Thinking about applying to college and where you might like to study? How about considering the United Kingdom? An exciting adventure, a different (but not too different) culture, and the application process isn’t as different as you might think! It may be another continent, but with a short five hour flight from the East Coast and fees often on par with US colleges, it’s easier than people realise.
Let’s debunk a few myths…
The application process must be totally different
Not as different as you may think! Nice and straightforward, UCAS is the one and only application service for all UK universities but some UK universities actually use the Common App too! You can apply for up to five university choices with UCAS (£26 for all five) and it’s just one application for all five choices. Easy! We also don’t have an early decision period – apply anytime from early September through to January (though check to see if any of your choices has an early deadline i.e. Oxford or Cambridge).
It must be super expensive as it’s outside the US
OK, you do need to think about flights back and forth to the UK. But actual tuition fees are cheaper than many US colleges. For most courses, you should expect to pay from around $18,000.00 – $35,000.00 per year – fees vary (i.e. an arts based course tends to be cheaper than a sciences). For living costs, it varies depending on accommodation prices (big cities are pricier) – on average, we’d recommend allowing $12,500.00 – $16,500.00 per year for living costs. Application is need-blind so you’ll probably need to provide us with some finance information after we admit you so we can see that you and your family have thought through the costs and worked out your funding. Don’t forget, you can still apply for US funding – some UK universities (such as the University of York) will have approval from the U.S. Department of Education for the origination and disbursal of William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans). Some UK universities offer funding for international students too.
What about entry requirements? Do UK universities know APs and SATs?
We do! With help from organisations such as Ecctis and UCAS, UK universities have plenty of knowledge and understanding about what you may or may not have studied. Most universities will expect to see two or three APs as well as a 3.0 GPA – the requirements will just depend on how selective the university is. For example, the University of Aberystwyth on the beautiful Welsh coast requires a 3.0 High School GPA and two APs with scores of 3+, whereas the historical University of York requires three AP tests with scores ranging between 4 and 5 or three SAT Subject Tests with scores ranging between 650 and 700+.
UK universities are keen to receive international applications!
Firstly, an international academic environment is important in the UK so we will be excited to consider your application! Universities will often have dedicated international admissions teams who will know all about the US education system and will be able to advise whether their university sounds like a good fit for you. They are there for you to chat with! Or a good start could be following some university accounts on Instagram or Twitter.
So, explore some universities and consider the UK along with your US choices – it will be a fantastic academic (and life!) experience! It could even open more doors for your future career – it shows great strength and courage to study internationally!
Esme Page has extensive knowledge of the UK undergraduate admissions system from her career at the University of Cambridge. Her work varies from delivering admissions processes for individual Cambridge Colleges to evolving admissions policy for the wider university. Coming from a family who have lived and worked all over the world, Esme loves to travel internationally and works hard to make the UK Higher Education application processes more accessible to overseas students. Her latest interest is developing an understanding of the US Higher Education admissions process, comparing the systems between the two countries and seeing the similarities and complexities that both host. Contact Esme here.