Going to university is a big decision. You will probably move away from home for the first time, and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings with new people and new experiences. Students tend to spend a lot of time researching suitable universities and courses to make sure they find the right one for them. With a choice of over 4,500 universities in the USA to choose from and a different system to the UK, the prospect of making the decision to go and study in the USA could seem even more daunting. You want to make sure you have all the relevant information to hand.
Why do people choose to study in the USA?
There are many different reasons why students might choose to study in the USA. Last year more than 4,000 UK students chose to do so. Some may wish to experience living in another country and add an international element to their CV. Others may be attracted by the more modular study system in the US. Unlike in the UK, you do not need to decide what you want to major in straight away.
How do you apply?
Again, process is different to the UK. You can apply to as many universities as you wish, but many students choose to limit their applications to 6-8. Unlike in the UK, there is no central organisation like UCAS to process these applications to study in the USA. The Common Application form is used to apply to over 500 of them, which is a standard application form but many of the universities will request additional information. You could also be required by some colleges to sit standardised admissions tests to study in the USA.
Take a look at this Admissions Timeline for further information on the whole process.
Isn’t it more expensive to study in the USA?
Yes it is but there are also more scholarships and grants available, including “full ride” scholarships. This can often mean that the final costs are considerably less than studying in the UK. If funding for your study in the USA is a concern for you, then you may wish to choose the colleges that offer scholarships for international students. Applying for scholarships is a part of the whole university application process in the USA and there are scholarships for international students from the universities themselves as well as external funding bodies.
Do not forget to apply for your visa
All UK citizens must have a travel permit to enter the USA. While business travellers or tourists can request an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ESTA), you will have to apply for a student visa if you are planning to study in the United States. As opposed to the ESTA USA, which can easily be applied for online, the process to obtain a student visa is a bit more difficult. You will have to visit the US embassy in London or the American consulate in Belfast, provide a series of documents and pass a personal interview. This process can take time, so you would better schedule an appointment at the embassy well in advance. In this way, you will have your visa well in advance before your departure to the USA.
Read more about the different types of scholarships and how to apply here.
If you would like to find out more information about studying at university in America visit the Fulbright Commission.