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Why College in the UK Might Be the Best Fit for You
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chances are that when you’re preparing for college, you’ve considered places that are more than just a couple hours away. Perhaps you’re from New York and considering Stanford, or instead you are a Midwesterner looking at Williams or Duke. In any event, going to college is a chance to go off to a place potentially far away and make your own way.

So why limit yourself to only colleges in the United States?

If you are willing to give your passport a workout, there are a number of advantages to considering studying in the United Kingdom.  

  • First of all, degrees in the United Kingdom take up to much less time to earn. A standard BA in the United States takes four years, while the same degree can be earned in three years in most cases in the United Kingdom.  In fact, if you are interested in becoming a lawyer or a doctor, the time savings can be even more dramatic.  You don’t have to go through pre-law or pre-med in the UK - you start studying either law or medicine immediately!
  • Second, degrees abroad are much more focused. While an American university may require up to a third of your coursework be applied towards general education requirements, no such mandate exists in the United Kingdom.  Instead, you focus on what you are interested in, with the option to take scattered electives, called “floaters”, in your later years.
  • Because of the shorter span, as well as moderate overall fees, studying in the UK can actually be more affordable!  While the sticker price for a year’s study at a British University in London can be almost $44,000, you only have to go for three years.  While your high school classmates will be still paying room and board, you’ll be making a professional salary.  Meanwhile, that $44,000 includes trips home and throughout Europe, as well as tuition, room, and board.  That’s less than tuition at many private colleges here in the United States.
  • In a globalized economy, international experience matters. Having a semester of a study abroad on your resume is nice, but a full degree shows that you were able to fully adapt to a new culture thousands of miles away from home.  Further, many of the same multinational firms that hire from major colleges in the United States also hire from British universities - except many of the more exciting international assignments go to graduates of the British institutions!
  • Finally, many of the same tests that you are taking now can be used to apply!  For the vast majority of programs in the UK, the SAT and AP exams that you are already taking in preparation for your college admissions stateside will serve as the basis for your application abroad. Medical programs, as well as many programs at Oxford 

However, there are a few points worth noting.

  • AP tests matter greatly. The difference between a four and a five can keep you out of Oxford or Cambridge, as well as more popular programs like law, medicine, or economics. Therefore, if you are applying to a UK university, it is important to earn the best possible scores on those tests. Obviously, Tutor Tango can help in this regard, as you should work with a tutor to be sure that you know all the relevant information.
  • You should be passionate about your field.  Due to the fact that you are applying directly to a program, you will find it difficult to change focus during your degree.  Additionally, the British educational system requires fewer hours in class per week than the American system, as well as fewer assessments.  If you have the discipline and curiosity to handle those differences, you can expect to do very well.
  • Student life is different. If you are looking forward to tailgating and Greek life, you’ll be shocked by student life in the UK. However, student unions are especially vibrant over the pond, and with Europe merely a cheap airfare across the Channel away, we doubt you will be bored. After all, going to the Mediterranean makes a much better Spring Break story than cramming in a cheap motel room with a bunch of sweaty guys.

While studying for a degree in the UK isn’t for everyone, it is a viable option for many, and one that can truly be life-changing. If you would like to learn more, ask your Tutor Tango tutor for information on how to get in touch with Tutor Tango’s partner for European educational consulting, An Education Abroad.

NOTE: This blog post was written by Kevin Newton, founder and CEO of An Education Abroad.