Ivy League VS Oxbridge: What Is The Difference?

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Comparing UK and US Universities: Choosing Between Oxbridge and the Ivy League

As a part of the Dukes Education network, Oxbridge Applications and A-List Education are sister companies with the same mission at their core; to help students achieve their full potential in their applications to top level universities. The difference between us – Oxbridge Applications focuses on Top UK universities (namely Oxford and Cambridge) whilst A-List focus on top US Universities (Ivy League Schools in particular). With our shared goals and different fields of expertise, we love the opportunity to work together; a chance we get quite often, particularly when it comes to helping applicants choose between their potential university career in the UK versus the US. In fact, we’re here to round up some of our most sought after information when it comes to comparing the two university systems.

First of all, when considering where you’d like to go for university, it’s crucial to think about what it will be like to study there, and whether the environment (both academic and lifestyle) suits you. At both Oxbridge Applications and A-List we spend plenty of time with candidates discussing the pros and cons of studying in each country. Various aspects of university life differ a huge amount between the UK and the US, including the way the curriculum works, how exams are conducted, where students live, what extracurriculars are run, and the availability of opportunities such as internships. For example, in the US curricula involve the selection of a central major subject alongside other core classes and electives, whereas in UK universities students tend to apply for one or two subjects and make any choices they may have from within said subjects. Differences such as these affect both the academic and day-to-day life of a student, so it’s crucial to do your research and think about whether university life in the US or the UK is likely to suit you better as an individual. 

Dealing with top university applicants, as we do, we spend a lot of time helping students picking between specifically Oxbridge and Ivy League schools. Whilst it’s perfectly allowed to apply to both an Oxbridge university and the Ivy League colleges, both application routes require extensive energy, effort and time, and students may find it particularly challenging to apply to both types of institution simultaneously. Therefore, we have helped many students research about each type of education to determine for which they, as individuals, are best fit. Key differences such as curriculum, exam structure, admissions process, tuition cost, and admissions statistics should all be taken into account when making this important decision. 

Another big difference between US and UK universities is the application process, in particular the Personal Statement. The differences between the personal statements for British and American universities are representative of the differences between the two educational systems. In short, while the UK system requires depth, the American system idealizes breadth. While in a UK statement, you will likely rattle off the most advanced books or theories you know in your subject, in the US statement, you will likely speak about a few extracurricular activities or a personal story that relates to a central tenet of your personal outlook on life and education. This means that, if you’re preparing your application without having decided for sure where you’re applying, or if you’re thinking of applying to both, then you’ll have to write different versions of your Statement to give you the best chance possible. 

If you’re wavering between the US and the UK, or think you might want to apply to both, we’re offering an Oxbridge Applications and A-List combination package, offering you the best of both our expertise in one neat bundle. To contact Oxbridge Applications directly, please fill out the enquiry form below and we’ll introduce you to them.