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Why do so Many UK Students Choose to Study in the US?

Why do so Many UK Students Choose to Study in the US? main image

Guest post: Fulbright Commission

Picture yourself on an American college campus. See the vibrant campus life going on around you. The engaging class discussions. Hundreds of student organizations to join. A football stadium (American football, that is) filled with 50,000 fans each Saturday.

If this vision of a US campus appeals to you, you're in good company. In 2013-14, more than 10,000 UK students chose the United States for their studies. So why are so many students crossing the Atlantic? Here are some of the most common reasons to study in the US.

1.  Choose from a large selection of US universities

In a recent survey, the US-UK Fulbright Commission, a not-for-profit that supports US-UK educational exchange, found many students were most attracted to study in the US by the ability to choose from such a wide range of universities (over 4,500 institutions offering undergraduate degrees). With so many US universities to choose from, there is bound to be one that is a great fit for almost every student!

2.  Experience the diversity of US college life

US universities are known for their vibrant campuses; students enjoy experiencing American college life. Cheer your university’s sports team to victory or play intramural sports. Join a club – there are hundreds to choose from. Become a leader in student government, or write for the university newspaper. Act or sing in the campus arts program or volunteer in the community. There are so many ways to get involved in US college life.

3.  Get a taste of several different subjects

Students also cite the flexibility to explore their academic interests as another motivation to study in the US. Under the “liberal arts philosophy”, undergraduate students take classes from a variety of subjects during their first year, before specializing in their major field of study.

4.  Support your studies by applying for scholarships

Another reason to consider a US university is for the funding opportunities. Many students are able to fund their studies through scholarships from US universities and external funding bodies. Scholarships to study in the US at the undergraduate level are often offered to students based on merit, extracurricular achievement, financial need, talent and/or personal characteristics, such as country of origin, field, gender or ethnicity.

5.  Impress future employers with your international experience

Studying and working abroad can make graduates stand out in the job market when they return to the UK. That’s why another reason to study in the US is the chance to gain valuable international experience and strengthen your CV.

For all these reasons and more US study could be a good fit for you!


How to apply to study in the US…

Ideally, students will begin the process of researching US universities and the application process 1 to 1½ years before they wish to attend. That means if you want to study in the US in 2017-18, you will want to start the process by spring 2016. However, if you are getting started slightly later than that, there will still be time to put together your applications. You will simply need to work at a faster pace!

The first step is to make sure studying in the US is a good match for your goals. Talk with your parents, your careers advisor and anyone you know who has been to or studied in the US.

Next, begin researching US universities with a view to narrowing your search to the 6-8 institutions to which you will apply. Be sure to consider a range of factors, including the academic programs, campus size and setting, availability of funding and competitiveness of admission. Remember that in the US, it is more important to find the right fit than to only apply for a handful of “name-brand” universities. With so many universities to choose from, it is very likely you will apply to several you hadn’t heard of before – and that is OK!

If you are not able to visit universities in the US yourself, take advantage of online tours and virtual open house days. Attend Fulbright's USA College Day fair in the autumn to meet over 170 US universities. Fulbright also hosts seminars in London and webinars on the US admissions process for students getting started on the process. For more information visit www.fulbright.org.uk.

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