Thinking about going to American Uni?? Watch
-You've got the opportunity to explore your interests as in you're not required to apply for a certain course, you just apply to the university (Note: this may be a con in your eyes if you're not interesting in taking a broad range of classes and/or already know what you want to major in).
-You'll have the opportunity to live/explore a different country?
-More fun (i.e.school spirit)? As in a lot of colleges in the US are big on sports and what not (only applies if you're into that sort of stuff)
-FINANCES (i.e. tuition, room and board): university tuition is crazy high in the US! Especially the tuition of out of state public and private colleges. Top colleges are in the $50K-65K/year range (tuition, room & board, personal expenses etc). That is extremely high compared to the resident rate of British universities (9000 pounds/year). I would seriously think this part of things over, A LOT. You definitely don't want to go in a lot of debt just to go to uni in the US, totally not worth it IMO. With that being said, there are a select few very selective colleges that offer to meet 100% of financial need (as defined by them) of international students and are need blind. There are more colleges that offer to meet 100% of financial need (solely based on income, assetc etc, NOT grades and achievements) but they are need aware and as such will take your (parents) financial situation into consideration when assessing your application, so needing financial aid does in a way hinder your chances . If you think you're a viable candidate for any of those colleges that meet 100% of need and your parents are willing to pay (the EFC) or you believe you'll qualify for financial need than consider studying in the US.
1) Plenty of big, brand-name colleges known worldwide and with that comes excellent networking opportunities and careers services.
2) A different country to explore and experience and may benefit you in the long run.
1) Whilst there are plenty of clubs and societies, they are not necessarily "all-inclusive". This is especially true for sports where of course for the Varsity Teams it's impossible to get onto them unless you were scouted beforehand. It's not like in the UK where say the Football or Rugby team will 1st, 2nd, 3rd teams etc giving everyone a chance to play. This is also the same for "club sports" and it is not uncommon for sports clubs to have "tryouts" for the first week or two before asking people to leave who "don't make the cut". Although I play on the Rugby team (postgrads can't play American Football) I have found many "club sports" are simply not open for general members. This suggests to me that sport is either seen as incredibly competitive and/or not particularly inclusive. This makes it all the more baffling given my college is not really renowned for its sporting prowess.
2) Money, money, money, moneeeyyyyy! Everything revolves around money not just in the college but wider city,community, society etc. If you can afford it all then great if not make sure you can get financial aid or a loan.
3) In my experience and as Brit, I find people at college and in the city in general not to be particularly warm or friendly. Given that I have encountered hardly any other Brits it can be quite a lonely experience. Maybe at undergrad this won't be an issue but as a postgrad I have not considered this to be a "mind-blowing" experience.
4) Other things which don't really satisfy me i.e. I don't find the atmosphere particularly stimulating, nobody is particularly helpful although some of the Profs I have met have been wonderful, others aren't so. Facilities are not brilliant and I would have expected more from such a reputable world-class university i.e. can never get a copy of the book you need meaning you need to go out and spend money to buy it.
However although I can name far more cons than pros I accept that is just my view and don't wish to impose them on anyone else. Further more I would say the pro of attending a world-class university with excellent careers/networking services is far more important and should be overriding decision. Of course university life is about having fun but say if I had the choice between a reputable Ivy League and a college in the UK in a "fun city" like say Sheffield or Leeds, I would choose the Ivy League as whilst it may not necessarily be as "fun" as Leeds or Sheffield it would certainly be a 100 times more reputable. Also university life is what you make of it and I find ways to keep myself busy/entertained and enjoy the experience. I'm not exactly curled up in the corner of an empty room.
But if you are lucky enough to get an offer from one of the top US colleges i.e. Ivies, MIT, Stanford, Chicago, Duke, Caltech, Berkeley, Michigan, Northwestern, UCLA, then it would certainly be worth the effort to make the trip across the pond.