Higher Education In the United Kingdom: What You Need to Know

Most American parents have only a vague knowledge of UK Higher Education, and the opportunities it can provide. There are a few familiar brand names (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge) but in-depth knowledge of UK Higher Education, is often for those attending international schools or with some immediate family connection back to Europe. It is therefore never seriously considered as an option for US families.

I’m here to tell you why you should seriously think about the UK option.

Why Investigate UK Options?

I attended the annual NACAC Conference in Baltimore in Sept 2023 and the US Secretary of Education, Dr Miguel Cardona was interviewed and at one point he said something like a college degree in the US translates to a lifetime of debt.

Doesn’t that seem wrong? I ask you:

  1. Should Higher Education come at such an exorbitantly high price?
  2. Seriously….‘a lifetime of debt,’ why does it cost so much?
  3. For something so expensive, why is the admissions system so complex?

Now, if there is one thing I know about Americans, it’s that they are financially savvy and understand a good investment when they see one.

There are many great schools in the UK including Durham. (Photo by Jeffrey Zhang on Unsplash)

Here is why the UK is such a good investment

1. World Class Education

The UK is home to world-leading universities, with internationally recognized degree programs and there is evidence to support the fact that the UK’s research led style of teaching is more effective than a testing based style.

2. Academic Experience

We don’t use TA’s in the UK, have smaller class sizes, have better access to professors and other academics, and you have the opportunity to gain international work experience.

3. Completion Rates

On average these are around 90% and with focused degree programs and students unable to transfer credits, it is very rare for a student not to graduate within the allotted time, saving families any additional tuition.

4. It’s Cheaper

The UK offers much cheaper tuition, 3 year degree programs (exactly the same standard and level as US degree programs, just no Gen. Ed) and students will graduate on time, as we don’t allow students to delay credits.

5. Transparent Admissions Criteria

No early action, no early decision, no demonstrated interest, no class rankings, virtually no decisions based upon random essays (just a few universities e.g. Oxbridge). We only look at your academic testing and if it meets our requirements, the acceptance rate is often 100% for almost all programs (assuming you apply on time etc). I.e. We want good students, we’re not looking for reasons to reject.

6. Housing and Safety

You get your own room on a floor with other students so you still get the social element. All bills and taxes are included and international students get first choice over UK students! UK campuses are safe and students get access to our free healthcare!

7. Brilliant Opportunity for your Children to Grow and Develop

Do your children have dreams of making a great impact in the USA? Then leave it. Go somewhere different but that also speaks English. Young people only know what they know and one will truly come to understand one’s own country from the outside looking in. But whilst doing that they will develop confidence, independence, resilience and resourcefulness – all attributes that many major US corporations say are lacking in graduates!

8. The Adventure of a Lifetime

With international students often making up 20-30% of a university’s cohort it is easy to make friends from all over the world. Students in the UK also get long vacations and many international students use this opportunity to explore the history and heritage of the UK and Europe. Major cities like Rome, Paris and Barcelona are all just a few hours flight away and flights can often be purchased for less than $100.

Three common misconceptions

1. Only the wealthiest can afford UK education and this life changing experience – FALSE

2. Only those students with the very best academic scores can attend the UK – FALSE

3. Only those who know exactly what they want to study can come to the UK – FALSE

So for those of you willing to explore, there are amazing opportunities available for you in the UK. You’ll graduate faster, save significant money and make international friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. You get to travel and explore UK and Europe before you settle down and begin your career. 

To find out more you can watch this Why Choose the UK video here and/or visit this website

About Gary Coulter

Gary Coulter is the Founder and Director of UK College Admissions. Gary spent over a decade working in the USA for a prestigious UK University, he became frustrated by the limited information and support available for US families exploring UK options. Having lectured on the UK Higher Education system across 26 US states, he decided to do something about this. UK College Admissions offers families and counselors the comprehensive guidance they require, all located in one single place, and in an easy to access format.

Read more posts by Gary

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