Going to America

Overseas-education | Mabel Chan 25 Jul 2017

More and more British and Hong Kong sixth-formers studying in the UK are considering undergraduate study in the United States.

According to the Fulbright Commission,a total of 11,600 UK students chose American universities last year. Indeed, many UK universities - such as Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick and Nottingham - are world-class universities. Nonetheless, what US universities have to offer seems to be more attractive. American universities tend to adopt a broader liberal arts approach and flexible undergraduate degrees.

Wycliffe College, a co-educational day and boarding school on the edge of the small Cotswold town of Stonehouse, has a vision on this trend of studying abroad. In 2013, it appointed its first international universities coordinator and launched its SAT preparation program.

The school is the host center for the SAT for all of Wales and the southwest of England.

There are many factors to consider when you are preparing for studying in the United States, such as entrance tests, scholarships and the choices among university programs (more than 4,500 US colleges and universities offer undergraduate degrees).

This is where Wycliffe comes in with its specialist team of US-educated teachers, preparing weekly tutorials and practice tests. The support program, covering also applications to European and Canadian institutions, will give Hong Kong students attending Wycliffe plentiful options.

With all the prestigious British universities on their doorsteps, why are US universities appealing to more and more British students?

I believe that America's "liberal arts philosophy" is enticing for students who may favor collaboration and breadth. Undergraduates in the United States focus on a major and are required to take general education courses during the first years of studies. This arrangement helps to equip students with a broader range of knowledge and transferable skills.

Employers would certainly look favorably upon candidates with international study exposure, contacts across the continents and overseas work experience. Overseas students can work in the United States for up to one year after graduation. If they graduate in science, technology engineering and mathematics subjects, students can work in the country for up to three years.

Laurence Goodwin, international universities coordinator at Wycliffe, suggests that applying to US universities should not be done on a whim.

She recommends students consult the Fulbright Commission for information. Attending the USA College Day in London - the largest American university fair in the UK - would be useful too.

Wycliffe College has seen pupils gain places at top US universities (a British girl, Amelia Henley, won a scholarship to study at Harvard University in 2015).

UK universities may suit many Hong Kong students, but the combination of a British boarding school education and American undergraduate study, as well as work experience, may set them up for an enriching life.

Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink.www.facebook.com/ lucyqna



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