UK or US – where should you study?

So you’ve made the decision to study abroad, but are you finding it difficult to decide between studying in the UK or the US?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help you choose your ideal place to live and study! Here are the main things to consider…

studying in the UK vs US

Do you have a specific career path in mind?

If you do, then the UK is the place for you! Programmes in the UK are very focused, meaning that your modules will be specific to your degree subject throughout your studies.

Degree programmes in the US are much more flexible. You won’t be expected to know exactly what you want to study before you apply, meaning that you can try different subject modules and change your mind during your first year of study.

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Click here to find out more about the INTO programmes available in the UK and the US that will help you get to your perfect university.

How long would you like to study for?

A standard undergraduate degree in the UK is three years – unless you’re going to university in Scotland, which is four years. A standard undergraduate degree all over the US, however, is four years – so you can expect a longer education at a US university.

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Students from the UK typically have 13 years of schooling before they go to university, while students from many other countries, including the US, only have 12 years of schooling before university. That’s why UK universities often ask international students to take a pathway programme first, when it isn’t always required for a US degree.

Postgraduate degrees are generally two years in the US, but usually only one year in the UK.

What learning style suits you?

The UK and US generally teach in different ways, which is a very important factor to consider when choosing where to study abroad.

In the US, you may mostly take classes in lecture halls with follow-up seminars during your first year. The purpose of this is to introduce all of the freshers to the main topics of the programme, but as the years go by, your classes should decrease in size.

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In the UK, there is a mix of larger lecture classes and smaller seminars, or focus groups, of up to 20 students that allow for more direct interaction between you and your teacher. This means that you’ll have a lot more individual help and tutoring, with personalised feedback throughout your lessons.

You won’t receive much homework throughout the year in the UK other than reading assignments – your coursework and exams will be at the end of the year and will determine your overall grade. This teaches you key organisational skills and how to be self-motivated.

The US, however, gives far more assignments such as tests, quizzes, projects, research papers and presentations throughout the term. So, if you prefer a more structured approach to homework with regular grades, then the US could be the place for you to study.

What will your accommodation be like?

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Living on campus is a great way to meet new people and make friends for life. Being far away from home may seem a little daunting, but there is no need to be shy as there will be lots of social events put on by the university to help everyone get to know one another.

Accommodation in the UK is perfect for carrying out independent study as students typically have a bedroom to themselves with a study desk. This is usually in an apartment with a shared living space and kitchen, so you can still socialise with your friends.

If you would rather have a more sociable shared living space, then the US style of accommodation could be a better fit for you. Students living on campus in the US can usually expect to share a room with other students, so you won’t worry about being lonely.

Have you thought about your career opportunities?

Work placements are a great way to put your learning into practice so that you can gain some first-hand experience of working in your field. The UK and US are home to lots of large businesses and industry-leading research facilities that offer work placements and internships to students.

Stefaniia studied BSc (Hons) Business Economics with Industrial Experience at University of Exeter and was accepted onto a one-year placement with software giant Microsoft in Reading, England, while Kevin had a career-defining work placement with Marriot Hotels in Austin, Texas when he studied BA (Hons) Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management at the University of Gloucestershire.

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The US has lots of unmissable work placements as well. Marianna studied at Drew University in the US as a Business major and did a semester on Wall Street, giving her an inside look at New York’s bustling financial sector.

It’s work experiences like these that make your résumé stand out and put you in good standing for a great graduate job.

Taking the next step towards studying in the UK or US

There are benefits to studying in either the UK the US as both have a great range of universities that offer their own unique, globally competitive study opportunities.

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The main factors to consider are:

  • Your learning style. If you consider yourself to be an independent learner, then perhaps look into a university in the UK. If you prefer a more structured approach to learning, a university in the US might be better for you.
  • Career opportunities. Work placements are a great way to get your CV noticed and can even lead directly to job offers once you graduate. Have a look at placement opportunities at both US and UK universities before making your decision.
  • Your preferred living situation. You may be spending a lot of time in shared campus accommodation in your first year of study, so it’s important to know that you have a space where you feel relaxed and able to study in.

One thing that you will need regardless of where you choose to study is either a UK study visa or a US study visa. If you have any questions about studying abroad in the UK or US, click here to get in touch with one of our Student Support Advisors.

Want to find out how to apply to study in the US? See How to start your US degree in 2019: 8 steps to applying for a US university or if you would rather learn more about studying in the UK, then see our 5 top tips for your first week at INTO London.

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