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My chances of applying to US universities from UK?

Hi there,

I am a second-year sixth form student in the UK and was thinking of applying to a few top unis from the US (Princeton, Yale, Stanford etc)
My GCSE are a bit disappointing as I only have 2A*, 6A 1B, and 1D, however, I'm on track to get 3A* for my a levels.
Do you guys think I have any decent shot at applying for these unis when I take a gap year or is it a dead end?

Thank you.

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Grades are only part of a US application. Extracurriculars, volunteer and essays also matter. I think you have a shot with 3 A* predicted grades though. Do bear in mind though, acceptances do have some element of randomness, and academic merit isn't the only factors. I'd be happy to answer any other questions.
(edited 2 years ago)
Hi, I've moved your thread to the Studying in North America forum. As above, applying to college in the US is more than just academics (unlike in the UK where they tend to be the overriding concern). However, they will consider your GCSEs holistically with your A-level grades and having weaker GCSEs definitely will hurt your application (whereas most UK universities don't really care about them if you have passes in maths and English at GCSE).

I think no matter what you should consider applying to the US a lottery ticket, and not really expect anything from it and consider it a bonus if you do get an admittance.
Reply 3
Original post by penguingirl18
Grades are only part of a US application. Extracurriculars, volunteer and essays also matter. I think you have a shot with 3 A* predicted grades though. Do bear in mind though, acceptances do have some element of randomness, and academic merit isn't the only factors. I'd be happy to answer any other questions.

Yeah that makes sense. from what I have researched, US unis are much more expensive than UK, would you say there are enough benefits from going to US that would outweigh these increases costs or am I better off just applying to UK only? (especially considering that just applying to US unis comes with a cost too)
thank a lot for the reply btw
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
Hi, I've moved your thread to the Studying in North America forum. As above, applying to college in the US is more than just academics (unlike in the UK where they tend to be the overriding concern). However, they will consider your GCSEs holistically with your A-level grades and having weaker GCSEs definitely will hurt your application (whereas most UK universities don't really care about them if you have passes in maths and English at GCSE).

I think no matter what you should consider applying to the US a lottery ticket, and not really expect anything from it and consider it a bonus if you do get an admittance.

Yeah I agree. would you say I should aim for the higher unis or not bother due to my GCSE grades?
thanks a bunch for replying.
Original post by musti1275
Yeah that makes sense. from what I have researched, US unis are much more expensive than UK, would you say there are enough benefits from going to US that would outweigh these increases costs or am I better off just applying to UK only? (especially considering that just applying to US unis comes with a cost too)
thank a lot for the reply btw

Hmm, that's hard to say. You can apply for financial aid, but not all top unis offer need-blind admissions for international students, and it would still be much more expensive than a UK uni. What subject would you want to major in? Is being able to study multiple subjects important to you? The culture is also a bit different: independence is much less emphasized; you'll have a roommate for minimum your first year, and food is at mealtimes in a dining hall. As I understand, the stereotypes about the American college experience are pretty true. I would say first figure out if the price is affordable with a financial aid calculator (you'll find it on the uni's financial aid page) and then weigh the benefits of the alternate education style. Would you likely be accepted to a top UK uni? (Also, check out which UK unis might have a study abroad program with a top US uni, if you'd be interested in that.)
Original post by musti1275
Yeah I agree. would you say I should aim for the higher unis or not bother due to my GCSE grades?
thanks a bunch for replying.


I mean unless your parents are oil barons with half a million pounds lying around to pay the fees you kind of have to aim for the "elite" colleges because they are the only ones you have any hope of getting a good (i.e. full or near full) financial aid package from. This is the other part of the equation you may have neglected to consider - you do not get any funding from SFE to study in the US, and you are not eligible for the US equivalent federal funding.

So you are entirely relying on the college you apply to meeting your financial need, and only the "top" colleges commit to meeting all demonstrated financial need (and of those even fewer are need blind i.e. make admissions decisions not considering your financial need). So you could apply to a lower ranked US college but chances are you will not get a good financial aid package and will be unable to afford studying at that offering college anyway and thus be forced to decline the offer...
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 7
Original post by penguingirl18
Hmm, that's hard to say. You can apply for financial aid, but not all top unis offer need-blind admissions for international students, and it would still be much more expensive than a UK uni. What subject would you want to major in? Is being able to study multiple subjects important to you? The culture is also a bit different: independence is much less emphasized; you'll have a roommate for minimum your first year, and food is at mealtimes in a dining hall. As I understand, the stereotypes about the American college experience are pretty true. I would say first figure out if the price is affordable with a financial aid calculator (you'll find it on the uni's financial aid page) and then weigh the benefits of the alternate education style. Would you likely be accepted to a top UK uni? (Also, check out which UK unis might have a study abroad program with a top US uni, if you'd be interested in that.)


I want to major in Economics and potentially study management on the side too. Im fairly confident that I can get into some UK universities ( Warwick, Bath, LSE) but I've heard US unis provide a much bigger scope of employment in the financial sector so thats why i was interested. I will definitely look at the financial calculators and the study abroad option. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out, I really appreciate it.
Reply 8
Original post by artful_lounger
I mean unless your parents are oil barons with half a million pounds lying around to pay the fees you kind of have to aim for the "elite" colleges because they are the only ones you have any hope of getting a good (i.e. full or near full) financial aid package from. This is the other part of the equation you may have neglected to consider - you do not get any funding from SFE to study in the US, and you are not eligible for the US equivalent federal funding.

So you are entirely relying on the college you apply to meeting your financial need, and only the "top" colleges commit to meeting all demonstrated financial need (and of those even fewer are need blind i.e. make admissions decisions not considering your financial need). So you could apply to a lower ranked US college but chances are you will not get a good financial aid package and will be unable to afford studying at that offering college anyway and thus be forced to decline the offer...

hmm I didnt know that, Thanks for the information. I guess I would have to apply to the top unis and hope for the best.
Original post by musti1275
I want to major in Economics and potentially study management on the side too. Im fairly confident that I can get into some UK universities ( Warwick, Bath, LSE) but I've heard US unis provide a much bigger scope of employment in the financial sector so thats why i was interested. I will definitely look at the financial calculators and the study abroad option. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out, I really appreciate it.

Happy to help. :smile: I'm not familiar with US/UK financial employment prospects. Try asking on CollegeConfidential, a US site (but ignore the function it has to calculate your chances at acceptance; it really doesn't mean anything). Also, sometimes slightly smaller US unis have better recruitment for business firms (off the top of my head, I think UMichigan and Wake Forest are among them), so you might look into that. Best of luck.
There's no point in studying in America at the undergraduate level. You'll get into finance just fine going to a UK university.
Reply 11
Original post by penguingirl18
Happy to help. :smile: I'm not familiar with US/UK financial employment prospects. Try asking on CollegeConfidential, a US site (but ignore the function it has to calculate your chances at acceptance; it really doesn't mean anything). Also, sometimes slightly smaller US unis have better recruitment for business firms (off the top of my head, I think UMichigan and Wake Forest are among them), so you might look into that. Best of luck.

Thanks a world.
Original post by musti1275
Hi there,

I am a second-year sixth form student in the UK and was thinking of applying to a few top unis from the US (Princeton, Yale, Stanford etc)
My GCSE are a bit disappointing as I only have 2A*, 6A 1B, and 1D, however, I'm on track to get 3A* for my a levels.
Do you guys think I have any decent shot at applying for these unis when I take a gap year or is it a dead end?

Thank you.

It'a zero mate.

I've been to America. I understand America universities very well, it's a totally wack system!!

Do a four year course in a uk university which should include a year abroad. The year abroad could be in an american university. Go for that route
Original post by Quiet Benin
It'a zero mate.

I've been to America. I understand America universities very well, it's a totally wack system!!

Do a four year course in a uk university which should include a year abroad. The year abroad could be in an american university. Go for that route

I'm deciding between UK unis and a top-20 US university right now. What do you mean by the US system being wack? Did you attend a US uni, and what was your experience?
Original post by Anonymous
I'm deciding between UK unis and a top-20 US university right now. What do you mean by the US system being wack? Did you attend a US uni, and what was your experience?

If you want the American University experience, go to a Scottish university.
Original post by Anonymous
I'm deciding between UK unis and a top-20 US university right now. What do you mean by the US system being wack? Did you attend a US uni, and what was your experience?

Different grading system. I have never been to an american university. I spent a summer in america in 2018 and i stayed in a college-like dorm. The americans are way different to us in terms of everything. I was working in an hotel where i shared with students who were doing an equivalent american apprenticeship as part their own modules in a nearby university.

I was nearly going to apply for a masters in 2019 in america, and i realised it just wouldn't be the same. You could try scottish or welsh or even an european university. The americans are very anti immigrant and i went during Trump's Presidency!!!
Reply 16
Original post by musti1275
hmm I didnt know that, Thanks for the information. I guess I would have to apply to the top unis and hope for the best.

Right, lets get a few useless myths out of the way.
There's well over 50 US Universities that might provide enough financial aid for you to attend at a cost that's affordable for your family in their calculation. Try out a few net price calculators (without saying you're international, just pick a random US state for residence or it won't work for you.) In most cases they are accurate (I was admitted to 3 US colleges, they all came in within a few hundred dollars of the calculators, and all of them worked out cheaper than UK Unis for me.
I hade good grades but not stellar, a few decent activities and good essays. None of the Universities were in the top 10 (Ivys and such), but all were top 50 or so, meaningless as that stat is.
So check that the colleges you're interested in meet full need for internationals, and DO NOT worry about the need-blind/need-aware terminology. It's pretty useless- if a college is interested in you, it won't matter. It only really applies for borderline candidates, maybe less that 10% of the internationals admitted. There's a very useful financial aid guide in the sticky posts, definetely have a look at that!

As far as working in Finance, I'd say it's the US colleges are not necessarily an advantage. LSE (especially) and Warwick economics would be as good as getting you into the door as any US school. Yes, Harvard or Yale are great for placement, but you're not American so you'd more likely have to look for a job in the city of london anyway because of visa issues. And there's plenty of American Investment banks and funds in the UK.
If you decide to apply to the US it should be more of a choice based on a less specialised, broader style of education, and the Campus colture and lifestyle. The end results for a job will be similar, but the process of learning at Uni is quite different- dive deeper into how the US system works and see if it would suit you better. I much prefer it, it's more varied, free and interesting, but others feel the opposite. Horses for courses.
GL
Original post by Quiet Benin
Different grading system. I have never been to an american university. I spent a summer in america in 2018 and i stayed in a college-like dorm. The americans are way different to us in terms of everything. I was working in an hotel where i shared with students who were doing an equivalent american apprenticeship as part their own modules in a nearby university.

I was nearly going to apply for a masters in 2019 in america, and i realised it just wouldn't be the same. You could try scottish or welsh or even an european university. The americans are very anti immigrant and i went during Trump's Presidency!!!


Uh, what? I'm American and that's definitely not true. Not sure why you think Americans are totally different than Brits either.
Original post by Quiet Benin
Different grading system. I have never been to an american university. I spent a summer in america in 2018 and i stayed in a college-like dorm. The americans are way different to us in terms of everything. I was working in an hotel where i shared with students who were doing an equivalent american apprenticeship as part their own modules in a nearby university.

I was nearly going to apply for a masters in 2019 in america, and i realised it just wouldn't be the same. You could try scottish or welsh or even an european university. The americans are very anti immigrant and i went during Trump's Presidency!!!

Not true (just a different way of assessing students). Random anecdotes are not useful, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of places in the uk where non-brits are disliked. I have no idea why you would consider this to be thougtful advice, but good for you if you wanted to stay here, and I hope you enjoy it!
Original post by Quiet Benin
Different grading system. I have never been to an american university. I spent a summer in america in 2018 and i stayed in a college-like dorm. The americans are way different to us in terms of everything. I was working in an hotel where i shared with students who were doing an equivalent american apprenticeship as part their own modules in a nearby university.

I was nearly going to apply for a masters in 2019 in america, and i realised it just wouldn't be the same. You could try scottish or welsh or even an european university. The americans are very anti immigrant and i went during Trump's Presidency!!!


So you admit that you've never been to a US university, yet give these takes? What you've said is flat out not true - especially for UK students.

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