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Going to uni in america

(41 Posts)
mummymeister Wed 22-Jan-14 15:49:13

My DD is seriously considering this. how on earth do you go about finding out which ones to go to, what the courses are really like etc. what about interviews and visits? is there some sort of education fair in the uk that she could go to? anyone any experience would be v. grateful of your help.

mathanxiety Thu 27-Mar-14 22:38:21

An example of a very good state university financial aid overview for international students.

An example of a private university

Financial aid overview for international students U of C website.

HoneyandRum Sun 09-Mar-14 21:24:22

There is an application shared by many US Universities it is called the Common Application you can Google it natch. However, the application is much more complex than the UCAS form and they want a lot more essays and even with the Common App each University/College can request extra pages of information. It is best to try and complete the applications during the summer before your last year at school and therefore to study and take the SATs or ACT entrance tests in the Spring/Summer of your AS year. (You can request that just your best scores are sent to the US universities if you take them more than once). Students should therefore be organized and do their research from the age of 16 onwards.

UK students cannot access the student loans that are available to US students and as International students will generally pay a lot more. As well as very famous private universities such as those in the Ivy League, many publically funded universities are excellent. These include the University of California system (Includes Berkley, Davis, UCLA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Irvine etc.) the University of Virginia, University of Washington in Seattle and many, many more. Generally students will be competing for scholarships with international students from the rest of the world and the standard will be extremely high while the actual scholarships are relatively low in $ terms.

A tactic that a keen student might like to take is to apply to the lesser known State universities. The University of South Carolina for example has the best International Business program for Undergrads in the US. A UK student would be a novelty and with good grades could potentially receive a generous scholarship. Also state Universiites often have "Honor Colleges" which are like a University within a University. Honor College students (which most A Level students with decent grads would qualify as) have smaller classes and access to lots of amazing classes and opportunities. The Honor College at South Carolina for example offers students the chance to work for a congresswoman/man at the Capitol in Washington D.C. To apply for the Honor College applications often need to be early, usually by about November.

I have helped students apply to Uni in the US and Canada and also attended university at undergrad and graduate level in the US.

MagratGarlik Wed 05-Mar-14 14:06:49

If she's interested in sciences and goes to the US to do her undergrad degree, she may not be able to get a science PhD without a (usually UK) masters. Students with a 1st or 2:1 in sciences will usually be able to move straight into a funded PhD if their degree is from the UK.

She would be better off to do a degree and PhD in the UK (most science careers even outside academia need a PhD), then move to the US for a postdoc. At least one postdoc abroad (pref US) is considered very desirable for any up-and-coming scientist.

With respect to degrees in mainland Europe, you need to be very careful that the degree is considered equivalent to our undergraduate degrees - in the Dutch system this means going to one of their research-led universities, not the Hogeschool, which are not even equivalent to our ex-polys (more like FE colleges). Also, making sure the degree is equivalent to our undergrad masters' - not one of the ones they claim are equivalent to a BSc, which are actually equivalent to a HND not a full degree. Further, whilst courses may be taught in English, socially students may find themselves limited without a basic grasp of the language which can be isolating.

twojues Tue 04-Mar-14 20:12:39

kickassangel, my daughter's in Grand Rapids.

Spoke to her on Skype today and she says its a balmy -9 today, lol.

She is looking forward to spring.

Daisyjane12 Sat 01-Mar-14 19:33:50

My dd is going away with smaller earth in july to America for a year

kickassangel Wed 26-Feb-14 01:39:32

Twojues. Whereabouts in Mi? I'm at Eastern. Hope she's staying warm.

kickassangel Wed 26-Feb-14 01:35:15

How much would you be willing to pay? My MA is costing me over $17,000 in tuition fees and I am going to quite a cheap college, half price for being a local.

Your dd would probably have to pay full international fees, prob about $20,000 per year, plus accommodation, and flights.

The degree will take 4 years and would not be seen as equivalent to a UK one, so she would need to do a final year in the UK probably.

If she went to a really big name uni tuition can be $50,000 a year!

In the UK she could look for courses that are a joint subject, or doing financial studies etc that combine subjects rather than being a purist..

maggiemight Wed 26-Feb-14 01:22:42

We have lived in US and, in conversation with someone from the UK doing post grad studies, she thought their degrees were more like A levels so most good students in US do Masters.
My DD did a year in US and found their post grad subjects more like under grad subjects in UK.
Just saying. Also they can't drink until 21 in most states so DCs must be careful of that.

MariscallRoad Wed 26-Feb-14 01:05:31

It depends on what u want to study. U need to think of what you might gain studying here or there (US) in the sector u study. Some people look for good employment connections. Here too some universities offer best links with employers and in certain degrees a very likely job. So I feel one could to look which place offers good links

dellon Tue 25-Feb-14 14:50:20

also agree that 18 is very young to go overseas to a different cultural educationally and otherwise like the US, unless you have a super mature son or daughter.

dellon Tue 25-Feb-14 14:48:22

Preferred option would be Oxbridge for first degree then Ivy league or somewhere like Stanford for post grad...McGill in Canada also very good for first degree and less expensive than US

MillyMollyMama Sun 23-Feb-14 18:38:08

My DD obtained a place at an Arts College in New York. It was not needs blind, but she did gain a scholarship. The fees were $20,000 per semester (2 per year for 4 years), housing, flights, food, socialising, books and materials, they estimated about another $30,000 pa minimum. So the scholarship of $7,000 did not make much difference to the overall eye watering cost. This is about equivalent to Ivy League and it was a prestigious institution. You need deep pockets and at undergrad level you have no USA student loans company equivalent for overseas students.

I went to a Fulbright talk and most people there decided they could not afford it. Many people were shocked at the cost and lack of funding opportunities, other than scholarships. We only know very rich young people who have gone to the USA to study. Most of them are not UK students so would have paid the higher fees here anyway. They are also very international and are used to shopping around the world for an education.

For post grad, there is a much better chance of funding. I tried every avenue to secure funding for DD but we did not fall into any category, other than the College scheme, not being Vietnam War Veterans, residents in the USA, member of a particular Church etc etc. DD had to give up the place.

twojues Mon 10-Feb-14 18:33:39

My daughter is in her 2nd year at college in US.

She didn't really know what she wanted to study, she knew it was Biology, but only in a general sense. When trying to do her personal statement for UK unis it was very hard for her to tailor it.

We had discussed US colleges as her sister was working in Bahamas and had spoken to lots of US students comparing UK and US.

My daughter decided to apply to some colleges. She knew she wanted a fairly small college and looked at them online. She then narrowed it down and applied.

She was lucky that her favourite college offered her a place and based on her ACT score was offered a scholarship. This helped the finances a little bit, but we still have to fork out for her as she is unable to get a student loan to use over there.

She is in Michigan and loves it out there. They don't have to decide on their major until the end of the 2nd year and she has now decided to major in Geography and minor in Biology which is something she wouldn't have been able to do here.

She finished middle of May last year and came home for the summer, but was only able to find work for 2 weeks out of the 3 1/2 months she was home so has decided this year not to come home for the whole summer. I have persuaded her to come home for a week (basically for me rather than her, lol). She has a part time job on campus which pays for her mobile phone and other bits and pieces, but the major bulk of fees is down to us to pay.

The fulbright commission were very helpful so look on the website.

traininthedistance Sat 01-Feb-14 15:47:11

As one of the previous posters says, the finances are normally the main issue with studying in the US. The costs are eye-watering even compared to the new 9k fees (which of course are not upfront here). You would need to know how you would be able to finance it - I am not sure a UK resident would qualify for a US student loan, and near in mind that where our new few structure is paid back gradually through the PAYE system, US student loans are normally paid back immediately after graduation at eye-watering commercial rates.

Even at those college that claim to offer "needs-blind" admission, the financial aid package does not come in the form of grants, but as a mixture of small grants and larger loans. US universities often sell themselves on their luxury accommodation, which normally implies equally eye-watering bills for accommodation and maintenance.

If you are wealthy enough not to mind forking out around 30k a year in upfront costs, a degree in the US can be great - but it is certainly not a cheap option!

whitecloud Sat 01-Feb-14 13:56:57

mummymeister - how mature is your dd? I think this is very important unless she is very used to being away from home. Even the most mature can find uni a struggle at the beginning, what with homesickness and not knowing anyone. If there were problems it would be hard to get to see her unless you had a lot of money. I feel that 18 is still very young. Probably not a popular view, but I would think about this very hard. I agree with others - a year abroad in the US from a UK uni might be the best option.

UptheChimney Sat 01-Feb-14 12:14:03

more and more students in England are opting to study across the channel now, thanks to the Coalition move on fees for higher education. Fees for students in England are now the highest in Europe

They are, but frankly, you get what you pay for. You need to be very very careful in considering other European programmes. Class sizes are huge, seminars and tutorials are also huge (upwards of 30 in a seminar -- that's actually almost a lecture), there isn't the close personal and pastoral care, academic feedback, and generally hands on approach of most English universities. For example, I'm a professor and I've always taught incoming First years and core courses throughout the undergrad programme wherever I've worked in England. But my colleagues at the same senior level in continental Europe often laugh at me, and ask me why I bother.

2rebecca Sat 01-Feb-14 10:00:10

Birmingham, Bristol, Lancaster, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Surrey Sussex and Swansea do Physics with a year abroad some of them specifying N America. St Andrews which is excellent for physics does all its physics degrees including astrophysics with an optional year abroad.
I'd be going down this route. If she builds up contacts in the US on her year abroad then she can maybe do her pHD there. To me a Brit interested in science going to America to do their basic degree would be going backwards academically.
Get your degree here and then go to the US to do research.

JodieGarberJacob Sat 01-Feb-14 08:46:29

Just been reading the Liberal Arts degree modules at Exeter and sounds amazing!

CMOTDibbler Sat 01-Feb-14 08:39:54

Interesting you say that Dotnet as I was in Maastricht this week and of the research team I was meeting with, a third were english.

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Feb-14 08:36:17

A lot of students at the school I teach at apply to American universities (we have a fairly international student body). Your DD will have to sit her SATs - both the general one (which tests a range of subjects) and subject specific ones if she wants to apply for an Ivy League university. All the papers are multiple choice except for one 25 min essay question on the general paper. However, they are NOT easy.

Applications aren't central so she will need to apply to each university individually, and will need a number of teachers prepared to act as referees testifying to her character, work ethic, etc etc. When I have been put down as a referee, I have produced a standard reference which I have then had to submit to each university individually (online) as the request comes in.

A number of our students have SATs tuition sessions (not within our school but in the UK) which they attend at weekends/holidays, so it may be worth investigating these.

Worth considering - most of our students who go for this are studying for the IB rather than A Levels - thus they have the subject breadth at sixth form level too.

dotnet Sat 01-Feb-14 08:26:44

Just a thought - more and more students in England are opting to study across the channel now, thanks to the Coalition move on fees for higher education. Fees for students in England are now the highest in Europe. angry
Maastricht is the highest profile European university where UK students are choosing to study, with far more affordable fees, and lots of courses in English. But there are many others.
Students who don't want to leave the UK could defer applying for university and move to Scotland for about three years, after which I believe they could secure a Scottish university place as a mature student with little or no student debt.

dotnet Sat 01-Feb-14 08:18:39

Just a thought ... more and more students in England are opting to study across the Channel (England's fees are the highest in Europe - thanks, coalition ).angry
Maastricht is the best known option, with lots of courses in English.
I admire the kids who decide to go for this option and thus save themselves from committing to clearing a massive Coalition imposed personal debt in future years.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 23-Jan-14 19:02:37

As mentioned above, the Fulbright Commision is the starting point. I have experience at Post grad level and they are very helpful, but the application and later, education is different to the UK and you need to understand how - it isn't as simple as those articles in the Telegraph suggest!

If that research and the costs don't put you off then I see. I reason not to pursue it. I have lived overseas a lot and know a lot of children, from international and some from UKschools who have done it/are doing it very successfully. They are high achievers though and very often international in outlook. Their parents are not short of money either. Those who go to less well known Colleges, often on a scholarship for a talent which may not be academic, are far more likely to leave the course.

By well known I don't mean only those towards the top of the QS league tables. Some State universities are very good and well known to Americans and act as feeders for postgrad for the top universities at a lower price. Check the alma maters for the first degree of some of the US educated professors and researchers at the likes of Harvard

There will be culture shock.

My own elder children are at university in the UK, although they were offered the opportunity to try for the US. They managed to get into courses they really wanted here. I was glad as I would prefer to send them for postgrad if they want to go.

secretscwirrels Thu 23-Jan-14 17:28:59

DS explored this a year ago to the extent of gaining a place on this.
In the end he decided it was not for him.
Study in the US involves broad based subjects at least for the first year. He wanted to do Maths and thought he had left English etc behind at GCSE.
He also came to the conclusion that he could not put the time and effort into an American application without sacrificing his A level grades. (He would have had to study for and sit the ACT at the same time as AS levels).

lljkk Thu 23-Jan-14 09:51:29

I totally prefer the American approach of broader education with less early specialism. This part is excellent. The British systems leave me shock.

It will be very expensive unless you think she's very extremely elite material and can get into one of the few universities that are truly Needs Blind. Even then, you would need to pay for things like Airfare (£500-£600 RT to west coast).

Americans have a very different attitude towards Uni than the British, it's accepted that it is always expensive, parents have to cough up an awful lot and students normally leave debts as well as having worked PT much of their way thru. That's how it was back in the 1970s and it's not any easier now.

A year abroad programme might be a better compromise.

21 may be the official drinking age but it's very widely flouted. Just like no legal sex under 18 (yeah right).

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