USA Student considering UK University

Watch
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
I have currently applied to schools in both the UK and in the US (I have been born and raised in the US, although I have a UK dual citizenship which initially sparked the idea of going to University over there). I have gotten some responses and I am waiting for others. Lately I have really been leaning towards studying in the UK although I am both excited and anxious about going to an entirely different country for my undergraduate degree. I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the differences between living in the US vs UK and the differences in the experiences at Universities in the separate countries. I have a general idea of differences but there is only so much that I can get from looking online and at college websites, especially since I can't visit any of the UK colleges in person.

Any insight that you could give would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.
0
reply
A Rolling Stone
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 month ago
#2
(Original post by JLF19)
I have currently applied to schools in both the UK and in the US (I have been born and raised in the US, although I have a UK dual citizenship which initially sparked the idea of going to University over there). I have gotten some responses and I am waiting for others. Lately I have really been leaning towards studying in the UK although I am both excited and anxious about going to an entirely different country for my undergraduate degree. I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the differences between living in the US vs UK and the differences in the experiences at Universities in the separate countries. I have a general idea of differences but there is only so much that I can get from looking online and at college websites, especially since I can't visit any of the UK colleges in person.

Any insight that you could give would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.
i actually made a list of USA vs UK uni experience, note that I wrote this after work very tired so apologies for the lack of grammar and formatting!

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...1#post86764906
0
reply
RogerOxon
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 month ago
#3
(Original post by JLF19)
Any insight that you could give would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.
My son lived in the UK for the first 8 years of his life, then we moved to California. He's currently at Imperial College London, reading Mathematics and CS. He chose the UK for a few reasons, but the main one was that the UK universities didn't want to see his HS transcript, or care about anything other than AP / SAT results. The UK also allowed him to focus, and not have to take courses unrelated to his interests.

The downside can be cost, as you get to pay international fees. However, equivalent qualifications take fewer years.

I decided to pay for the UK because he could get into a much better university there than here, mainly because he (as I did at his age) had a hard time spending time on things that didn't interest him.
Last edited by RogerOxon; 1 month ago
1
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#4
(Original post by A Rolling Stone)
i actually made a list of USA vs UK uni experience, note that I wrote this after work very tired so apologies for the lack of grammar and formatting!

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...1#post86764906
thank you so much for the list, it's really helpful!
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#5
(Original post by RogerOxon)
My son lived in the UK for the first 8 years of his life, then we moved to California. He's currently at Imperial College London, reading Mathematics and CS. He chose the UK for a few reasons, but the main one was that the UK universities didn't want to see his HS transcript, or care about anything other than AP / SAT results. The UK also allowed him to focus, and not have to take courses unrelated to his interests.

The downside can be cost, as you get to pay international fees. However, equivalent qualifications take fewer years.

I decided to pay for the UK because he could get into a much better university there than here, mainly because he (as I did at his age) had a hard time spending time on things that didn't interest him.
Not having to take unrelated topics such as history (ugh history has never been for me), is a definite upside, although at the same time I am anxious about being stuck on one path without much chance to try something new. I am sure that i really enjoy my chosen area of study (math), however I wonder sometimes if there is something else that i would love more if I ever got the chance to try it, but at UK universities I would be more stictly stuck on my chosen path.
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 month ago
#6
(Original post by JLF19)
Not having to take unrelated topics such as history (ugh history has never been for me), is a definite upside, although at the same time I am anxious about being stuck on one path without much chance to try something new. I am sure that i really enjoy my chosen area of study (math), however I wonder sometimes if there is something else that i would love more if I ever got the chance to try it, but at UK universities I would be more stictly stuck on my chosen path.
Non-academically speaking, everything is smaller in the UK. It can come as quite a shock. And we don't have the same concept of distance as you guys do.
0
reply
Realitysreflexx
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#7
Report 1 month ago
#7
(Original post by RogerOxon)
My son lived in the UK for the first 8 years of his life, then we moved to California. He's currently at Imperial College London, reading Mathematics and CS. He chose the UK for a few reasons, but the main one was that the UK universities didn't want to see his HS transcript, or care about anything other than AP / SAT results. The UK also allowed him to focus, and not have to take courses unrelated to his interests.

The downside can be cost, as you get to pay international fees. However, equivalent qualifications take fewer years.

I decided to pay for the UK because he could get into a much better university there than here, mainly because he (as I did at his age) had a hard time spending time on things that didn't interest him.
There's your first cultural difference... Poshness... My astute pupil of a boy is reading for a degree.
Last edited by Realitysreflexx; 1 month ago
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#8
(Original post by Reality Check)
Non-academically speaking, everything is smaller in the UK. It can come as quite a shock. And we don't have the same concept of distance as you guys do.
I've heard the saying that "In the US, 100 years is old, but in the UK, 100 miles is far" Or something like that. Makes me crack up! Anyway, thanks for the tip.
0
reply
A Rolling Stone
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report 1 month ago
#9
(Original post by JLF19)
Not having to take unrelated topics such as history (ugh history has never been for me), is a definite upside, although at the same time I am anxious about being stuck on one path without much chance to try something new. I am sure that i really enjoy my chosen area of study (math), however I wonder sometimes if there is something else that i would love more if I ever got the chance to try it, but at UK universities I would be more stictly stuck on my chosen path.
this is why i advcoate the Scottish 4-year system - it's a half-way house between the frivolous liberal arts structure of US colleges and the inflexible one-subject 3 year English degrees where you have to drop out if you want to change subjects. In Scotland you study 3 subjects in your first year and up to 3 subjects in your second year before specialising
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#10
(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
There's your first cultural difference... Poshness... My astute pupil of a boy is reading for a degree.
Poshness... I'm a bit confused on what poshness even is... do you mind clarifying?
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#11
(Original post by RogerOxon)
The downside can be cost, as you get to pay international fees. However, equivalent qualifications take fewer years.
Actually, for me, it would be cheaper to go to the UK, even while paying international fees and taking flight costs into consideration. All but one of the schools I applied to here would be a greater financial burden!
0
reply
Realitysreflexx
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 month ago
#12
(Original post by JLF19)
I have currently applied to schools in both the UK and in the US (I have been born and raised in the US, although I have a UK dual citizenship which initially sparked the idea of going to University over there). I have gotten some responses and I am waiting for others. Lately I have really been leaning towards studying in the UK although I am both excited and anxious about going to an entirely different country for my undergraduate degree. I was wondering if anyone could tell me about the differences between living in the US vs UK and the differences in the experiences at Universities in the separate countries. I have a general idea of differences but there is only so much that I can get from looking online and at college websites, especially since I can't visit any of the UK colleges in person.

Any insight that you could give would be greatly appreciated, thank you very much.
The main differences are in the way education is delivered.

In the US you'll have lots of micro-assessments through the course of a semester. Homework, quizzes, participation grades, maybe a light final at the end equaling 30% as a big test.

Here in the UK it's more or likely you'll have one big exam at the end (whole grade) or coursework (whole grade). Unless it's a 20 credit or year long module you might have two assessments that are split 30% and 70%. What you won't have is any hand holding or taking time in class to make sure everyone is caught up. You actually get lectured at, the prof's don't exactly want you to build massive personal relationships and answer a ton of questions...(especially as you ascend up the league table/rankings). This means independent learning... Your responsibility to perform, minimal support. But loads of free time and freedom to explore other interests.

2) lack of school spirit... No one really does sports teams here, there's no Big 10, ACC rivalries...near pro athletes to cheer for. They have a BUCS league but it's more like glorified intramural with a couple kids from obscure DIII school's getting recruited....for master's who don't have more potential than not giving up the dream of playing.

3) Alot of academic reading, if you want to score highly in test's it isn't really about core texts... It's the extra reading and memorising those references where you get into higher band's of performance. Like A grades...and only about 20% of a class gets a legitimate A.
If you need to write an essay, it's basically a practiced research paper.. Not an essay, get ready to have about 30-40 references of (academic journal articles to make your case). If you write i think you've basically failed... While in America that's pretty important, they don't want it stated here... It needs to be more nuanced to prove you've understood the journal articles you've read.

4) socially it's pretty similar, but less sports events and more tight friendship groups based around drinking.

5) it's cold asf for about 7 month's. Think New York, or Maine...

But overall it's very enjoyable and you learn a hell of alot, you get a whole first year of uni that doesn't count to adjust to all the challenges and rigour... And you really become better at thinking about whatever your topic is, in a focused and deep way. Your pick a major and you go in deep. So if you study economics, in three years your kind of an economist who can be trained to do all the basic stuff and learn at work etc... Add any field. A master's is then sort of voluntary. I hardly consider someone majoring in Econ in the US anywhere near that level with just maybe 6 or 7 classes at the end lol.

My credentials for comparison.... So you know it's legit...

Dual citizen...Germany and US (dad US army mom German) Lived in America from 4 till 21...did all my HS in the US in North Carolina. Definitely have an American accent and all, though i do use some British terms when i type which is annoying lol.

Oh yeah P.S. I attended (grad in 3 months) a Russell group, which is one of the better UK uni's... (Nottingham) which i can recommend btw... If you to a crappier school...it will be alot less tough.
Last edited by Realitysreflexx; 1 month ago
0
reply
Reality Check
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#13
Report 1 month ago
#13
(Original post by JLF19)
I've heard the saying that "In the US, 100 years is old, but in the UK, 100 miles is far" Or something like that. Makes me crack up! Anyway, thanks for the tip.
Haha - yes, exactly. When I"m in the States, we'll often drive for an hour to get dinner somewhere. When I'm home in the UK, I doubt I'd drive ten minutes!

A propos meals, you'll also find that we eat much, much later than you do. Dinner often isn't until 8pm, which can come as a bit of a shock! Our food is in some ways similar and other ways very different and will take a bit of getting used to.

None of this is obviously life-changing, but it's all useful information (I hope)
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#14
(Original post by Reality Check)
Haha - yes, exactly. When I"m in the States, we'll often drive for an hour to get dinner somewhere. When I'm home in the UK, I doubt I'd drive ten minutes!

A propos meals, you'll also find that we eat much, much later than you do. Dinner often isn't until 8pm, which can come as a bit of a shock! Our food is in some ways similar and other ways very different and will take a bit of getting used to.

None of this is obviously life-changing, but it's all useful information (I hope)
Yeah I've heard about the eating later thing, and that will be a bit hard to adjust to, especially since my family eats earlier than many Americans! My evening sports practice forces us to eat around 5 half of the time so that just sets our internal clocks for the rest of the times that I don't have practice!

And it is very useful information, thank you very much!
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#15
(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
The main differences are in the way education is delivered.

In the US you'll have lots of micro-assessments through the course of a semester. Homework, quizzes, participation grades, maybe a light final at the end equaling 30% as a big test.

Here in the UK it's more or likely you'll have one big exam at the end (whole grade) or coursework (whole grade). Unless it's a 20 credit or year long module you might have two assessments that are split 30% and 70%. What you won't have is any hand holding or taking time in class to make sure everyone is caught up. You actually get lectured at, the prof's don't exactly want you to build massive personal relationships and answer a ton of questions...(especially as you ascend up the league table/rankings). This means independent learning... Your responsibility to perform, minimal support. But loads of free time and freedom to explore other interests.

2) lack of school spirit... No one really does sports teams here, there's no Big 10, ACC rivalries...near pro athletes to cheer for. They have a BUCS league but it's more like glorified intramural with a couple kids from obscure DIII school's getting recruited....for master's who don't have more potential than not giving up the dream of playing.

3) Alot of academic reading, if you want to score highly in test's it isn't really about core texts... It's the extra reading and memorising those references where you get into higher band's of performance. Like A grades...and only about 20% of a class gets a legitimate A.
If you need to write an essay, it's basically a practiced research paper.. Not an essay, get ready to have about 30-40 references of (academic journal articles to make your case). If you write i think you've basically failed... While in America that's pretty important, they don't want it stated here... It needs to be more nuanced to prove you've understood the journal articles you've read.

4) socially it's pretty similar, but less sports events and more tight friendship groups based around drinking.

5) it's cold asf for about 7 month's. Think New York, or Maine...

But overall it's very enjoyable and you learn a hell of alot, you get a whole first year of uni that doesn't count to adjust to all the challenges and rigour... And you really become better at thinking about whatever your topic is, in a focused and deep way. Your pick a major and you go in deep. So if you study economics, in three years your kind of an economist who can be trained to do all the basic stuff and learn at work etc... Add any field. A master's is then sort of voluntary. I hardly consider someone majoring in Econ in the US anywhere near that level with just maybe 6 or 7 classes at the end lol.

My credentials for comparison.... So you know it's legit...

Dual citizen...Germany and US (dad US army mom German) Lived in America from 4 till 21...did all my HS in the US in North Carolina. Definitely have an American accent and all, though i do use some British terms when i type which is annoying lol.

Oh yeah P.S. I attended (grad in 3 months) a Russell group, which is one of the better UK uni's... (Nottingham) which i can recommend btw... If you to a crappier school...it will be alot less tough.
Thank you very much for such a long and thorough answer! I am a bit anxious about having one massive exam instead of many smaller ones, do you have any tips or just to study as much as you can?
And I just have one question on your third point, I am a bit confused on what you were saying were the differences between the commonly american essays vs the UK research papers, would you mind clarifying?
Also the friendship groups based around drinking will be interesting, but I'm excited nonetheless
At least I am used to the cold since I'm from the northeast

Thank you again!
0
reply
Canary84
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#16
Report 1 month ago
#16
(Original post by JLF19)
Not having to take unrelated topics such as history (ugh history has never been for me), is a definite upside, although at the same time I am anxious about being stuck on one path without much chance to try something new. I am sure that i really enjoy my chosen area of study (math), however I wonder sometimes if there is something else that i would love more if I ever got the chance to try it, but at UK universities I would be more stictly stuck on my chosen path.
Have you had a look at dual honours or multi subject courses?
I personally have no knowledge of US system but there are usually a reasonable amount of courses where can keep options within a broad field.
E.g Maths and Econ, Maths and Computer science, Economics with languages, MORSE, and others I am sure.
Note also that on some courses/ at some unis scope of a subject will be very different, for example some maths courses may include financial mathematics as a large portion or others may exclude on basis its too applied to fit in (this is probably an exaggeration but made to show point).
0
reply
Realitysreflexx
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#17
Report 1 month ago
#17
(Original post by JLF19)
Thank you very much for such a long and thorough answer! I am a bit anxious about having one massive exam instead of many smaller ones, do you have any tips or just to study as much as you can?
And I just have one question on your third point, I am a bit confused on what you were saying were the differences between the commonly american essays vs the UK research papers, would you mind clarifying?
Also the friendship groups based around drinking will be interesting, but I'm excited nonetheless
At least I am used to the cold since I'm from the northeast

Thank you again!
Well to be honest i wouldn't worry about the essay part if your gonna be studying maths (no writing involved) or economics, for example economics has a workshop or course on how to write properly it's something you will learn to do. And that is why first year doesn't count, you just need to pass.

As far as studying goes... You'll have to work out how much time you need to get the information in. Plently of people just revise during the exam periods (about 4 weeks holidays before we come back for exams and do fine). This is highly dependent on your strengths as an individual.

The one big test or exam is the big switch, but you get used to it, and can **** up first year and learn. So nothing more than to fear really.
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#18
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#18
(Original post by Canary84)
Have you had a look at dual honours or multi subject courses?
I personally have no knowledge of US system but there are usually a reasonable amount of courses where can keep options within a broad field.
E.g Maths and Econ, Maths and Computer science, Economics with languages, MORSE, and others I am sure.
Note also that on some courses/ at some unis scope of a subject will be very different, for example some maths courses may include financial mathematics as a large portion or others may exclude on basis its too applied to fit in (this is probably an exaggeration but made to show point).
I did look into dual honors at first, except I didn't have any relevant qualifications for any other subject that I am interested in, so I was advised to just stick to math. I didn't have any relevant qualifications because I am pursuing an IB diploma at my high school, except the IB program at my school is tiny and has pretty much zero options. The only choice you get is between HL Art and HL Theater (which wasn't even a choice for me since theater was after school and I had sports after school). I decided to try for an IB Diploma before considering or looking into UK Universities so I am now stuck with HL courses that don't even remotely fit what I want to major in and I didn't have space to fit in a relevant AP class other than AP Calc since I could only take SL Math.
0
reply
JLF19
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#19
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#19
(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
Well to be honest i wouldn't worry about the essay part if your gonna be studying maths (no writing involved) or economics, for example economics has a workshop or course on how to write properly it's something you will learn to do. And that is why first year doesn't count, you just need to pass.

As far as studying goes... You'll have to work out how much time you need to get the information in. Plently of people just revise during the exam periods (about 4 weeks holidays before we come back for exams and do fine). This is highly dependent on your strengths as an individual.

The one big test or exam is the big switch, but you get used to it, and can **** up first year and learn. So nothing more than to fear really.
While I am not entirely sure what you mean by 'revise', thank you for the advice, and I will try not to stress over it too much. But if you could tell me what 'revise' means in that context, I've seen it used here before but I have no idea what it means.
0
reply
Canary84
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#20
Report 1 month ago
#20
(Original post by JLF19)
I did look into dual honors at first, except I didn't have any relevant qualifications for any other subject that I am interested in, so I was advised to just stick to math. I didn't have any relevant qualifications because I am pursuing an IB diploma at my high school, except the IB program at my school is tiny and has pretty much zero options. The only choice you get is between HL Art and HL Theater (which wasn't even a choice for me since theater was after school and I had sports after school). I decided to try for an IB Diploma before considering or looking into UK Universities so I am now stuck with HL courses that don't even remotely fit what I want to major in and I didn't have space to fit in a relevant AP class other than AP Calc since I could only take SL Math.
Firstly, most economics courses at Uk universities only require an A-level in mathematics with no pre-requisite for economics so may still be worth a look.

I am unsure how it works for IB but most prestigious Maths courses in Uk require Further Mathematics or at least strongly recommend as to reduce step up from school.
From what I understand they mostly equivalently ask for HL maths in IB but this may be incorrect
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Regarding Ofqual's most recent update, do you think you will be given a fair grade this summer?

Yes (206)
33.28%
No (413)
66.72%

Watched Threads

View All