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Navigating a Very Different Admission System in the UK...Help Provided

UK HelpersUK Helpers 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
After a two year journey our oldest daughter will start St Andrews in the Fall. She nor we entered into this decision lightly. In the end, we felt the UK was best suited for her to study English Literature over the US options. She is thrilled with her choice and beyond excited to be attending such a wonderful university. That being said, we started the process of investigating UK universities and programs of study two years ago. What struck us was the dearth of information available to US parents and students about the admissions process, standards, academic programs, etc. We managed to dig out quite a bit in that time - some through helpful posts on this site. The rest was filled in through visits, consultations with friends and academics in the UK, email inquiries, and other web based research. Given that our daughter applied to four institutions through the UCAS and received unconditional offers from all four we think we have a pretty good idea of the process and options for students applying there.

We are wanting to give back some of what we have learned to our fellow Americans, so for parents or students feel free to post your questions. We don't know everything but I can promise we are far more informed than 99.99 percent of college counselors in the US.
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Replies to: Navigating a Very Different Admission System in the UK...Help Provided

  • cupcakecupcake 1688 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,703 Senior Member
    What information did you feel you were missing, given the extensive information available on line? St Andrews bends over backwards to recruit US students (and their money) so what are they doing wrong?

    In the UK parents are in general much much less involved with the activities of their adult children compared to the US, so I don't think there is very much information specifically labelled as for parents only. The student is the applicant, and the process is aimed at them. Once your D enrols don't expect the college to contact you (ever). They will probably send all information to the student.

    Do you object to being lumped with other international students? Is it unacceptable that US students are not treated as special cases? Do you feel that the information for international students excludes you?
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  • versayseaversaysea 48 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    @cupcake why should US students be treated as 'special cases'?
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  • cupcakecupcake 1688 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,703 Senior Member
    Well they are not, and cannot deal with it. Usually all information is available in a website section labelled "international students". But US students appear for the most part to be unable to use this because they think it doesn't apply to them.
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  • UK HelpersUK Helpers 1 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Not sure what you mean. SA has been wonderful. My whole point was the process of sorting out the UK Admissions system and application process for US students can be daunting. It has absolutely nothing to do with the level if information or help provided by the institutions.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41317 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,762 Senior Member
    I think your offer is nice and I hope parents will take advantage of it.
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    We are okay so far on admissions, but what do you all think of this. UK college says:

    Provided: duvet
    Not Provided: linens

    I assume we provide sheets and a comforter/duvet cover and they provide the comforter? Are towels linens? As a side note Son is 6'6". I wonder what the chances are of the beds being x-long twins?????
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    The beds are not x-long twins- sorry!

    You are right about the sheets and the duvet cover. Towels are linens. When you get there you are likely to find a regular single bed and a very tired pillow and duvet on top of it. We used the duvet as a mattress pad and picked up a new duvet & pillow locally :-)
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    @collegemom3717 - Thanks....that is what I thought.

    Current plan is for son to go on his own and then H and I are visiting 3 weeks later after he figures out what he needs. He has a few months to learn how to sleep in the fetal position! Yikes. I suppose we should request a room with a taller ceiling :)

    @UK Helpers -Thanks for the offer to share your learnings. Sorry I hijacked your thread.
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  • cupcakecupcake 1688 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,703 Senior Member
    @Kajon If your son in staying in older accommodation you may not be joking about low ceilings (and showers, and doorways). People were not so tall in the past.
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  • boomtingboomting 689 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 716 Member
    @Kajon - re the height issue, I have a tall relative (a little over 6') who has to duck every time he walks through a door at his mother's (UK) house to avoid hitting his head (though ceilings are fine!). However, that house is from the 1840s ;) It's only going to be an issue if it's seriously old accommodation, and there are few student halls in the UK old enough to present a serious issue with ceilings.
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  • KaffeineKittyKaffeineKitty 136 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    Thanks for the offer- my daughter(who will be a senior next year) and I have been investigating UK unis for about a year now. This summer we are touring/attending open days at Glasgow, St. Andrew's, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester, and Trinity College Dublin(not UK, I know).
    Any advice/tips for while we are there?
    Also and tips on the application process?
    I'm sure I will the of more questions, but I will start with that,
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41317 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,762 Senior Member
    You may want to include Durham ("college" system); Warwick if she's interested in economics, finance, or math.
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  • KaffeineKittyKaffeineKitty 136 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    She considered Warwick and Durham, and decided against each for various reasons---
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  • arabicbyuarabicbyu 21 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    What are the requirements for international students being admitted into UK universities? My son wants to study Arabic at SOAS University of London or perhaps Manchester University.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    One of the great things about the UK system is that they have very specific and comprehensive info online. Go to the website, put in the course you want and it will tell you the UK requirements. For Arabic at SOAS, that info is here; click on 'alternative entry requirements' for international qualifications and you will see that they want a GPA of 3.0 or better, plus scores of 4,4,5 on UCAS "A" APs (you can find the breakdown of APs here); if you read down you will see that they prefer that one of those APs to be in a foreign language. You will find the same info for all unis, though sometimes you have to click around to find the international equivalents, which vary more than you might think by uni
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  • alcibiadealcibiade 561 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 586 Member
    @Kajon where is your big son going? (Just curious.)
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  • cupcakecupcake 1688 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,703 Senior Member
    As collegemom says, the UK application process is very simple, and consists of a single form. Excessive detail of entry requirements is provided online for most courses. You just have to be able to deal with the fact it is not the same as the US.
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