Top Five Tips for UK Students Applying to US Universities

January 17, 2016 User 7

Thinking about going to the USA? Read this first!

Top Five Tips for UK Students Applying to American Universities

Monica Rude, Certified College Counselor

More and more sixth form students are considering going abroad for their undergraduate degree. However, applying to American universities is quite different than applying to universities in the UK. Here are five tips to help you stay on track during the application process.

1. College? University? Institute? In the USA, academic institutions go by a number of different names. However, a college can be just as rigorous as a university! Often the name “college” signals that an institution caters to undergraduates. If you go to Dartmouth, which is in the Ivy League, you will be going to Dartmouth College. Most colleges grant B.A. and B.S. degrees to undergraduates, just like their university counterparts. Now you know: in the USA, universities are not necessarily better than colleges! Be sure to learn about individual institutions before jumping to any conclusions about degrees, programs, rigor, or campus life.

2. UCAS doesn’t exist. Instead, there’s the Common Application. Like with UCAS in the UK, students going to universities in the USA use an online application system. The Common Application, often called The Common App, is a widely accepted application that is used at over 500 colleges and universities. You can create an account online at www.commonapp.org.

3. Don’t submit your Personal Statement. It is wonderful that you’ve spent hours thinking about what you want to study in the UK. Unfortunately, American colleges and universities want to learn more about you and less about your academic and career interests. The Common App has five unique essay questions to help admissions officers understand what makes you special. Access this year’s questions at www.commonapp.org. If you need inspiration, try reading 'Essays that Worked' from the Admissions team at Johns Hopkins University.  Access online at www.apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays-that-worked/.

4. Five isn’t the magic number. There is no limit on the number of applications you can make in the USA. While two probably isn’t enough, most advisors recommend seven to ten. For many students, more applications create more stress. If you are only interested in a few schools, it is okay to apply to a small number. But, if that is the case, you should also have a back-up plan. For most students that means applying to universities through UCAS. While you might not be thinking about it now, it can also be costly to make US applications. Universities will generally charge an applicant $50-$90 per application. This does not include what it costs to have test scores sent or other related expenses! It pays to plan ahead.

5. A note on testing. The USA does not have a uniform standard for admissions testing. It is important to understand which tests the universities you want to apply to require. While many will ask for the SAT or ACT, others are test optional. See www.fairtest.org/university/optional for a list of test optional schools. Students should have all of their testing complete before applying. In many cases, this means that students will begin testing the in the spring of their lower sixth form year. To signup for the SAT or ACT go online to sat.collegeboard.org or www.actstudent.org. If you have questions about a university’s requirements, contact their admissions office directly. Be sure to explain that you are an international student studying at a British school.

Students often consider an American education because it allows them to sample many academic subjects before specializing in their fourth semester. While studying overseas can be a fantastic experience for a number of reasons, students and families should research higher education in the USA before making any applications.

background

Have you thought about online lessons?

Online tuition gives you access to brilliant tutors across the country
Connect one-to-one with a tutor or share your lesson with a group for 50% of the tutor's hourly rate! Find a Tutor for One-to-One Find an Online Study Group

Want to know more?

Visit User's profile to find out more and send a message.

Visit User's Profile

Resources others found helpful

Some videos and exercises

This sit is available for different levels. It will help the student to increase his level with …

learn more

Biology Online Skeleton

This awesome online skeleton is perfect for revising the bones of the human body

learn more

"How do I structure essays in English?"

Do you find essay writing a daunting task? Never quite sure where to start? Read on for simple steps …

learn more

Adding and subtracting fractions

This document creates a mini-booklet with simple, step-by-step instructions for adding and …

learn more

Free resources, revision notes and past papers for students

Find revision guides, exam papers and sample essays amongst hundreds of free resources available to students.

Find resources any subjects

Maths resources | Science resources | Music resources | Spanish resources | English resources | French resources