Making an application to a US university

Why study at an American University?

American universities tend to be much larger than their UK equivalent, giving access to many more, often highly impressive, facilities such as sports stadia, seating up to 30,000 paying spectators for home games, or libraries with a huge diversity of reference material. Opportunities to nuture sporting talent are immense, although not necessarily in the typical UK school sports, so ensure your talent or interest is catered for before applying.

US universities have an interactive teaching style encouraging discussion with the tutors, rather than attending simply a programme of lectures to disseminate information.

Participation in class is seen as a valuable part of the learning process and respect for one another’s opinions and right to express them, encourages self-confidence.

American universities are experts in encouraging teamwork through work on group based projects. The focus is very much on problem solving, rather than just intellect.

The US university ideal is to grasp knowledge and skills for life and steer towards a future career, rather than just being the best mathematician or poet.

What is the US University Ivy League?

The American University Ivy League is the name usually used to describe the group of eight elite US universities. It includes Brown, Colombia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.

How do I apply to an American university?

In 2010 9000 British students were studying at US Universities, with approaching half of these were following undergraduate courses of study. Almost one third of those following an undergraduate course of study were doing do on a scholarship. The most popular places of study at American universities for British students are Harvard, New York University, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Southern California, and Brigham Young University.

Applications to American universities can be made online and you can make as many applications as you like to different institutions. The deadlines for applications are usually in and around January.

A useful website for further details is Study in the States

What are SAT’s and ACT’s and how do I sit them?

Most American universities require applicants to sit the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Testing).

The SAT tests your knowledge and skills in writing, reading and maths. It aims to assess your capability to cope with the demands of a university course of study.

The critical reading section includes reading passages and sentence completions. The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage. The mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.

You can also take SAT Subject Tests which enable you to strengthen your application by demonstrating your knowledge as applicable for a particular course of study.

Registration dates for sitting these examinations are usually about a month prior to the date of the exam and there are examination dates throughout the year in a range of locations.

Most US applicants tend to sit the SAT in the spring of year 12 and in the autumn of year 13.

The website offers more details about the SAT tests, when to sit them, the ability to register for the tests and the opportunity to practice the SAT tests in advance.

It currently costs $49 to sit the SAT test.

Details about the ACT, how to register, where to take it and what elements are included in the examination can be found at the following link.

ACS Hillingdon International School,

Marymount International School

as well as TASIS, The American School

are all test centres for the ACT examinations with test dates in October, December, April and June.

The fees for sitting the ACT tests can be found at the following link.

It is always wise to check the individual US university websites for information regarding their requirements for international admissions as they can vary.

What does it cost to study at an American university?

The average annual cost to study at a US private university is £20,000 whereas at a public university is will cost between £12,000 and £18,000 per year. The average course length is 4 years. Ivy league universities usually charge between £22,000 and £28,000 a year for tuition fees.

Can I get financial assistance to study at a US university?

The UK Fulbright Commission offers scholarship awards and summer programmes of study for UK citizens wishing to study in the US. The International Student Loan Centre offers private loans for study in the US and The international Education Financial Aid database can help you search for sources of financial assistance. Further details can be found at the websites below.

Do I require a visa to study at a US university?

British citizens wishing to study at an American university require an F-1 student visa, which demonstrates that they have no intention of emigrating to the US. The chosen university must be approved by the USCIS to accept foreign students as full time students.

Further details can be found on the website below