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International students are interested in the attending US universities because they offer an excellent education with unparalleled student resources. In the top 100 universities in the world, the US has 58 schools, and the UK has 8. Also, with over 4,000 schools to choose from, students can choose a school that best fits their needs.

However, there are significant differences between US universities and schools in the UK and the rest of the world. Understanding these differences is the best way to determine of applying to US schools is the right choice for you.

Liberal Arts Ethos: When I ask my advisees why they are interested in US unis, most say they need more time to choose what they want to study. The pressure to choose a course in the UK and Europe is not best for every international student. US universities, from large research schools to small campus communities, embrace and promote the liberal arts ethos. This means students are asked to take classes in the humanities, social sciences, science, maths, and often creative arts even if these fields do not overlap with your specific area of study. The breadth approach in US education is great for international students who need more time to explore a variety subjects before they specialize. However, for international students who are keen to focus on their chosen field from the very beginning of their university careers may not want to attend a US uni.

Funding: A US university is a significant financial investment. There is no denying that US schools are the most expensive in the world. For international students, this means weighing the costs and benefits. Also, it means understanding funding options for international students. Currently, only the following US schools are need blend for international students: Amherst College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton University, Yale University. These schools will review an international student’s application without considering their financial need. However, all other schools will weigh a student’s application against the funds available to support that student. This means that financial aid is more competitive for international students! This does not mean you should not apply, but you should make a funding plan first. A-List recommends using the College Board’s Cost Calculator to begin this process. Also, we have a great webinar on funding for international students in our webinar library.

Law and Medicine: The liberal arts ethos adopted by most US unis also means they train future professionals, especially lawyers and doctors, quite differently. If you are hoping to become a lawyer or doctor and do not have a US green card or passport, then a US university may not be right for you. These degrees are awarded at post-graduate institutions. No BAs are given for law or medicine. Also, without aa US passport or Green Card, it is very difficult to be admitted to Law or Medical schools! Thus, if you are confident that these are your career goals, the US may not be the best option for you.

US unis provide a range of options and advantages for international students! However, the system is unique and doing your research is key. We are happy to offer free professional resources as you explore your options. Please visit our webinar library with advice from admissions experts. Also, this summer, A-List UK is offer free 30-minute chats with a college advisor! Please reach out to our Client Services Team to schedule your free meeting.

US Universities and International Students: Is it Right for You?
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