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    Hi everyone. Before I describe my situation I will present this (please excuse my rather informal nature - I do not feel like being overly articulate today) :

    1. I am an American
    2. I am 28 years old
    3. I have been absent from academic life for 10 years
    4. My GPA from high school was a 3.4 and my SAT composite score was 1700.
    5. I am from an extremely rural area and my school did not offer AP courses at all.
    6. I can pay the international fees. The price is worth the experience and the quality of education.

    First, I understand the requirements involved with admissions as far as A-Levels and their equivalents. I also understand that universities will take special consideration in regards to mature applicants. Furthermore, I know statistics are rather different between US and UK universities so I will avoid comparing the two. I apologize for any redundancies.

    I have applied to five universities for BSc Geography (L800) Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Dundee, Stirling (Environmental Geography), and York. I deferred my start to the 2017/18 academic year.

    I have an extremely strong personal statement and reference. Without going into detail I have an "inspirational" story explaining my life away from education and my journey back. I am aware my lack of qualifications leave something to be desired. Obviously the smart option would be attending university in the US. Then I assume I will be told to consider a year abroad as an option. However, this is not going to get me where I want to be.

    So given this information would anyone be able to provide a little insight on some of my expectations as far as who might make me an offer? I would imagine it would be either an unconditional offer or a rejection as there are really no conditions applicable save them recommending an access or foundation year. I know every case is different and no circumstance is exactly the same.

    I presume mature-international students are far and few between and finding relevant testimonies has been...impossible.

    Is there any possibility I will be offered a place at any of these universities or should I expect rejections overall? I would choose to think positively but I would like some honest opinions.

    Thanks!
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    Bluntly if you are paying International fees I think there's a reasonable chance you will get some offers

    When did you do the SAT?

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Bluntly if you are paying International fees I think there's a reasonable chance you will get some offers

    When did you do the SAT?

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    Thank you jneill. Ten years ago.
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    So it may help anyone who might be in a similar circumstance I will update this as I receive responses from the universities.

    10/3 I got an unconditional offer from Aberystwyth.
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    (Original post by Peacefrog1987)

    I have an extremely strong personal statement and reference. Without going into detail I have an "inspirational" story explaining my life away from education and my journey back. I am aware my lack of qualifications leave something to be desired. Obviously the smart option would be attending university in the US. Then I assume I will be told to consider a year abroad as an option. However, this is not going to get me where I want to be.
    Hi

    It's great to hear you already have an offer, and as jneill said, paying international fees will often help It helps that you've chosen a course and universities that aren't going to be that popular with international students.

    The paragraph I've highlighted is what concerns me the most. A personal statement is very different to a US college essay- and this "inspirational story" may not work in the PS for all universities. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for US applicants, because as I understand it, US colleges are looking for very different things compared to UK universities. That said, if your PS still highlights your interest in the subject, it might be fine. Equally, if unis like other parts of your application, they may not be too concerned about your PS.

    Good Luck with your other choices, and hopefully you will get more offers soon.
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    Oh my story was an example how I am a direct product of my geography. The focus of the statement was my interest in the subject and my suitability for the program. It just so happened I was able to use the story as an example. Thanks for the insight though...gives me an idea of what to expect from the other universities.
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    I can't really help to much, but just thought that I'd mention I applied this year as a mature student, and was worried somehow I wouldn't get a fair crack at it just because I'm 'mature'. Turns out at every step of the way, every single university has been really encouraging.

    I mean apart from our ages, our situations are totally different, but I just wanted to say I think universities actually tend to really like mature students, so you can maybe feel positive while waiting.
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    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    I mean apart from our ages, our situations are totally different, but I just wanted to say I think universities actually tend to really like mature students, so you can maybe feel positive while waiting.
    Well thank you for that! That does help. I am glad to hear you had such a positive experience. It has been extremely frustrating but this place has been very helpful.
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    (Original post by Peacefrog1987)
    Well thank you for that! That does help. I am glad to hear you had such a positive experience. It has been extremely frustrating but this place has been very helpful.
    I'm curious why you applied to those specific universities? I wouldn't have thought they would be on an American's radar. Personally I don't think they're worth paying international fees for, but that's just me.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I'm curious why you applied to those specific universities? I wouldn't have thought they would be on an American's radar. Personally I don't think they're worth paying international fees for, but that's just me.
    I am not a typical American. My qualifications left something to be desired. I knew I was relying on the strength of my personal statement and reference. I wasn't going to match up to high quality applicants at "better" universities but I knew geography might not be the most popular course for international students.

    I tried to level the playing field before I even started playing the game.

    I thought the universities seemed appealing. I plan on continuing through to a masters and I believe it's how you do as a student IMHO...same thing in the US. I am hoping for Aberdeen to offer me a place.

    Tuition in the US isn't cheap either. To go to a nice university where they actually provide a decent geography course (Americans don't care about geography) I would be paying nearly 18,000 USD and paying more for rent and cost of living in say a city like Pittsburgh than I would at any place in Scotland, Wales, or anywhere that isn't London really. I'm paying about the same..maybe a bit more...for an experience I have dreamed about having since I was young.
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    (Original post by Peacefrog1987)
    I am not a typical American. My qualifications left something to be desired. I knew I was relying on the strength of my personal statement and reference. I wasn't going to match up to high quality applicants at "better" universities but I knew geography might not be the most popular course for international students.

    I tried to level the playing field before I even started playing the game.

    I thought the universities seemed appealing. I plan on continuing through to a masters and I believe it's how you do as a student IMHO...same thing in the US. I am hoping for Aberdeen to offer me a place.

    Tuition in the US isn't cheap either. To go to a nice university where they actually provide a decent geography course (Americans don't care about geography) I would be paying nearly 18,000 USD and paying more for rent and cost of living in say a city like Pittsburgh than I would at any place in Scotland, Wales, or anywhere that isn't London really. I'm paying about the same..maybe a bit more...for an experience I have dreamed about having since I was young.
    You are right that better universities probably would not accept someone with no recent qualifications, but you could have applied for a BSc Geography with foundation year degree, I know the Durham does one (a very good university), but never mind. Tuition in the US is actually cheaper at state public universities, and the cost of living is probably cheaper too.

    I think you should do something to prepare, do an online MOOC or something. University in the UK is going to be a shock to the system, but it will be even more difficult if you haven't done any recent study. I have a PDF book you might be interested in reading; it's not directly related to geography but its designed to give students a general introduction into the sciences (including earth sciences), so it might help you a bit.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    You are right that better universities probably would not accept someone with no recent qualifications, but you could have applied for a BSc Geography with foundation year degree, I know the Durham does one (a very good university), but never mind. Tuition in the US is actually cheaper at state public universities, and the cost of living is probably cheaper too.

    I think you should do something to prepare, do an online MOOC or something. University in the UK is going to be a shock to the system, but it will be even more difficult if you haven't done any recent study. I have a PDF book you might be interested in reading; it's not directly related to geography but its designed to give students a general introduction into the sciences (including earth sciences), so it might help you a bit.
    Thank you for the suggestion. That would be absolutely wonderful - I would love to read through it!. I am a little anxious about course work but I have faith I'll manage. I deferred my entry to 2017 so I have plenty of time to prepare. I considered taking a class or two at Penn State University to reacquaint myself with the academic life. I am waiting to see what offers I get and then ask the university's advice.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    You are right that better universities probably would not accept someone with no recent qualifications, but you could have applied for a BSc Geography with foundation year degree, I know the Durham does one (a very good university), but never mind. Tuition in the US is actually cheaper at state public universities, and the cost of living is probably cheaper too.

    I think you should do something to prepare, do an online MOOC or something. University in the UK is going to be a shock to the system, but it will be even more difficult if you haven't done any recent study. I have a PDF book you might be interested in reading; it's not directly related to geography but its designed to give students a general introduction into the sciences (including earth sciences), so it might help you a bit.
    It sounds like the OP has researched all his options fully, so if he wants to spend his money on studying in Scotland or Wales partly for the "experience" then surely that's up to him?

    (Original post by Peacefrog1987)
    Thank you for the suggestion. That would be absolutely wonderful - I would love to read through it!. I am a little anxious about course work but I have faith I'll manage. I deferred my entry to 2017 so I have plenty of time to prepare. I considered taking a class or two at Penn State University to reacquaint myself with the academic life. I am waiting to see what offers I get and then ask the university's advice.
    I think taking a couple of classes at your local university would be a great idea, if the cost won't be a problem. In fact, doing this first might have made your application stronger, so it might be something to consider if you decide you're not happy with the offers you get and want to reapply.

    With what you said about your PS, without reading it, obviously I can't be sure, but it still sounds a bit unusual for UK applications. That said, some admissions tutors may really like it and it doesn't sound so off the wall that it will get you rejections. It's just something I've seen before with US students, who I've talked to on here in the past.
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    It sounds like the OP has researched all his options fully, so if he wants to spend his money on studying in Scotland or Wales partly for the "experience" then surely that's up to him?
    It is up to him, but there's no harm in expressing my own opinion.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    It is up to him, but there's no harm in expressing my own opinion.
    There's no harm in expressing your opinion, but the OP clearly said the cost of living would be more expensive, and you're saying you think it would be cheaper based on what?
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    There's no harm in expressing your opinion, but the OP clearly said the cost of living would be more expensive, and you're saying you think it would be cheaper based on what?
    I don't know what state the OP lives in, but let's assume its Pennsylvania. Penn State estimates a total cost of $34,598 (£24,186) per year, that covers tuition fees, accommodation, food, books, everything really. International fees at Aberdeen are £17,200. The cheapest catered accommodation I could find at Aberdeen was £154 a week (39 weeks). Aberdeen also anticipates students will need an additional £200 a month to pay for lunches (which are not included in the accommodation cost), travel, and other general living costs. So that's a total of £25,206 - and that does not include the cost of books or flights home!

    Paying a bit more to have an international experience and to receive a higher quality of education are perfectly good reasons for coming to the UK. However, considering that all British universities outside London cost about the same, I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity not applying to more prestigious and internationally recognised universities.
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    I think taking a couple of classes at your local university would be a great idea, if the cost won't be a problem. In fact, doing this first might have made your application stronger, so it might be something to consider if you decide you're not happy with the offers you get and want to reapply.

    With what you said about your PS, without reading it, obviously I can't be sure, but it still sounds a bit unusual for UK applications. That said, some admissions tutors may really like it and it doesn't sound so off the wall that it will get you rejections. It's just something I've seen before with US students, who I've talked to on here in the past.
    Yes, I imagine that would have strengthened my application, but it would be a year's worth of tuition wasted when I couldn't guarantee the classes would be applicable to UK programs - I thought I'd take my chances with my current stats quo. If I hadn't got an offer I would have defaulted to that plan.

    I am happy to have received one offer so far. I am planning on continuing to a masters so if need be I'll apply to another university for that program when the time comes.

    I am certain it is completely different than the standard UK personal statement or at least different. They express a need to make it stand out but one would assume they have read almost every variation of books quoted, facts presented, and statistics rambled Have been done. If all the ideas in the box have been used I have to think outside of it. I would think most mature applicants don't have any recent qualifications.

    That is the ONLY thing I can say I like about American university applications better. That defining who you are is more important than your academics. Well not entirely, but much more than the UK or so it seems. However, the U.K. has a superior system by far ad there doesn't seem to be as much educational diversity in earlier stages. Our country is entirely different from one state to the next, even one town to the next...as is the education.
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    (Original post by Peacefrog1987)
    Yes, I imagine that would have strengthened my application, but it would be a year's worth of tuition wasted when I couldn't guarantee the classes would be applicable to UK programs - I thought I'd take my chances with my current stats quo. If I hadn't got an offer I would have defaulted to that plan.

    I am happy to have received one offer so far. I am planning on continuing to a masters so if need be I'll apply to another university for that program when the time comes.

    I am certain it is completely different than the standard UK personal statement or at least different. They express a need to make it stand out but one would assume they have read almost every variation of books quoted, facts presented, and statistics rambled Have been done. If all the ideas in the box have been used I have to think outside of it. I would think most mature applicants don't have any recent qualifications.

    That is the ONLY thing I can say I like about American university applications better. That defining who you are is more important than your academics. Well not entirely, but much more than the UK or so it seems. However, the U.K. has a superior system by far ad there doesn't seem to be as much educational diversity in earlier stages. Our country is entirely different from one state to the next, even one town to the next...as is the education.
    Sometimes, you just have to jump through the hoops and fit inside the box

    I'm glad you're happy with the offer you've got so far, and I hope you get some more. You're right in thinking that many mature applicants don't have recent qualifications, but it's becoming more common for these applicants to take an access course or a foundation year or some OU courses before their undergraduate degree, although lots still apply without this. Most UK universities are really supportive of mature applicants with non-traditional backgrounds though, so often they'll look for reasons to make you an offer, not reject you.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I don't know what state the OP lives in, but let's assume its Pennsylvania. Penn State estimates a total cost of $34,598 (£24,186) per year, that covers tuition fees, accommodation, food, books, everything really. International fees at Aberdeen are £17,200. The cheapest catered accommodation I could find at Aberdeen was £154 a week (39 weeks). Aberdeen also anticipates students will need an additional £200 a month to pay for lunches (which are not included in the accommodation cost), travel, and other general living costs. So that's a total of £25,206 - and that does not include the cost of books or flights home!

    Paying a bit more to have an international experience and to receive a higher quality of education are perfectly good reasons for coming to the UK. However, considering that all British universities outside London cost about the same, I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity not applying to more prestigious and internationally recognised universities.
    State College, the town in which Penn State is located, is a bit of an outlier/anomaly due to its rural proximity to nothing. I live about 45 minutes from the university so you were bang on with Pennsylvania. It has the luxury of having the lower cost of living due to its location. That accommodation is for on-campus university owned property. Most students rent an apartment for the majority of their studies.

    Another factor you wouldn't think of is transportation. Other than cities...we don't have public transportation readily available...you need to have a vehicle. Everything is at least an hour's drive away and roughly 3 hours between cities if not more. If you don't your experience would be severely limited because the only transport really would be local (if you are in a city) - I am from a town of 352 people, the next town over has 3,000 roughly, and our county center has 10,000 maybe. The nearest train station is an hour away, there are no taxis, and buses are limited...the closest depot to myself is a half hour away..

    I have rambled quite profusely I will end this reply. Just wanted to highlight a major downside of America...it is big...and it isn't accessible.

    I apologize for my terrible grammar usage and lack of focus. I am on a trip driving down south at the moment and half of my attention is on the road signs helping with directions.
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    (Original post by SlowlorisIncognito)
    Sometimes, you just have to jump through the hoops and fit inside the box
    Probably my stubborn American spirit I suppose.


    Does anyone have a suggestion which university might be the best overall for my circumstance? Granted I get any more offers.
 
 
 
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