Looking for an Edge in the Hyper Competitive College Admissions Process? Consider Top UK Schools

Posted on

January 16, 2018


Greg Kaplan


As the acceptance rates at top public and private universities across the United States plummet, many parents ask, “Is there anywhere my child would be a preferred applicant?”  Sadly, the answer is probably no, unless your uncle has a dorm named after him at an Ivy League school, or your child is the next Serena Williams of tennis.   

However, many of the most highly regarded colleges in the United Kingdom actively seek American students to add diverse perspectives to their classes, with some of the most prestigious schools boasting acceptance rates three times as high as their American peer schools.

To facilitate the process of Americans applying to UK colleges, some of these schools are making the process easier by accepting the Common Application (the application form used by many American colleges) and considering students’ SAT and ACT scores as part of the application.  Said differently, applying to a school like St. Andrews or University of Edinburgh aligns with what many high school seniors will do when applying to public and private universities closer to home.

Students considering the UK for college have similar choices for campuses, majors, and settings as they do in the US.  Depending on what a student seeks in a British college, they will find colleges offering gothic and historic architecture, close-knit campuses, city locations and internationally recognized STEM and business programs. 

As tuition costs skyrocket across the United States, it’s worth noting that tuition at many of these UK schools actually work out as less expensive than the in-state tuition for public universities. For international students from the US, the tuition at St. Andrews — arguably one of the most famous and prestigious colleges in the UK — costs less than the in-state tuition for some flagship state schools.

What does going to a UK school mean for job prospects for American students?  While it may be more difficult to obtain a visa to work in the UK after college, a UK college student originally from Los Angeles recently told me of a job fair for Bank of America held in London.  American multinationals routinely recruit grads from top UK colleges.

The dramatic rise in competition and cost for attending colleges across the United States requires creativity.  For some, attending college across the pond may provide a world-class education at a lower cost than available to them at home.  As globalization continues to drive economic growth, many students will find an international college experience invaluable for their careers and personal growth, which is what college is truly about.

I found spending a semester of college in Argentina to be one of the most defining experiences in my life. Getting out of my comfort zone and developing fluency in Spanish opened up incredible opportunities for me.  I never would have landed a job on Wall Street after college but for studying abroad in Argentina. Drawing on both my own personal experience and a strategic approach to the application process and beyond, I am excited to support students who seek similar international experiences for their education. 

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