QUALITY of university degree is of paramount importance when considering where to further your higher education. The United States has some of the top universities in the world. In fact, The Times ‘World University Rankings 2014’showed that of the top 20 universities in the world, 15 are in the United States. Strong research and funding have helped make American universities among the world’s most prestigious.
CHOICE is one of the primary reasons that students from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland choose to study in the United States. With over 4,000 institutions of higher education in the US offering undergraduate degrees, there are opportunities for everyone: While the eight Ivy League institutions may be the most well-known (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, and Cornell), there are hundreds of other prestigious research universities, national liberal arts colleges, and reputable two-year community colleges located across all 50 states. The US spans six time zones and has a great diversity in geography and culture. No matter which region in the US that a student chooses, long university summer holidays and programs sponsored by international student offices, such as holiday trips and host family options, offer UK students once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience the US and immerse themselves in American culture.
FLEXIBILITY is another reason that UK students opt to study in the US. Unlike in most UK universities, where you must commit to a specific course of study in order to gain admission, most US universities allow you time to explore your academic interests before choosing your “major.” Students often apply to universities as “undecided,” since the “liberal arts philosophy” of US higher education encourages students to take classes from a wide variety of subjects during the first year or two of study before they begin to specialize. Students who already know what they want to study can complete a “double major” or earn dual degrees in two academic fields often within the normal four years of study. Or, students may pursue a “minor” or interdisciplinary “concentration” by completing three to five classes in one field or thematic area. On top of that, most US universities have no enrolment capacity in popular courses of study—biology, business, chemistry, communications, media studies and psychology, to name a few—that are often over-subscribed at Russell Group universities and, thus, for which there are unreasonably competitive admission requirements even for very strong students.
AFFORDABILITY is rising fast as a leading reason that UK students are looking to the US as an option. With most universities in England now charging £8,000-£9,000 annually in tuition ($12,000-$14,000), it is no secret that UK students are looking for affordable options abroad. The cost of tuition at US institutions varies greatly. While some US institutions charge more than £30,000 in tuition each year ($45,000), others cost much less. In fact, many students are able to fund their undergraduate studies through scholarships from US universities and external funding bodies. Generally, these scholarships are based on academic merit, extracurricular achievement, financial need, special talent and/or personal characteristics, such as country of origin, field, gender or ethnicity. And, in many US states, the cost of living for university students is significantly less than in the UK!
INTERNATIONALISE and strengthen your CV: Studying and working abroad can make you stand out in the job market when you return to the UK. According to a Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) survey of 230 UK companies, one in three employers valued job applicants with international study experience, while 65% of employers favoured applicants with overseas work experience. International students in the US have the opportunity to gain work experience during their studies and to work in the US for up to one year after graduation on the Optional Practical Training scheme.
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