(Original post by Redemption)
I consistently get more PM's and quotes about this than everything else combined, and with good regularity. I felt it would be easiest (I guess for me ;P) to explain my experiences and knowledge of the system here and answer questions together rather than indivudal PM's. From now on, if you PM me, I'll simply redirect you to this thread to ask.
This is all based upon knowledge of applying for the scheme during the academic year of 07/08, for an exchange that I'm currently on at UC Berkeley 08/09.
There are a number of exchange schemes that York runs, nearly all administered by the York International Office (http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/intnat/)
. Ask them for real, definite information.
I entered York on an unconditional offer, but this was likely irrelevant to my application.
Around a month or so in to the term there will be student events and big meetings beginning to introduce the idea of the exchange scheme to prospective firstyear students. You'll meet, get presentations, talk to ex-students (Probably me for next year! Do approach me in real life, I won't bite!). This is when the application process starts.
Step One: Research, Collect Info, Apply
Do it. Find out where you want to go. How much it'll cost. If you can afford it. If you can prove that (more on this later). Why you want to go there. If going outweighs the bad of missing your friends from first year.
Realise that this as a decision comes up damned fast. Applications need to be in within two months of arriving at York. It sucks. You don't know if you'll fall in love with someone, hate York or be okay with it all. I did all three.
The first stages of the application process involve a number of things. You get a big-ass guide to this when you get involved in the process, so I won't go into too much detail. Key things: Collecting together academic records
(you'll need all your A-Level certificate originals). Financial guarantees
(bank statements, grant letters, these take a long time to get together so start early). You put these all together with an application essay
. I'll quote the last piece of advice I gave to one questioner.
Put your essay together. It all goes together with a number of photocopies and the like. This goes to York.
Step Two: York Interviews and Further Application
I've already discussed this slightly above. After the first round of applications a number (you have a pretty good chance of getting an interview with even a half arsed application), will be asked back for an interview. This will be with three people chosen from different departments with links to the exchange scheme.
For me, the questions for Berkeley were as I noted in the message of advice. Why North America. Why California. Then why Berkeley & Your other 2. You can't just focus on one campus because they won't guarantee it to you. I focused on specific courses that each campus did that related to eachother. My fields I was interested in were Game Theory, Social Evolution and War. Be honest - show a real interest and demonstrate that you have the dedication and perseverance not to just leave half way through.
After the interviews, a number are given the go-ahead by York. These people are then allowed to refine their essay or personal statement so as to better cater to the institutions they want. This was the point that I wrote a supplementary essay for Berkeley. Then, they send these all off with even more tight amount of personal details and financial guarantees in like, nov/dec.
Step 3: Cross your fingers and try not to screw your housing if you don't get in
You don't get to know if you got onto the course, or your choices until mid-through or the start of the easter holidays. I was in Morocco, so I found out when I got back. What this means is that people sort our housing for second year in january, feb at the latest. Interviews are January/Feb. If you tell people you're going to america, they'll think you don't like them and not factor you in. If you don't tell them (for fear of not getting in), you might screw them over if you do get in. It's up to you how to deal with this, only remember that you need to consider not getting onto the course.
Frequently Asked Questions (will update)
Can I permenantly transfer to the US/Berkeley once I'm there?
I honestly don't have a straight answer for you here. I looked into it, but only mildly. Each time the answer I got was yes, but no. To my questioning, you effectively had to transfer as a full transfer student (as you would from york anyway maybe), only that you had a step up on the competiton in that Berkeley already had a semester or two's worth of work and GPA's from you. So If you do exceptionally well (I rocked a 3.9 gpa last semester, but didn't follow through), and be well aware that Berkeley is a LOT harder than York - to get a York first at berkeley requires an average score on tests in most subjects of above 95%. (Stupid conversions).
How much does tuition cost?
No idea for you. For me, they charged me exactly 50% standard York fees. That meant they just took 50% less from the SLC. About 1500 pounds.
How do the Berkeley Units Convert?
Doing the reccomended amount in Berkeley, you get effectively 140 York units (so a free half course in york! Yay!). Be warned though, that to convert to a first in York currently (I'm going to have serious words about this when I get back), requires a full bore A in each class. Before you say "Well you should be getting an A anyway", realise that every class is curved so that A's go to about 10% of the students. An A at berkeley is a 4.0. It's a 95%+ score on an exam. An A-? Oh? What's that? You only got 90% in each test? You only beat 85% of the students at the most elite public institution in the United States? Sorry, it's not worth a 70+ mark here at york. FNAH FNAH.
How hard is it to get on the exchange?
International office will give you hard numbers, but I'll say this: Considerably easier than you imagine, but it depends upon the institution you want to go to. Columbia or UPenn? Harder. A Specific UC (Like Berkeley, which EVERYONE wants)? Harder. My year it was around 60 to 6 for UC (but five of the six final applicants had berkeley as their first choice), 50 to 2 for Columbia, 35 to 1 for UPenn, and so on. If you put the effort in, you'll get your slot.
More to be Included