College in the USA

The option of university in the United States is becoming an increasingly popular option for students in the UK. In Charterhouse, the number in the Lower Sixth interested has grown year on year. This raises questions as to why the US is more attractive now than ever before.

Why the US?

Some students asked, stated the overall reputation of the college experience in the states. Everything from the Liberal Arts curriculum to Greek life: there are things in the US which simply aren’t available here in the UK, regardless of rankings or reputation. Some students were more environmentally driven, with the weather, mostly rain and the absence of a blue sky, being the thing which meant UK universities weren’t for them.

How the US?

The process of applying for a US university is infamously longwinded, but ultimately very rewarding. The first step is completing the rigorous series of standardised testing, which all good universities, apart from NYU and Wesleyan require for a start. Here, each student, should make the decision between the SAT and the ACT, which act as filters for the most competitive universities at the start of the selection process. There is no pause at all as it’s recommended that competitive students take at least 2 SAT II Subject Tests in their junior year. The whole issue surrounding these subject tests have become growingly complex. Often those looking to pursue engineering or sciences are required to take Maths [either Level 1 or 2] with Physics or Chemistry; those interested in the humanities or arts are also required to take tests to elevate their application above others. 

Transcripts are the next thing. Despite all the testing required to apply, performance at school still matters a great deal. Even for British students, US institutions require all grades achieved across the chosen subjects, from GCSE to A-level or IB. Note, if standardised testing is not your strong point, excellent universities like Yale ensure that a strong school record can still put your application back on track.

Where the US?

When people think about applying it’s usually to Ivies on the East Coast, and a couple of places on the West Coast, like Stanford and Berkeley. However, there are great colleges outside the latter. Duke in North Carolina is an exhibition of what you get when you mix work and play with it ranking 9th nationally in 2015. In Washington DC there’s the option of Georgetown which boasts alumni including Bill Clinton and Allen Iverson.

When the US?

If looking into higher education in America, the sooner the better-starting from Junior Sixth-with standardised testing the best thing to get out of the way. Having time also allows applicants to build up their extracurriculars which are significant indicators for admissions officers about how a candidate will be like on campus.