicants in each intake. Look around and you’ll find that you could apply for several scholarships! You can read more about funding here.

Freedom to try lots of subjects
If you study in the UK, you will probably apply for a specific course, and won’t get too much flexibility as to what subjects you study during that course. In America, however, most people do not choose what they will study at the beginning. Instead, you choose from a range of core subjects, and then have a vast number of optional modules to choose from on top. After the first two years or so, you will declare a ‘major’ in a subject of your choice and be required to get enough credits in that subject to graduate.

This is known as a ‘Liberal Arts’ education, and the result is that you get an excellent education, whilst trying your hand at subjects you might never have had the opportunity to experience. The statistics speak for themselves: 80% of undergraduates don’t end up majoring in what they thought they would! You wouldn’t get that opportunity in the UK.

International education
In these globally connected times, international experience is highly regarded. One recent survey of employers rated international experience as a leading desirable quality in their employees. Students and families are starting to realise that there is a world of opportunities outside of the UK, and that an education overseas can open many doors. Not only that, it can be an exhilarating, fulfilling and challenging experience for students as they learn to live in a different culture and climate.

First class education
The UK has some excellent universities. However, the US has a lot more universities, and plenty of these are ranked equally as highly as those in the UK. America has around 4500 4-year colleges to choose from! In the Times top 100 universities of 2016, 39 of them were American. And if you look at the rankings of the top 25 UK universities, you’re looking at around the top 50 US universities. Even colleges that you might never have heard of might actually be some of the very best in the world! For example, have you heard of Rice, William and Mary, or Johns Hopkins?

There are also universities with an outlook very different to that of the UK. Liberal Arts colleges, for example, tend to be small, undergraduate-focused colleges that offer some of the best-rated teaching in the world. Places like Vassar, Wesleyan and Bowdoin are highly regarded, but largely unheard of in the UK.

For these reasons and more, studying in America is something that is achievable and can change you life. Don't miss out on an amazing opportunity.

Contact us if you want to know more about applying to the USA!
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