How does a US student get into University of Edinburgh?

Hi! I’m a high school junior from nyc and I recently became interested in the University of Edinburgh. I looked on their website to figure out what they are looking for in US applicants and I’m a little confused by it. They only mention testing scores and the number of APs you take. I have a 1420 superscore for my sat and my school doesn’t offer AP classes. What do I need to do to get in? Does the university look at your gpa?

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There are other posters who can probably expand a bit more on your question, but my D applied and was accepted to St. Andrews and her school had elected to remove APs from the curriculum so she submitted her scores, GPA and personal statement detailing why she wanted to study the subject she was applying to read. St. Andrews does have a significant number of US students so they’re aware not all students have APs but I believe Edinburgh is equally knowledgeable. UK schools are much more interested in your academic stats than ECs.

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What were her stats?

She had a ACT 33, GPA 3.8.

Some of the Scottish unis with a lot of American applicants may be OK with no APs. Probably no more than a handful, though. Like 2. Maybe 3.

BTW, you can self-study for APs.

St Andrew’s really can’t be used for comparison with other UK unis: it has an explicitly strong focus on US students.

Because continuing assessment (GPA) is not generally rated as a metric in the UK, with the abolition of subject tests APs are main way for them to evaluate your academics.

As @PurpleTitan pointed out, you can in fact self-study for APs. The norm in the UK is for offers to be based on standardised tests that are taken in June of Senior year (A-levels). Whoever writes your LoR (you only need 1) will ‘predict’ your exam marks (AP results). If you get an offer it will specify what the marks you need to get (it will be 3 exams, and the marks won’t be higher than you have been predicted). You can apply to 5 programs, and once you have all your results you ‘firm’ one offer (the one you really want) and ‘insure’ another (one where you are sure you can meet the offer). Then you sit your exams, and wait for the results. If you meet your offer you will get a confirmation from the uni you ‘firmed’. Many American students will put a deposit on a US school for safety.

It is possible that some UK unis will come up with other options in lieu of subject tests- US students are typically very welcome at UK unis! - but I wouldn’t bet on it happening in time for next year.

Oxford’s statement on no more SAT subject tests:

We are conducting a full review of our requirements for US qualifications which is due to conclude in early June. It is likely that the University will require AP subjects in subjects related to the chosen course of study. Any updates will be posted on our International Qualifications webpage so our best advice is to continue to monitor this.

You need AP or IB scores, some from junior year (5s) and some from senior year. Those subjects should be related to what you intend to study - if you look at “A-Levels” you should have those, plus if any specific GCSE subject is required having an AP score can be useful (subject tests used to be useful for that purpose but will be/have been discontinued).
You need to choose one “course” (major).
You can apply to 5 universities - Americans would typically apply to St Andrews, UEdinburgh, UGlasgow, Aberdeen, then one from Stirling (pretty campus, easier admit), Herriot Watt, Strathclyde (both mostly known for engineering and business).

You should ask the university directly! My daughter did a virtual college fair in the fall and was able to speak to someone from the University of Strathclyde and ask her questions. We did the NACAC fair at The university of Edinburgh may offer some virtual sessions on their website or an email contact. They love for Americans to come (all the UK unis do) and bring your $$. Contact them through this page: United States of America | The University of Edinburgh (has an email address down under “contact” for their USA reps).

They may require you to self study for APs, but it’s possible they may offer another path as well, but you won’t know unless you ask them. What course of study are you interested in?

Oh, and I don’t think any of the UK unis superscore the SAT. It’s a pretty different process, but plenty of US students are successful there.

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most- not all!

As @HazeGrey indicated, they may not have decided whether if/what an alternative to Subject tests will be. In the meantime, AP/IB are still good.

@collegemom3717 which UK unis do you think don’t want American students? That would be good info to know.

Cambridge, it seems. Acceptance to LSE for Americans seems lower than average as well. And I don’t think Americans have any special advantage at UCL. Not sure about Oxford. Basically, the unis that draw strong(er) interest from the world ex-US (outside the UK).

Noting that there is a choice in between “wanting US students & their $” and “not wanting US students”:

Oxford and LSE are unmoved by US$$, and US students are accepted at a relatively lower rate.

Cambridge is also unmoved by US$$ and has told people that they are actively reluctant to take US students.

Not on our list anyway, but good to know.

In my son’s year, I think there were something like 40 US undergraduates. So a roughly 20,000 GBP fee difference at 1.4 GBP/$ rate translates into an extra $1.1mm for Oxford. Not chump change but doesn’t really move the needle on an annual expense budget of 2.1bn GBP (almost$ 3 bn).

As discussed here: Oxbridge admissions for Americans

Hmmmm interesting. I don’t think it’s that some UK universities don’t want American students per se. As far as I know UK universities do not have any country by country quota. They do have domestic student quotas however, which are particularly relevant for universities like the LSE and UCL. As such, I would assume such admission decisions are made on merit alone for these universities as opposed to origins.

Indeed, the LSE seem rather proud of their American ties - they have a dedicated department to the USA and advertise their strong ties with Pennsylvania, Columbia, USD and Berkley. Same for UCL with Yale and NYU. The London schools, in particular, make a big song and dance about being international in nature and the domestic/international figures bears that out: LSE is around 70% international, UCL is 50% and KCL is 30%. So why the lack of US students then (if that is even true)? A possible working theory (feel free to shoot it down if it’s wrong!): could it be perhaps that compared to other students, say from Asia or Europe (with comparable A-level or IB qualifications in line with British standards) that US students and qualifications fall slightly short are are thus at a disadvantage? These universities also require 5 5 APs if I’m correct, having never done them, I don’t know how common or achievable this is for most students.

Finally, perhaps there will be a change as a result of Brexit, there is a big concern over the shrinking of the EU ‘student market’. That gap will need to be filled from elsewhere.

That’s a very big deal: at some UK universities applications have fallen by 40 or even 50%. Many UK universities would likely want to be on the “May list of colleges that miscalculated yield” or would try to recruit Americans even for Fall 2021.
(Erasmus students were divided in 2 if you compare 2019 numbers with 2014/2015 numbers. Since then, the UK has also left the Erasmus program. That’s an added number of students not renting rooms in the halls of residence, not buying gym memberships, meals to go, and Student Union membership/beers at the Union bar…)
UK universities suffered great budget cuts and have become tuition-reliant. Each missing student is a huge problem for them.
So, as mentioned above, that gap will need to be filled.
Oxbridge, UCL, LSE aren’t likely to be bothered but many other universities might be.

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Did EU kids pay tuition?

Very true and particularly worrisome considering the lack of any announced bailout or funding oppurtunities from the government. Though, I wouldn’t be too sure just yet that UCL and LSE won’t be too bothered. Currently, the only university likely to benefit financially from this situation is Oxford. It’s been reported that LSE is in a particular spot of bother since a third of its students are from the EU. But you’re right the top schools, the golden triangle, are likely still going to be far better off than most other schools.

An over supply of domestic students, due to well needed COVID educational measures, and an undersupply of EU students leads to very unhappy universities.