College in UK?

<p>Hello! I am a rising senior from the US and I'm thinking about going to college in the UK! I'm really excited about this idea but I don't really know anything about schools there. I've never been there either. I was wondering if I could get some help with a list of schools that might be good for me? I have a 3.9 GPA and above 2250 on the SAT, if that helps. I heard about some people in my school going to Scotland (Univ. of Edinburgh, St. Andrews). How are those schools? How do all these schools in the UK compare to schools in the US? Thanks so much!</p>

<p>From what I understand St. Andrews is often compared to Princeton in terms of size and academic quality, though it's much easier to get into. With your stats you probably have a good shot. Edinburgh is a slightly less selective option, as are Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Major difference with US colleges: you're expected to know what your major is right away, and concentrate on the appropriate courses much more</p>

<p>Sent from my SCH-I400 using CC</p>

<p>Hi, </p>

<p>Are you doing any AP classes at all? What grades are you on track for? Be aware that the last two years of UK high school (when UK students do something called A Levels, or (in Scotland) Highers) are considered to be equivalent to the first year of US college, so academic standards are fairly high. </p>

<p>All UK university (we call it university, not college) applications are done via UCAS</a> - Home and there's a ton of useful info out there, including on The Student Room. </p>

<p>As you have a fairly high GPA, you should be looking at the better universities. Don't look at league tables - they're a load of tosh. The most prestigious unis are in the Russell Group (broadly equivalent to the Ivy League), followed by the 1994 Group unis. Edinburgh and St Andrews are both excellent universities, albeit in very different settings (Scotland's capital vs small rural coastal town). </p>

<p>Differences include
- you need to know what subject (major) you want to study when you apply.
- You will need to write a personal statement (PS), which is very different from anything US universities ask for. Take advice on writing your PS from UK websites. Your PS is the same for all unis that you apply for, making it relatively hard to apply for different courses.
- you can only apply for 5 universities in any given year.
- It's also relatively hard (but not impossible) to switch courses once you're there - and it's certainly not the norm.
- English degrees take 3 years, whereas Scottish degrees take 4 years.
- You will almost certainly have your own room in halls, compared to the US norm of having a roommate. You will, however, share a kitchen and sometimes a bathroom.
- There's no Greek Life, but there are a wide variety of societies based around shared interests e.g. playing badminton, being on a particular course, being from Sri Lanka, or being a Muslim etc. etc. etc.
- Social life tends to revolve a lot more around alcohol and nightclubs, because the UK drinking age is 18.</p>

<p>I'm a UK student; feel free to ask any more questions you may have :)</p>

<p>The one thing to add to the above is that it's possible to apply to St Andrews outside of UCAS. They have a special application process just for US students (they need your cold hard cash).</p>

<p>Thank you SO much for your help. Yes, I am taking AP classes. I took 4 already, and got 2 5's and 2 4's. I'm taking 4 more this year. Seeing as how schools in England are only 3 years, is it unlikely for them to accept American students because our colleges are 4 years? Would it make sense to apply to schools in Scotland instead? Most of the schools I am applying to are in the US, but I would love to study in the UK. This might sound very weird, but since the social life is revolved around drinking and nightclubs, would I be able to fit in if I don't do those activities? (I am allergic to alcohol) Also, would it be difficult for me to go to top grad school (or medical school, or business school) in the US if I study in the UK? Thanks again. :) I probably have more questions coming; I am really interested in studying in the UK!</p>

<p>UnicornRainbow:</p>

<p>When British students apply to British Universities, their application is based on a set of exams they have taken called "A" levels. So when a British university looks at a foreign applicant, they want to see something similar to A levels. In the United States, the most similar exams to A levels are AP tests, so that's what they will be looking at, and that's what we end up talking about the most here. (But I think some American applicants use Advanced SAT subject tests).</p>

<p>Your 2 5's and 2 4's on AP tests will get you an interview at any British university except the highest, most selective. If you get another 5, you can think about applying even to the top universities.</p>

<p>You will need to apply for a specific subject (what we would call a "major" in the US). The people who read your personal statement and who will be interviewing are looking for someone who is committed to that subject. So that subject should probably be related to what you took AP tests in. And the British Universities will NOT be interested in all the extra-curriculars you have done that have nothing to do with your chosen subject, so don't tell them about cheerleading or whatever.</p>

<p>They will NOT be looking at your GPA, they know that this can be based on subjective factors and vary from high school to high school. They are much more interested in objective standardized measurements, such as your scores on your AP tests.</p>

<p>British social life very much centers around "the pub", or similar types of drinking establishments. If you do not go to the pub, you will not be a part of British social life. However, there is really no requirement that you drink alcohol, pubs always have nonalcoholic drinks for sale as well. You might get a little bit of good-natured teasing and joking in the British way (this is called "taking the Mickey" and isn't meant to be taken at all seriously), but nobody will demand that you drink alcohol as long as you join them in the pub and socialize with them.</p>

<p>Don't worry about this "three year" malarkey. You will get a Bachelor's degree that is just as good--or even better!--than an American four year degree. If you think about it, with all of your AP tests you could even end up skipping the first year of college if you stayed in the United States, so you would have only gone to college for four years anyway. The best way to think of it is that when someone is admitted to an English college or university, they are expected to already know all the stuff that students learn in the first year of a US college. And your AP tests will demonstrate that you have that knowledge. Your English Bachelor's degree will be just as good as any other degree, and will get you into an American grad school just as easily. I have also heard from an American parent who was very excited to discover that he would only have to pay for three years of college if his kid went to school in England!!!</p>

<p>As a <em>rough guide</em> a 5 in AP is roughly equivalent to an A at A Level, a 4 to a B, a 3 to a C and so on. That gives you a guide to the sort of universities that you should be applying for - those that want AAB - BBB at A Level. Most Russell Group universities fall into that category, although requirements vary by the course you are applying to. </p>

<p>Yes, social life does tend to revolve around nightlife, but there's no requirement to actually drink whilst you're out. Just go out, socialise with people who are drinking, but stick to lemonade yourself. All venues that serve alcohol serve non-alcoholic drinks, and there are a few non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks around, e.g. Becks Blue and Kopparberg Alcohol-Free. </p>

<p>As KEVP said, our last two years of high school (when we do A Levels) are roughly equivalent to your first year of college, hence why English degrees are three years long. So long as you have AP classes, then they will see that you have a level of competence on a par with A Level students. In fact, it's a bit easier for an international student to get into a UK university, because you pay higher tuition fees and your numbers are not capped by the government.</p>

<p>(Note that when a Brit like boomting refers to "lemonade" he means a lemon flavored soda pop. Like a Sprite or a 7up but without the lime, just lemon. Not the same thing as what we usually mean in the US when we say "lemonade".)</p>

<p>... and there was me worrying that 'coke' would translate as 'cocaine' rather than 'coca cola'!</p>

<p>While on the subject it's worth noting that cider is definitely NOT a soft drink in the UK! It tends to be VERY alcoholic apple or pear juice.</p>

<p>But also note that there are some real differences between British drinking culture and American culture.</p>

<p>Many Brits insist that American beer tastes like "chilled horse p*ss". British beers (and ales) generally have lower alcohol content and more flavor, and are generally served room temperature. Some of them have flavor so strong that folks used to American beer can't get used to them. They can be so filling and have such a low alcohol content, that it is rare for folks to get drunk (although some of the lager beers are more like American beers, and folks do drink some of these to get drunk).</p>

<p>But although you can occasionally find Brits who drink mostly for the purposes of getting drunk, this seems to me to be much more frowned upon in British culture than in America. The drinking of beer (and other alcohol) is just an adjunct to socializing. British people will socialize in a group in a pub, each taking turns to buy a round of drinks for the whole group. And again, there isn't any requirement that anyone actually drink alcohol, although it is the custom.</p>

<p>It all dates back to ancient and prehistoric Britain, where every British tribe would have a "mead hall" that was the center of its cultural life. The pub is just the modern descendant of these old mead halls.</p>

<p>The modern pub will have lots of other social functions. There will be games such as darts and a pool table, and often many other types of traditional games, or today will have electronic games. Most pubs will have a trivia quiz one night a week, and quite a few sponsor football (i.e. soccer) teams.</p>

<p>I didn't want Unocorn Rainbow to get the impression that Britain was a nation of drunkards. Many folks are drinking beverages with very low alcohol content for an appreciation of the flavor, and are really more interested in socializing in the pub than getting drunk.</p>

<p>KEVP</p>

<p>Hello, I actually from California and finished my undergraduate degree and masters in the UK. </p>

<p>But in terms of reputation lets face it...... St. Andrews is not Princeton nor it should never be mentioned in the same sentence. Its a very good school in the UK and Scotland no doubt but the reputation that you will get is not the same as Princeton. </p>

<p>Generally Americans will stick to either Scotland or London. When applying make sure to apply to schools that excel in your area i.e. economics and etc. I was an Economics major in undergraduate and focused on Oxford and London School of Economics due to its reputation. The personal statement in your UCAS should reflect what you want to study. So it would be weird to apply to different college majors (i.e. Biology, chemistry and etc) and let that reflect on the personal statement.</p>

<p>In terms of reputation from the US the rankings are generally</p>

<ol>
<li>Oxford</li>
<li>Cambridge</li>
<li>London School of Economics (mainly East Coast and West Coast)</li>
</ol>