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    Hellooo,

    First of all I hope I've put this in the right place, feel free to move it if not!

    I'm British and I'm looking at studying in the US next year and I'm really struggling to find out what I need and just generally navigating the websites. I'm looking to study a biological sort of degree and i've looked at Princeton, Harvard and Yale. But basically I have a list of questions:

    1) What are the best Unis for a biology sort of degree?
    2) What are the best course/courses for me if I want to teach biology/science? And can you do like dual degree?
    3) How do I find the entry requirements for the courses as "have studied maths for four years" means nothing to me as in the UK we have to anyway xD
    4) Whats a SAT test, and how do I go about booking one?
    5) How far in advance do you have to start the application? and how do I actually go about doing that?

    Thankyou so much, your help would be very much appreciated and I'm finding the websites so confusing xD
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    I have answered a similar question here: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...0#post42107200

    Likewise, if you want some information, personal message me and I shall try to help you.

    The only question I can give a sure answer to is number 5. You need to start e process approx a year and a half before the start of your study. So year 12s should have started already.

    One main factor British students often do no realise is the cost for studying in the US. I can try to advise you on this also. However, there are very few schools that offer international student scholarships.
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    (Original post by EloiseStar)

    One main factor British students often do no realise is the cost for studying in the US. I can try to advise you on this also. However, there are very few schools that offer international student scholarships.
    Oh really? I didn't know that. What sort of schools offer them? Would I be able to find out before applying?
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    (Original post by Charlotte1995*)
    Oh really? I didn't know that. What sort of schools offer them? Would I be able to find out before applying?
    This is essentially the US verion of UCAS: https://www.commonapp.org/SearchEngi...pleSearch.aspx

    Here you can search for specific courses, and short list with loads of options. I think it's on that site, if not it will be on individual college websites, the cost for international students. It can be up to $55,000 (sometime above).

    Edit: just checked and you can define by scholarships for international students.
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    Thankyou so much!
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    OK:

    1&2: In case you haven't realised yet: you can't apply to a US uni to study biology or any other subject. You just apply to do a general undergraduate degree. As part of the degree, you will have to take courses in a range of different subjects. The degree lasts 4 years; the second two years allow you to focus down on one "major" subject, even though you can still do courses in other subjects on the side.

    Few student pick their university based mainly on what subjects it is known for teaching well. Most pick their uni based on its reputation for teaching generally, since you have to do courses in loads of subjects. Having said that, you can use sites like College Board and RateMyProfessor to get a sense of what is taught well where.

    3: Most unis don't have specific entry requirements - you just have to have a good all round application. If they do list requirements that seem not to make sense, feel free to ignore them, or call up their admissions dept if you want to be sure. The most important things for an application to US unis are your school exam results (A Levels, GCSEs), your extra curricular experiences, and most importantly, your SATs (or ACTs, either test is fine). Which brings us to:

    4: SATs and ACTs are standardised entrance tests that cover reasoning, reading, writing, maths etc - it's basically just three hours of multiple choice questions. Make sure to revise for them, as the better you do, the better your shot at a top US uni. You can book to take the SAT at a UK testing centre via College Board; it's recommended you book as far in advance as possible!

    5. There's no time when you "have" to start the application - the longer you give yourself the easier it would be. Some people say a year and a half is good, but honestly, you could knock it out in a few months and still get into some decent unis....probably. It's a lot of work though! You have to spend ages researching which unis you like and what you have to do to apply to them, you have to spend ages getting all the relevant forms together and filled out properly. You have to write some really good personal essays. You have to get your school to make you a transcript and write references for you. You have to take the SAT or ACT. You have to research funding options and possibly fill out extra forms for funding...and so on. It's all worth it in the end, as going to uni in the US is awesome!

    Bear in mind the deadline is normally 1st of January of the year you want to start uni - though it's different at some unis. There's a suggested timeline for the process here, but don't worry about following it too closely.

    As for funding, it's true most US unis don't have funds for international students - but many of them do! In fact, last year almmost 200 unis awarded $40,000 or more to international students. And 900 gave $10,000 or more. So there's plenty on offer - and most of the best unis do have financial aid available. There's some ideas for funding here.

    Other than that, Uni in the USA is a good resource generally, as it's written specifically for Brits and it has info on almost all aspects of applying to the US. Any other questions, just shout!
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    (Original post by John Wallis)
    OK:

    1&2: In case you haven't realised yet: you can't apply to a US uni to study biology or any other subject. You just apply to do a general undergraduate degree. As part of the degree, you will have to take courses in a range of different subjects. The degree lasts 4 years; the second two years allow you to focus down on one "major" subject, even though you can still do courses in other subjects on the side.
    Thankyou so much, this helped a lot!
    The only bit I don't understand is your answer to Q1 and 2, don't you follow a specific course?
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    Nope, you just do a general bachelors degree. What happens is when you arrive at the uni, they give you a big folder with loads of course descriptions in it (actually it's all done online now). You then pick, say, 5 courses you want to do this semester. It could be Intro to Maths, Advanced Biology, Beginners Spanish, Medieval History and Underwater Basket Weaving, or whatever. Each course that you complete gives you a certain number of credits, and you need a certain number of total credits to graduate. It takes most people four years to complete enough courses to have the sufficient number of credits, but some people take 5 years or more.

    Some of your courses will be prerequisites - ie, you don't get to choose them, they're just things you have to do. Often, you have to do one course in English, one in Maths, one in Science and one Language. Then all the remaining courses are completely up to you to choose - although sometimes there are restrictions, eg you can't do advanced biology until you've done beginners biology.

    As I said, in the second two years, you're allowed more freedom, and normally you're encouraged to pick a "major" - ie, one subject to focus on, eg Biology. So your courses might look more like Zoology, Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, Neurobiology and beginners anthropology. In this case, the first four subjects would be within your major, and the last one would just be something you're interested in doing on the side. You can also have a "minor" subject, which is one that you do several courses in but not as many as your major.

    Very occasionally, some "schools" within US unis will allow you to do an undergraduate degree in a specific subject - but normally this is something very specialist like engineering so very few students do that.

    It's all a bit confusing and very different to the UK (and the rest of the world), but you'll get used to it v quickly. It's called "liberal arts" - the idea is that students should be well rounded rather than only knowing about one thing in life. Most people enjoy having the freedom to not restrict themselves to one thing. Often, people who think they want to study one thing end up taking a course in something they've never heard of before, and decide that actually that's the thing they really want to study. However, if you're dead set on Biology and the idea of doing any other subject fills you with dread, then you might want to stay in the UK. On the other hand, if you're not ready to close off all other doors, then liberal arts is the way forward!
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    Hey John -

    I'm a little confused by your explanation as well, are you trying to differentiate between an academic degree (BA, BS) vs a professional degree (B.Eng., B.Arch.)? Yes, you usually get a Bachelor of Arts, but it's always a Bachelor of Arts (or BS/BFA/whatever) in __insert major here__. E.g., my degree will be a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment.

    For the most part, people care more about your major than your degree type; and based on what little exposure I've had to the UK system (you guys just take 'major' coursework, right?), my brain always draws parallels between majors and what UK calls "courses". In the US, students also take classwork outside their major in the form in general education requirements and electives, depending on the university. When you're allowed to start taking major coursework varies by school as well - I've been taking my major coursework spread out since freshman year.

    Anyway, Charlotte, here's my $0.02:

    1: Some schools are definitely better than others in the sciences and specifically bio. What specific "sub-field" of bio are you interested in (e.g. neuro, biochem, biomed, etc.)? If there's particular topics of interest you've read journal articles about, see what university the researchers on those articles are affiliated with.

    2: Yes, most schools will let you double major, although the procedure is different at each school.

    3: Most university admissions sites should tell you what level of math minimum they expect.

    4: The SAT and the ACT are the standard college admissions tests, essentially.

    5: You apply in the fall/winter to hear back in the spring and enter the next fall.
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    Sorry, I'm not doing a great job of explaining things here - also I don't know how familiar people are with US/UK systems already so I'm afraid of taking knowledge for granted, but also of being patronising.

    What I was trying to explain to Charlotte was the concept of a liberal arts education, because this doesn't exist in the UK, and most UK school-age students don't know what it is.

    In the UK, in your final year of school, you apply via a centralised system (UCAS) to 5 or 6 different universities to study a specific "course". As you mentioned, Lencias, this term ("course") is not used in the same way in the US. In the UK it means a specific academic subject, like Biology or History. You then study that one subject for three years - most unis will not let you do any other subjects at all (though to be fair, some unis are becoming slightly more flexible nowadays). At the end, you graduate with a BA or a BSc in Biology/History etc, and a honours classification of either 3rd, 2:2, 2:1 or 1st. This classification is awarded based on results from exams and coursework. It's not based on whether you completed a bunch of individual "courses".

    In the US, you do not apply to study a specific subject. You apply separately to many different unis. They might ask you what your expected major will be, but they don't really mind too much what you say. Once you're admitted to a uni, only then do you start choosing your subjects. Most US unis have prerequisites - so some of your choices are quite constrained. Your university experience consists of 4 years of taking lots of individual "courses" in a range of subjects - as opposed to a UK where you study just one thing for 3 years. At the end, you graduate - normally - with a BA (sometimes with honors eg *** laude). You also get a GPA, which is the *average* of all your grades for all the courses you took. You could never get a GPA in the UK, because it doesn't work by averaging courses.

    Normally a US graduate will say "I graduated from Princeton with a major in Pharmacology and a GPA of 3.7". Whereas a UK student will probably say "I graduated with a 2:1 in Pharmacology (cantab)" - ie, in America it's more about what uni you went to, rather than what you studied, and in the UK it's more about what you studied rather than what uni you went to. While you're right, Lencias, to say that in the US your major is more important than your degree type, it's equally true that your university is more important than your major. There's been a lot of fuss in the news just this week, as it happens, about a new study finding that employers really don't care what major you took - the culture in the US is that it's the overall, well-rounded university experience that's important.

    Sorry if I'm still being hopelessly unclear! There's perhaps a better explanation here: http://www.uniintheusa.com/how-why/u...4/liberal-arts
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    People who are saying there are very few universities that will fund international students- That is actually false.
    Universities like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Amherst and quite a few others will fund students (depending on family income.)
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    (Original post by Ambry)
    People who are saying there are very few universities that will fund international students- That is actually false.
    Universities like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Amherst and quite a few others will fund students (depending on family income.)
    Yes, only the universities with massive endowments (HYPS) or a sizable endowment and solid student:endowment ratio (Amherst), will fully fund international students - unfortunately, universities of this level I can count on my hands and form only a tiny percentage of US universities (not to mention how hard they are to get into). Then you have prestigious universities a tier down who have limited numbers of need-based grants for internationals - even the smaller Ivies have limited amounts of support for internationals. But for most universities, they either have to really want you/think you're really special for you to get offered anything.

    I've done the research and had the experience.

    (Original post by John Wallis)
    Sorry, I'm not doing a great job of explaining things here - also I don't know how familiar people are with US/UK systems already so I'm afraid of taking knowledge for granted, but also of being patronising.
    No worries/thanks for the explanation, John ^_^ You're right, university rep > major when talking to most people (although some people can get deep enough into it that they can be like Oh Ivy X is weaker at A then Ivy Y and U of Z...).
 
 
 
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