Why Study in the USA?

Interested in studying in the USA? You’re not alone: every year, thousands of international students choose the USA for their full degrees and study abroad programmes.

Reputation and variety

Among top-tier American institutions, billions of dollars are invested into university research, average graduate salaries are high, and student to staff ratios are low.

In world university league tables, hundreds of universities in the US rank comparably to or higher than UK universities:

University rankings should be taken with a pinch of salt though, and should not be the only metric by which you choose an institution. There are many more important factors to consider.

There are also over 4,000 US universities offering undergraduate degrees. With such a wide range of universities and degrees on offer, you can find an institution that fits your academic and personal needs.

The flexibility of the liberal arts approach

Undergraduate degrees in the USA are more flexible than in the UK. You do not need to know which subject you want to ‘major’ in before you apply. Lots of students apply ‘undecided’ and figure out their majors along the way.

As part of the liberal arts philosophy, you are allowed to explore your academic interests by taking classes from a variety of subjects before focusing on your major.

You can even ‘double major’ in two subjects, or ‘minor’ in a subject you want to take a few classes in.

Here are some of the undergraduate degrees you might be able to read in the USA:

  • Mathematics and Philosophy
  • History with a minor in Economics
  • Dance Anthropology and Human Biology
  • Music and Business Studies
  • Political Communication with a minor in French

Or you could design your own major, taking classes from several departments.

US universities aim to graduate well-rounded students, who can engage with the world in an interdisciplinary manner and with a broad skill set in both the arts and the sciences.

Funding for your studies

Many students are able to fund their studies through scholarships or financial aid from US universities and external funding bodies.

A significant proportion of international students in the USA report their American university as their primary source of funding.

Funding can be offered to students from universities or external funding bodies on the basis of:

  • Financial need
  • Merit
  • Extracurricular achievement
  • Talent
  • Country of origin
  • Subject of interest
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • And more!

If you look hard enough, there is a scholarship out there for you.

In addition, funded undergraduate programmes are open to students at UK schools, sixth-form colleges and universities:

Experience life on campus

US universities are known for their vibrant campus life, with many extracurricular opportunities available:

  • Sports (varsity and intramural)
  • Student government
  • Journalism
  • Performing arts
  • Volunteering
  • Hundreds of clubs and societies

Some of the quirkiest clubs at certain campuses include:

  • Tree climbing
  • Humans vs zombies
  • Squirrel feeding
  • The US Quidditch league
  • People-watching

With so many ways to get involved in American college life, you shouldn’t expect four years spent in the classroom and library.

Internationalise your CV

Employers are increasingly looking for graduates with international experience and broad skill sets.  

International students in the USA can gain work experience through employment opportunities on campus and by completing internships during the holidays, sometimes for academic credit.

After graduating, you can apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permit. This allows you to work in the USA for up to one year after your US degree, or up to three years for STEM graduates.

Upon your return to the UK, you may find that your international study experience is particularly appealing to employers.

Additional Resources