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General Feedback...UK University for USC child

General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Old May 11th 2017, 7:53 pm
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Default General Feedback...UK University for USC child

My older daughter is very interested in going to university in the UK as an undergraduate. She's spent her entire time in the US public education system

So...I'd appreciate any feedback on experience of doing this - for example, the application process, how it was funded, what the learning curve was to transition from the US system to the UK etc etc.

Having gone through the British (specifically English) state system many years ago, and having observed US education, am very much aware of the differences, so am particularly interested in actual experiences (e.g, don't do it because...it worked out well because...etc)
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Old May 11th 2017, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Universities in the UK have many students from around the world, so it is absolutely doable.

Some English universities and/or some courses require a foundation year for overseas students to bridge the perceived gap between where an 18 year old foreign/American school-leaver is compared to an English school-leaver.
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Old May 11th 2017, 11:21 pm
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

There are huge differences between the US university system and the K-12 system, so she will have to learn something new regardless of if she stays or goes.

Study habits needed to be successful in university are very, very different from high school, even if your daughter was a straight A student in the double IB triple AP plus plus program at the highly regarded local high school that made US newsmagazine's annual Awesome List.

I have seen plenty of straight A students bomb out quickly, and plenty of those who scrape in do a lot better than they did in high school. It can be something of a crapshoot sometimes.

One of the keys to a successful transition is how fast the student who was a straight-A kid in high school, understand they too need to adapt to maintain that success in university.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that your daughter will be successful going to the UK if she is very independent, a self-starter, and can effectively monitor herself. She will figure out what she needs to do and stay on top of it. I would not use her high school grades as the only indicator of that. Extra bonus if you still have a robust family network there who will be part of her support system.

Don't do it if she is particularly close to her current friend group - she will feel that far more acutely and that can be a severe shock to the system for 18 year olds (even if they think they have prepared themselves for that). If she plans to live back in the US after uni, she also needs to think carefully about going abroad for the whole 3/4 years. For Americans, university forms an important part of social/peer group identity that lasts for life, and if she will miss out on that going to university in the UK. In that instance I think a semester/year abroad would be more appropriate.

Why does she want to go to the UK? That is an important clue to how successful this will be too. Not good if it's for a superficial or trendy reason (ie, "ew, Trump" or she has a boyfriend moving there). Hopefully you are in a situation where you can laugh that off - but I have seen many, many 18 year olds make decisions based on criteria like that.
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Old May 12th 2017, 12:12 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Check out College Confidential which has many forums on US vs. UK university life, academics, admissions, etc.

Search Results - College Confidential

I will note that many admissions officers in the UK have some 'opinions' to use a polite term about US high school education such that gaining admission can be somewhat difficult. Many American students prefer to do their undergrad in the US and then head to the UK for a graduate degree.
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Old May 12th 2017, 1:17 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Much appreciate all the input. Since she's just ending freshman year at high school, there's a while to go, and (of course) things may change. But I'm very interested to have the input, and information to help give her guidance.

Some English universities and/or some courses require a foundation year for overseas students to bridge the perceived gap
That's very helpful - will have to research when this would be the case. If anyone can point me where to look to get more insight on this, would appreciate it. Also, would it be different in Scotland (with the somewhat different system)?

your daughter will be successful going to the UK if she is very independent, a self-starter, and can effectively monitor herself. She will figure out what she needs to do and stay on top of it.
That makes complete sense, and she currently has these characteristics.

Don't do it if she is particularly close to her current friend group
Again, can understand this - this has been her pattern of friendships, so unless things change, would think this would be OK.

Many American students prefer to do their undergrad in the US and then head to the UK for a graduate degree.
Yes, I've been encouraging this route, but want to be able to give open advice regarding all options.

Search Results - College Confidential
Very useful site - thanks !
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Old May 12th 2017, 1:21 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

In my opinion which university your daughter goes to is more important than which country.
UK universities have been dumbed down, ever since the polytechnics where converted to universities.
I would suggest your daughter applies to good university (maybe an Ivy league) in the US.

Last edited by geoff52; May 12th 2017 at 1:23 am.
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Old May 12th 2017, 2:01 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Originally Posted by dinosaur View Post
My older daughter is very interested in going to university in the UK as an undergraduate. She's spent her entire time in the US public education system

So...I'd appreciate any feedback on experience of doing this - for example, the application process, how it was funded, what the learning curve was to transition from the US system to the UK etc etc.
Its fairly straightforward. Our #1 son is back in the UK at Swansea reading chemical engineering. Since we don't yet have a permanent resident status, he was able to apply for UK rates and student loans, making it around $12,000 year..it is a LOT more expensive (though still not as expensive as Penn State - in the town we live in) to be accepted as a foreign student - think $50k /year is the current rate, could be more

There is a very little acceptance of AP grades as anything like equivalent to UK A level, which is a great shame, I've seen the work in AP physics and calculus for example, and it is at least comparable, and probably superior to A level work - so there is a requirement ( at least in STEM subjects) for 3 or 4 grade 5 APs - to enter the school of your choice.
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Old May 12th 2017, 3:39 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

When we were going to college fairs there were quite a few British universities with stands. They love fee-paying US students. Loads of money and it's paid up front. I wouldn't think it would be too hard for your daughter to get a place - the admissions people are fully aware of AP standards , SAT ACT etc.
So, my advice would be to get along to a few of the college fairs near you.
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Old May 12th 2017, 8:17 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Originally Posted by geoff52 View Post
In my opinion which university your daughter goes to is more important than which country.
UK universities have been dumbed down, ever since the polytechnics where converted to universities.
I would suggest your daughter applies to good university (maybe an Ivy league) in the US.
Such a blanket statement is wholly inaccurate. Your first sentence was more accurate, the actual university is more important than the country. There are challenging US universities along with 'easy' ones, just like there's plenty of the same in the UK.

I did an undergraduate year abroad at a UK uni and found it far easier than my USA university studies, for example. I'll bet there's others that have found the opposite. It's all down to the individual institution.
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Old May 12th 2017, 8:47 am
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
When we were going to college fairs there were quite a few British universities with stands. They love fee-paying US students. Loads of money and it's paid up front. I wouldn't think it would be too hard for your daughter to get a place - the admissions people are fully aware of AP standards , SAT ACT etc.
So, my advice would be to get along to a few of the college fairs near you.
Yes. My experience has been that AP is looked upon very highly in foreign countries. For instance if you get a score of "4" (out of 5) on four different AP exams, Australia awards you an ATAR of 99 - that is almost the highest ranking you could possibly get and means you will have your pick of any university you want. Australian government schools don't offer AP, they apply that to international students who have taken AP.

As well, OP, I did not realize in my earlier reply that your daughter had only just finished freshman year (for some reason I thought she was older). In that case - good to be informed as you are doing, but don't panic. She is likely to change her mind several times before making a decision.
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Old May 12th 2017, 1:34 pm
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Default Re: General Feedback...UK University for USC child

You know, if she's keen on studying abroad....

you could look at some of the European countries that offer degrees in english language. You may not have the benefit of domestic EU fees ( if Brexit has happened by then) but even so, the international fees are lower than the UK ones.

The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden all offer degrees taught in English. My son is going to Amsterdam University College and all of the classes are taught in English.

Romania has some very good private universities too. I'm always hearing about how good one of them in particular is for dentistry. UK students go there to get their dental degree and then go back to the UK to work, many of the faculty are top Professors from the UK that go there to teach.
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