American schooling better than British?

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bob247
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And therefore it's harder to get into Ivy League than Oxbridge or Russel Group unis?

I don't live in Britain but follow a British curriculum, pretty much identical to your average British school.

I've been told that I'm in with a shout for Oxbridge. Grades wise I should be fine but extra curricular-ly I have a chance - though obviously, nothing is certain.

Well, I'd prefer to go to the U.S myself. So I went on to what seemed to be the American TSR equivalent. They had a section for "Rate my chances" where students post their qualifications and get rated on their chances of successful application to their chosen unis.

And I was stunned. I don't stand a chance compared to some of those people. You had people from 'small towns' with a population of '3000' being scared that they could not compare to Ivy students. And they overshadowed me in every way.

I can't comment on a pure education basis - although they seemed to have more qualifications than we do: SATs, PSATs, APs and god knows what else.

But extra-curricularly, you had people who had achieved things at local, regional, state and national levels. There were competitions for everything. There were clubs for everything. Clubs had chairmen, treasurers and all sorts of things. They had all kinds of programmes and leagues and associations and they were all ranked.

It seemed so much more student orientated than teacher orientated. There were so many more opportunities than we seem to get
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hypocriticaljap
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American education on the whole is appalling.
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skotch
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There's an american version of TSR? oooo what's it called?
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edwardlamb3
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I'm american and I agree. Although, some of our parents are as overzealous about our grades as any brit, I'm sure. With a big enough push from parents to learn, how sub-par a primary or secondary school is makes little difference. My parents were like that and despite being (what i feel was ill-prepared) for university, I got in and seem to be doing well, it seems that getting in depends a great deal on smarts however staying in requires more time management skills than anything else.
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bob247
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(Original post by skotch)
There's an american version of TSR? oooo what's it called?

Well, it's a loose adaptation :P

It's more study based and seems to have more adults around the place. Not as sociable.

It's called College Confidental.
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unamed
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collegeconfidential.com (or something like that) ^

As for them being 'better', no, they're good at uni-standard because so few people end up going to uni. And the ones that do go are the creme de la creme (and usually not your average american, I am talking Ivy league here), but for anything before that. No.
For them, university is a greater leap than it is for us if we were to go into their 1st year (simply because they don't major 1st year.. it's like a glorified A2)

But then again, I might have been fed lies.

and cc. is quite like TSR - ie, all the best of the best of the best are on it.
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Black Mammoth
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(Original post by (You))
It's rubbish. :rolleyes:
Yes yes yes but what's it called?!
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username392981
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No, not really but it's very hard to compare but lots of people tend to say that their system is worse however it does seem that their extra-curricular opportunities are better
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hunter'sdaughter
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(Original post by hypocriticaljap)
American education on the whole is appalling.
Seconded. Their state education is awful! Their private education is the only choice for guaranteed good education and guaranteed preparation for Ivy Leage is only at the top, top (no typo) private school commanding ridiculous fees. Their university education, 1st year is equivalent to A-Levels. However, I do agree with their liberal arts program and graduate schools. Universities are the only good parts of the American Educational system.
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awm55
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(Original post by hypocriticaljap)
American education on the whole is appalling.
you are an idiot. i am American and go to a British unis and trust me, in my experience the top American unis admissions criteria is MUCH harder. you just have no idea what you are talking about. good grades and exam scores will not get you into most top schools. you need something else, whether it be a sport, music, clubs/leadership position, fund-raising etc.

American students in general tend to be more active and involved than their British counterparts. for example, sports in most American high schools practice 6 days a week including competition, while from what I have heard most British kids sports teams did nothing at this level.

and in America we have a little something called a GPA, which actually takes allot of work throughout the year to maintain if you are in higher level classes. in the UK everyone seems to do nothing throughout the year and just cram for the exams at the end of the year because that is all that counts. this is ridiculously stupid but seems to be the norm.
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edwardlamb3
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(Original post by Lafin23)
I don't think that's necessarily entirely true.

First, don't start playing the statistics game. For example, Cambridge has an applicationffer ratio of around 5:1, whereas Harvard's is about 13:1. On the surface, this would make it look like Harvard is much harder to get into, but in actual fact UK applications are limited to 5 unis (4 if Med Applicant), but in the USA you can apply to as many colleges as you like - it just costs more! Hence, while only the best will apply to Oxbridge if they think they're in with a real chance, lots of American students will apply to Ivy League universities, just in case, even if in reality there's next to zero chance of them actually gaining a place!

Furthermore, it's generally accepted that A Levels are at least on a par with, if not rather harder than, APs (which are the closest the American education model comes to an equivalent). The only reason American students have so many qualifications is because they're required by universities! PSAT is irrelevant - it's a practice for the SAT, and isn't actually counted for anything. SATs and SAT IIs are comparatively much easier than A Levels, but are still required by US universities to demonstrate whatever level of ability in key areas of study. Generally speaking, academically the UK secondary model is probably more stretching than the US one, (although of course you have to choose the right subjects...), and lots of UK students studying in the US have spoken about how the first year (sometimes two years) of their university education really wasn't much harder, if any, than Sixth Form. In fact, some US unis will let UK students skip a year of their degree if they have enough academic *credits* upon entering the college.

As far as ECs are concerned, it's true, lots of Americans are much more involved outside of school than UK students, but that's because US universities traditionally place much greater emphasis on these than their UK equivalents. Here, universities such as Oxbridge are far more focused on academic achievement, whereas in the US places like Harvard, Yale etc are interested in the whole package; are you a talented musician, are you widely involved in community activities, are you a good sportsman...and because this is so engrained into the system US students are naturally more likely to go into Extra-Curriculars and take them far more seriously than some of their UK counterparts, merely because they know how important they can be when it comes to application time.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's necessarily 'harder' to get into either - both have very different requirements, and it's hard to compare standards because students aren't assessed on similar criteria.

Are you thinking about applying to the US?
actually PSAT's are used for some really hefty scholarships, not to split hairs or anything, just a lesser known fact.
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Apocalypti
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Does anyone know if the North American university system is different to that of the rest of America? I'm going to be studying in Canada on a year abroad.
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asdalol
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(Original post by Lafin23)
I don't think that's necessarily entirely true.

First, don't start playing the statistics game. For example, Cambridge has an applicationffer ratio of around 5:1, whereas Harvard's is about 13:1. On the surface, this would make it look like Harvard is much harder to get into, but in actual fact UK applications are limited to 5 unis (4 if Med Applicant), but in the USA you can apply to as many colleges as you like - it just costs more! Hence, while only the best will apply to Oxbridge if they think they're in with a real chance, lots of American students will apply to Ivy League universities, just in case, even if in reality there's next to zero chance of them actually gaining a place!

Furthermore, it's generally accepted that A Levels are at least on a par with, if not rather harder than, APs (which are the closest the American education model comes to an equivalent). The only reason American students have so many qualifications is because they're required by universities! PSAT is irrelevant - it's a practice for the SAT, and isn't actually counted for anything. SATs and SAT IIs are comparatively much easier than A Levels, but are still required by US universities to demonstrate whatever level of ability in key areas of study. Generally speaking, academically the UK secondary model is probably more stretching than the US one, (although of course you have to choose the right subjects...), and lots of UK students studying in the US have spoken about how the first year (sometimes two years) of their university education really wasn't much harder, if any, than Sixth Form. In fact, some US unis will let UK students skip a year of their degree if they have enough academic *credits* upon entering the college.

As far as ECs are concerned, it's true, lots of Americans are much more involved outside of school than UK students, but that's because US universities traditionally place much greater emphasis on these than their UK equivalents. Here, universities such as Oxbridge are far more focused on academic achievement, whereas in the US places like Harvard, Yale etc are interested in the whole package; are you a talented musician, are you widely involved in community activities, are you a good sportsman...and because this is so engrained into the system US students are naturally more likely to go into Extra-Curriculars and take them far more seriously than some of their UK counterparts, merely because they know how important they can be when it comes to application time.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's necessarily 'harder' to get into either - both have very different requirements, and it's hard to compare standards because students aren't assessed on similar criteria.

Are you thinking about applying to the US?
I like this answer :yes:
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bob247
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(Original post by Lafin23)
I don't think that's necessarily entirely true.

First, don't start playing the statistics game. For example, Cambridge has an applicationffer ratio of around 5:1, whereas Harvard's is about 13:1. On the surface, this would make it look like Harvard is much harder to get into, but in actual fact UK applications are limited to 5 unis (4 if Med Applicant), but in the USA you can apply to as many colleges as you like - it just costs more! Hence, while only the best will apply to Oxbridge if they think they're in with a real chance, lots of American students will apply to Ivy League universities, just in case, even if in reality there's next to zero chance of them actually gaining a place!

Furthermore, it's generally accepted that A Levels are at least on a par with, if not rather harder than, APs (which are the closest the American education model comes to an equivalent). The only reason American students have so many qualifications is because they're required by universities! PSAT is irrelevant - it's a practice for the SAT, and isn't actually counted for anything. SATs and SAT IIs are comparatively much easier than A Levels, but are still required by US universities to demonstrate whatever level of ability in key areas of study. Generally speaking, academically the UK secondary model is probably more stretching than the US one, (although of course you have to choose the right subjects...), and lots of UK students studying in the US have spoken about how the first year (sometimes two years) of their university education really wasn't much harder, if any, than Sixth Form. In fact, some US unis will let UK students skip a year of their degree if they have enough academic *credits* upon entering the college.

As far as ECs are concerned, it's true, lots of Americans are much more involved outside of school than UK students, but that's because US universities traditionally place much greater emphasis on these than their UK equivalents. Here, universities such as Oxbridge are far more focused on academic achievement, whereas in the US places like Harvard, Yale etc are interested in the whole package; are you a talented musician, are you widely involved in community activities, are you a good sportsman...and because this is so engrained into the system US students are naturally more likely to go into Extra-Curriculars and take them far more seriously than some of their UK counterparts, merely because they know how important they can be when it comes to application time.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's necessarily 'harder' to get into either - both have very different requirements, and it's hard to compare standards because students aren't assessed on similar criteria.

Are you thinking about applying to the US?
Yeah, I want to double major. You can't do that here and I worry that my softer ECs will affect this. I still have 2 years to fix this but I will be up against people who have been serious about it since year 7 (up till this year, none of my teachers told me to worry about ECs or exams for previous years) and I am average physically and dreadful musically.

(Original post by (You))
I don't understand how that makes them harder to get into? :confused:



There is no British curriculum :fyi:

Americans are a bit obsessed with extra-curriculars but I doubt you have a chance at Oxford. The US have a different system, they don't really have more qualifications than us though.
I could get into Oxbridge with excellent grades (which I have) and decent extra curricular (social work, work exp., couple of awards, couple of distinctions to show you're serious about your area of study, be part of a sports team).

Whereas I could have that and still not even get an interview for Ivy League because I would be up against Maths competition winners, club presidents, music award winners, and sports stars who have been on ESPN.

Obviously it all depends on the individual but you have to make a generalisation at some point. You can't account for everybody.

Ok fine :rolleyes: I follow the English and Welsh curriculum.
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awm55
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(Original post by hunter'sdaughter)
Seconded. Their state education is awful! Their private education is the only choice for guaranteed good education and guaranteed preparation for Ivy Leage is only at the top, top (no typo) private school commanding ridiculous fees. Their university education, 1st year is equivalent to A-Levels. However, I do agree with their liberal arts program and graduate schools. Universities are the only good parts of the American Educational system.
are you kidding me? the proportion of Oxbridge kids coming from public/private schools in the UK is WAY higher than the proportion of private school kids going to IVY's in America.

i cannot stand kids form the UK commenting on topics in which they have no idea. i have been through both systems, and am one of the few people on this stupid forum who knows what he is talking about.

and with regards to first year U.S. unis being similar to A-levels, this is only the case if you are not excused from the entry level classes via AP exam scores. again, i am sure you have no idea what i am talking about. also, first year may be a bit less rigorous in the U.S.(though in reality my first year at a British unis was a joke), but that is because we take 6-7 academic subjects per year in high school and are not forced to specialize, thus the education is broader but slightly less deep.
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bob247
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(Original post by awm55)
you are an idiot. i am American and go to a British unis and trust me, in my experience the top American unis admissions criteria is MUCH harder. you just have no idea what you are talking about. good grades and exam scores will not get you into most top schools. you need something else, whether it be a sport, music, clubs/leadership position, fund-raising etc.

American students in general tend to be more active and involved than their British counterparts. for example, sports in most American high schools practice 6 days a week including competition, while from what I have heard most British kids sports teams did nothing at this level.

and in America we have a little something called a GPA, which actually takes allot of work throughout the year to maintain if you are in higher level classes. in the UK everyone seems to do nothing throughout the year and just cram for the exams at the end of the year because that is all that counts. this is ridiculously stupid but seems to be the norm.
My point exactly.
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awm55
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(Original post by (You))
You need this too for Oxbridge and most top unis.



I think we do to some extent.



Not really, depends on the subject. And we also have coursework which can make up part of your overall grade.
Oxbridge admits on grades alone, don't kid yourself. You are not getting into Oxbridge because you are a regionally ranked swimmer or a world famous chess player, while at Harvard you will. Please do some research before you post stupid comments.
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bob247
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(Original post by awm55)
are you kidding me? the proportion of Oxbridge kids coming from public/private schools in the UK is WAY higher than the proportion of private school kids going to IVY's in America.

i cannot stand kids form the UK commenting on topics in which they have no idea. i have been through both systems, and am one of the few people on this stupid forum who knows what he is talking about.

and with regards to first year U.S. unis being similar to A-levels, this is only the case if you are not excused from the entry level classes via AP exam scores. again, i am sure you have no idea what i am talking about. also, first year may be a bit less rigorous in the U.S.(though in reality my first year at a British unis was a joke), but that is because we take 6-7 academic subjects per year in high school and are not forced to specialize, thus the education is broader but slightly less deep.
What's all this about pre-requisites? How does that affect me as an A Level student?
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awm55
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(Original post by unamed)
collegeconfidential.com (or something like that) ^

As for them being 'better', no, they're good at uni-standard because so few people end up going to uni. And the ones that do go are the creme de la creme (and usually not your average american, I am talking Ivy league here), but for anything before that. No.
For them, university is a greater leap than it is for us if we were to go into their 1st year (simply because they don't major 1st year.. it's like a glorified A2)

But then again, I might have been fed lies.

and cc. is quite like TSR - ie, all the best of the best of the best are on it.
again, there is misinformation here. a much higher proportion of the U.S. population has a university degree than in the UK. god this is getting tiresome :rolleyes:
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Black Mammoth
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(Original post by (You))
College Confidential. Rather dull I found.
Oh yeah, that is pretty awful :eek:
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