Are you planning to Study Abroad post-high school? 9 Ways Universities in the UK & Europe Are Different from the US for International Students - UniVisory
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Are you planning to Study Abroad post-high school? 9 Ways Universities in the UK & Europe Are Different from the US for International Students


Are you planning to Study Abroad post-high school? 9 Ways Universities in the UK & Europe Are Different from the US for International Students

The UK, Europe, and the USA are the most popular destinations for international students when applying for their undergraduate degree courses. More than half of the world’s 200 top-ranked universities are located in the UK/Europe or the US. Both the countries share a rich tradition of excellent quality education, research facilities, and job opportunities, thus making them top choices for undergraduate admissions. 

If you are an international student, you might be confused about which country to choose while applying for your graduate degree. Though these countries provide an excellent environment for studies, the structure of classes, the duration of the degrees, and even the duration of courses are different from one another. This blog emphasises the difference between UK, European and, US universities.

Point-Wise Differences Between the Universities in the United States and the United Kingdom & Europe

Cost of Education

In the US, the cost of education is relatively higher than in the UK. For example, the approximate cost of an undergraduate degree from a top university in the US can be around $200K for four years, though scholarships can be more liberal. 

The cost of education in the UK & Europe is low as compared to the US. The price for undergraduate studies in the UK can be approximately 120K for three years; in the Netherlands and Ireland, it can be roughly $90K for three years. In Belgium (KU Leuven, etc.), it can be approximately $70K for three years. Moreover, some universities in Germany and France have nominal tuition fees for international students.

University Campus

University campuses in the US are vast. In addition, many universities may have inbuilt stadiums with a strong emphasis on extracurricular involvement in clubs, sports, etc.

While in the UK, in general, university campuses are relatively small, with less emphasis on extracurriculars. 

Education System

The liberal arts-based education system in the US offers flexibility to explore yourself before committing to your chosen field of study.

In the UK, students are generally admitted to their field of study with limited flexibility to change.

In the UK, universities favour depth over the breadth of a course. They want the students to focus on their particular subject. As a result, classes are more lecture-based, and many times, no assignments are given.

However, in the US, they pay more attention to the breadth of the course. Students are required to do weekly assignments, major research papers, and oral presentations during the course.

Types of Classes

Classes in the US are more diverse than UK & Europe since students’ cohorts can have varied interests and fields of study. 

In the UK, students will be primarily from the same field of study in a single class.

Support for International Students

There’s a strong support system for international students in each department and school within the university system in the US.

In the UK, many universities may have an “on your own” culture which can be primarily driven by the similarity of the study field from the beginning.

Duration of the Course

The duration of a bachelor’s degree program can be a minimum of 4 years in the US, while in double major or honours, the degree can go up to 5 years.

In the UK, the duration of a bachelor’s degree program is generally three years.

Admission Criteria 

US universities have a holistic admission process encompassing academic excellence, extracurricular activities, personal statements, secondary essays, letters of recommendation, etc.

Universities in the United Kingdom look mainly for students’ grades, deep interests in a particular subject, and extracurriculars.

Entrance Exams

There’s hardly any separate entrance exam or interview (only a few colleges or programs may have entrance exams) in the US universities.

Many universities in the UK can have entrance exams and personal interviews.

The Predictability of Admission

In the US, the predictability of admission is low since the admission process is complex, involving academics, essays, secondary essays, LORs, extracurriculars, etc.

The predictability of admission is relatively high in the UK or any other European undergraduate institution.

Final Words

There is indeed a significant difference between UK, European, and US universities. However, these destinations provide an excellent education. All these countries are actively accepting applications and welcoming international students. Studying in top universities in the US, UK, or Europe is an enriching and transformational experience. 

If you plan to study abroad but cannot make up your mind on the destination country, UniVisory’s deep research can help you navigate this journey and decide on the best-fit country and university.

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