UK/US Education Compared!

3 min read
Since the 1980s, a dramatic increase in the number of high school graduates moving onto university has seen it become the norm. However, how beneficial, really, is a stint at uni in achieving that dream job? Could it be that the weaknesses in the UK’s higher education system have rendered it a waste of time and money in today’s society? It is no secret that those graduating from university today are facing higher debts than ever. With tuition fees reaching up to £9,000 per year, not to mention accommodation, food and the enormous pile of textbooks required for starting your course, it seems that a university education is completely out of the question for a substantial amount of students. Figures released recently show that the average student leaves university with a debt of around £44,000. This figure can haunt them their entire adult life, and for what? The myth that university graduates are paid more than those who skipped it is based entirely on old fashioned and out of date evidence. These days, an 18 year old in the UK can get far closer to achieving a high flying career by being hands on and working their way up, than they can by reading textbooks for four years, and they escape the debt. In many ways, it can be seen that America wins where the UK fails. An area in which the US are currently ahead is the fact that, effectively, the UK system forces those leaving high school to make an immediate decision on their future, at an age where they are too young, inexperienced and frankly unprepared to make the decision. In the states, however, their system allows much more for teenage uncertainty, as students don’t have to formally declare their major until their second or third year at uni. This means that significantly less graduates leave with a degree completely unrelated to their future career, while offering them a broader and wider education. Socially, there are also significant differences between US and UK university systems, and again the UK falls short. For the majority of British students, university marks their first time living away from home, and this can make for a lonely experience. In the states, however, there is a massive push for student groups, ranging from acapella singers to green committees. And that’s without mentioning the sororities and fraternities seen at universities up and down the country, where you are met with brothers and sisters there to guide you through your student life. Either way, in the US, you’re not alone. Clearly, the US is superior to the UK, with regard to college education, both socially and through an educational perspective. While in the UK, students graduate with a meaningless degree and years of debt; in the states, they are offered a much broader quality of education, ensuring that every student graduates with the tools they need to prosper in the world of work. By Bethany Sharpe

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