September – the time of year when children across the country leave the nest and head off to university. But why are increasing numbers choosing to fly that bit further from home and attend colleges in the US? With a 31% increase in British applications to American schools over the last four years, what’s driving students to look Stateside for their further education?
There’s undoubtedly a wealth of leading institutions to choose from. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities’ 2018 report, Harvard and Stanford pip Cambridge to secure the top two spots, with eight of the top 10 universities hailing from the US. And whereas many perceive these elite colleges comes with an equally elite price tag, that may no longer be the case.
As rising fees in the UK place an increasing burden on British graduates, American colleges are travelling the world to lure top talent across the pond with incredibly lucrative offers. From sports scholarships to funding based on financial-need, these packages can cover everything from room and board to flights home, laptops and even phone bills.
Another draw for overseas students is the flexibility of the American system. Whereas most universities in the UK will only offer single degrees, which are difficult to change mid-way through, American colleges take a much more interdisciplinary approach. Students can continue with a broad range of subjects, with most only choosing their major in the second year. With the option to take double majors – or a minor in an additional field – the US college system is ideal for those still wanting to explore their academic options.
This is being recognised by employers too, who are increasingly looking for applicants with a broad skillset and an international outlook. The resilience, independence and curiosity required to study abroad can be a significant boost to the CV.
Add to this the vibrant campus life, strong alumni networks and host of extracurricular activities on offer, and it’s easy to see why US colleges are gaining ground on their British counterparts.
For students considering embarking on their own American dream, it’s well worth a visit to the Fulbright Commission’s USA College Day on 28th September, 2018. If you’re still undecided, head over to this month’s blog post, where the Figtree US college advisory services team have shared their thoughts on the merits of the UK and US systems.