Should I apply to US Universities?

Hi! I’m a year 12 student from the UK and I’m looking for some advice! I had previously never considered applying to an American University (because of the cost, mainly), but I’m beginning to really like the sound of the liberal arts style of learning. I’m planning on applying for medicine in the UK and I much prefer the traditional style of learning (with a sort of science/clinical divide), but there are few universities that offer that style (as I understand) in the UK; the American system appeals to me in that respect in that I could gain a firm understanding of the science before graduate medical school.

I know very little about the application process and I have read that the standardised tests have become optional this year (due to COVID-19) for some Ivy League universities, so I’m thinking, maybe I’m not too late to consider applying?

Any advice on whether or not I am too late, financial aid for international students and how the application process works would be greatly appreciated!

You are absolutely not too late, you still have a few months leeway. I’m not sure what a UK student would need to apply for colleges in the US, but you’re in luck because most colleges have marked the SAT as optional for students set to graduate in 2021 (due to coronavirus). However, arguably the most important part of an American application is extracurriculars (sports, awards, instruments, etc). Even if you have absolutely perfect grades, if you want to go to a good university, you still need ECs. When you apply, you will have the opportunity to list them all. The American application process is extremely tedious and expensive, be prepared to write an essay for every school you apply to and potentially an interview. You may have the opportunity to apply early decision. When you early decision a university, it means that you will be more likely to get in, and will receive your acceptance letter earlier, however, in exchange, you must attend that university if they accept you. My advice to you is that while it is still summer, do extracurriculars. Get a job, become an intern, volunteer at old folks homes, compete for awards in things your good at, otherwise you probably won’t get into a high tier college.

You are far from too late… .but do not limit your focus to the Ivies…admission to them is a reach for all applicants - everyone is going to have excellent grades, everyone will have excellent scores, recommendations, captain of whatever sport/club…

First look at size of the school - you will find schools with 1500 students here in the States, compared to “small” schools in the UK with 5000; location (urban, suburban, rural, East Coast, West Coast, South…); our version of the Tables is the US News and Reports, look at that as to what schools are most noted for in terms of subjects. Cost, be prepared to pay full tuition as an international student. Politics, the current political climate for international students is not great right now. Keep in mind also that if you intend to practice medicine in the UK, you will still need to attend medical school either in the UK or the US after you spend the 4yrs of money here in the States.

The application process has gotten MUCH easier. The US System called the Common Application is very similar to UCAS, with a few distinct differences. First is cost - each college will charge you an applucation fee of between 75 and 100USD. Second - there is a single essay that is delivered to all the schools you are applying to (picture your Personal Statement)…BUT…each college can ask for supplemental essays.

It is funny, my daughter is leaving the US behind because she does not want to take General Education Classes (required courses that have very little to do with your major but do broaden your perspective is the argument for them), so she is off to Scotland.

Best of luck, feel free to reach out with any additional questions.

“I’m planning on applying for medicine in the UK”

This concerns me.

I do not know much about medical education in the UK. However, what tiny little bit I know suggests that it might be different than in North America.

Canada and the US have relatively similar medical education systems. You first get a bachelor’s degree, while completing specific premed requirements. This means that you have already spent four years. You can major in anything that you want as long as you complete the premed requirements. Then you take the MCAT test. Then you apply to medical school. Admissions to medical school is tough and the large majority of students who start off as a freshman in university thinking that they are premed never actually go to medical school. If you get accepted to medical school that is another four years. After you get your medical degree (MD) then you start your residency, which is at least three years and can be quite a bit longer for some specialties.

In the US and Canada, admissions to medical school as an international student is quite a bit more difficult than as a native citizen.

I do not know whether medical school is similar in the UK. Also, I do not know whether UK medical schools would recognize your credits if you were to take the prerequisites in the US.

My son’s few classmates choose to go to Ireland to study medical as undergraduates. It is hard to enter medical school in USA and Canada.

For very wealthy families (who can pay 3-4 times what it costs in the UK out of pocket), absolute star students (ie an Oxbridge offer would be fully expected) or world class athletes the US is worth considering. For most others it is going to be difficult to find an affordable option that is better than your U.K. choices. And you’ll have to spend a lot of money and time just to apply.

That being said, here’s a lengthy thread from a British student who went through this two years ago. Note that she was from a wealthy family and would have easily got into Oxbridge, but she still turned down Stanford (at a cost of $300K) for a scholarship at a college you’ve probably never heard of.

^ I wouldn’t call UNC that unknown (then again, probably most American HS’ers know nothing about Durham or Warwick).

In any case, that student wasn’t aiming to enter medicine, however. Medicine pathways tends to be pretty country-specific. I’ve never heard of people successfully switching between the British medicine pathway and North American medicine pathway.

Getting accepted is harder for international students
Getting accepted & getting major financial aid is super hard for international students.
Doing a US undergrad, even taking all of the science pre-reqs, only saves you 1 year from a regular UK degree- so another 4 years of school fees.

Cornell has a medical school in Qatar if your interest is medicine and Ivy education