Studying in America | Guidance and Tips

7 min read

Thinking about doing your degree in the States? We've got you covered!

Embarking on a course in a foreign country can be daunting for the bravest of students, but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity!

If you're still weighing up the pros and cons of doing your undergraduate degree in the US, look no further. In this blog post, we will give you an introduction into the different degrees on offer, what kind of financial support is available for international students and how the American University system works!

Why study in America?

According to the Fullbright Commission, there are around 11,600 students from the UK enrolled at American Universities. 

America is home to many of the world's most respected universities, including the likes of Harvard, NYU, Yale, Brown and Stanford. Foreign students flock to these institutions for the high quality of teaching, learning resources and extracurricular activities. However, a lot of the decision-making will favour in what you're looking to get out of studying in America. There are many universities and colleges which aren't as well known internationally, but still offer a great education and overall student experience. 

TOP TIP: When researching Universities, remember that ranking systems are based on a variety of statistics. Just because a university ranks number one doesn't mean it's necessarily right for you, your sport or your chosen career path. Make sure to aim for one that is right for you, your sport and your chosen subject. 

How Does the American University system work?

If you are looking to study in America, then it really is a good idea to know how the system works over there. There are quite a few differences between the US and UK's higher education system.

For a start, it takes four years to complete an undergraduate degree in America. Courses tend to be very general during the first two years, and the specialism in your subject will come into play towards the tail-end of your degree. 

Degrees in America are heavily coursework-focused. This means that your overall grade is based more on the work you hand in throughout the year than on a cluster of exams organised at the end of a term. 

In your first year or two at a US university, you'll study a wide range of subjects, similar to what you will have experienced in secondary school. For instance, even if you're studying a liberal arts degree, you might be expected to take a Maths module. 

You'll progress from your freshman (first) year, into your sophomore (second), junior (third) and senior (you guessed it, fourth) years, where you will have a chance to focus on a subject you want to study. 

How does the American grade system differ?

In the UK, you will be awarded a percentage for every assessment you complete. These are then averaged out across your whole degree (some will be worth more than others) to form your final degree classification. 

This basically works out at 70% and above for a first (First-Class Honours), 60-70% for a 2:1 (Upper Second-Class Honours), 50-60% for a 2:2 (Lower Second-Class Honours), and 40-50% for a third (Third-Class Honours). 

Students who fail to achieve a third by just a few marks will receive an Ordinary Degree, without Honours. However, in America, all assessments are graded A-F. At the end of your degree, these are averaged out and converted into a Grade Point Average (GPA), ranging from 0-4. 

GPA UK Marks UK degree classification
4 70+ First class honours
3.7  65-69 Upper-second class honours
3.3 60-64 Upper second class honours
3 55-59 Lower-second class honours
2.7 50-54 Lower-second class honours
2.3 45-49 Third class honours
2 40-44 Third class honours
1 35-39 Ordinary/Unclassified degree
0 Below 35 Ordinary/ Unclassified degree

Fees and Costs of American Universities.

It's hard to say what the 'average' cost of tuition at an American University is, as the fees can vary dramatically depending on the type of university and length of degree you go for. 

In terms of what we do - securing a scholarship is the goal for each of our clients, and we will do everything possible to make it happen - but it can't be a condition of signing with us. We are dedicated to helping every student with the right talent and ambition to realise their potential with a US college scholarship.

Costs of living while studying in America.

Considering that most undergraduate courses in the U.S are four years long, you'll need to factor in the cost of actually living out there! Travel to and from America in addition to the cost of the social aspect of living in America will be funded by the student/student-athlete and not the university - so this is something to remember!

It is highly likely that you will be required to contribute towards your 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th years at university in the USA. As a result, it would be worthwhile to consider what, if any, level of financial contribution that you could potentially afford towards any fees not covered by the scholarship.

What are the benefits of going to an American University?

The End Goal:

Having a degree from an American University on your CV will make you look that much shinier to potential employers. You'll come out the other end with a well of life experience and independence. 

Diversity & Variety:

Life here, both as an international student and visitor, will probably be different from what you expect. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the images from films and television programs are not always true!

There is a wide range of schools, countless areas of study and speciality degrees. If you are interested in studying business, you are not regulated to just general study but can choose from many concentrations. 

One option you may not be aware of is studying at a community college, which is a two-year school in which you can begin your university study. You can complete the first two years of your bachelor's degree at a community college and then transfer your credentials to a four-year university. This is incredibly common in the USA. Community colleges offer lower tuition costs, smaller class sizes and more personal attention. Many community colleges also offer intensive English language programs. 

Or, you can begin your studies at a four-year university or college. The variation and number of choices reflect the diversity and enormity of the U.S. You can study at a large university or college. If you prefer a more intimate campus and a smaller community, you may choose a small private university. 

There are lots of important factors to think about when considering going to an American college or university, but remember that's why we are here to help, Many of our staff have gone through the same process, so they will be able to help you with any questions or concerns you might have!

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