4 Reasons You Should Go to College in the U.K.
The birthplace of The Beatles, Newton, Shakespeare, and Beckham, the United Kingdom offers incredible opportunities to immerse yourself in a culture rich with musical, scientific, literary, and athletic talent. It is also home to some of the world’s best universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Durham, where students can pursue a quality education on par with the best in the U.S. While most American seniors limit their college search to national schools, more and more are exploring the alternative of “going to university” across the pond. According to the U.K.’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, 16,335 Americans enrolled in British universities in 2011-2012 alone, an increase of 5% from the previous year. So why has studying in the U.K. become so popular? Here are four reasons:
The Three-Year Degree
For some students, the prospect of spending four years working towards a Bachelor’s Degree seems daunting and they wish to expedite their education. If that sounds like you, you should explore the British system. Most students who study in England, Northern Ireland or Wales complete their degrees in a matter of three years, (in Scotland it takes four), emerging as finance analysts, accountants, school teachers, and various types of respected professionals at age 20. This can allow you to jump into your career and earn money a whole year earlier than you otherwise would have, had you studied in the U.S. Plus, the U.K.’s truncated timeframe permits you to pay for one less year of tuition, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
It Could Cost Less
With tuition costs rising at a rate significantly above inflation, earning an American college degree has become painfully expensive. Students are borrowing money at record rates, contributing to a student loan crisis that has reached nearly one trillion dollars. For students who worry that they cannot afford to attend a school in the U.S., they may wish to look into the U.K. option. Schools in the four countries that make up the U.K. charge around £13,500-£17,500 per year for overseas students, depending on the course you wishes to study. That comes to £40,500-£53,500 total, or roughly $62,000-$82,000. While that is still a lot of money, you may find that it is significantly less than attending a public university as an out-of-state student or enrolling in many private ones in the U.S. Plus, if you are an E.U. citizen, or a U.K. citizen who has lived in the country for three out of the last five years, you are entitled to pay Home fees, which never rise above £9,000, no matter which university you choose to attend.
You Focus on Your Major
Some students know exactly what they want to study before starting their applications, and can’t wait to immerse themselves in their subject. Others dread taking distribution requirements, and often wonder why they must spend time and energy reviewing disciplines that they don’t particularly care about. If you fall into either of these categories, the British system may be right for you. Before you apply to a university in the U.K., you must not only select a school you wish to attend, but also a “course,” or a major. You then spend the next three years immersing yourself in very focused academics, emerging from “uni.” as a specialist in you subject. Unlike in the U.S. where schools pride themselves on their curricula’s breadth, in the U.K., they pride themselves on their curricula’s depth.
Your Credentials Are Recognized
While studying at many universities in foreign countries can offer enriching life experiences, not every nation’s degrees are recognized and respected in the U.S. That is not the case for U.K. degrees. American employers and graduate schools value the educational opportunities offered by the British university system. Although they may request that you get a validation and equivalency through an official evaluation agency, this is essentially a formality for most cases.
If the benefits of studying in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales appeal to you, check out the University and College Application Service (U.C.A.S.) website to obtain more information on how to apply: http://www.ucas.com/ . You can also review the British Council’s website for insight into how to obtain a visa, apply for scholarships, or speak with a current American student studying in the U.K.: http://usa.britishcouncil.org/ . You’ll see that “going to university” in the U.K. can offer many complimentary as well as unique experiences as “going to college” in the U.S.