News Nov 12th 2015

Where Should You Get Your Degree?

There is an everlasting rivalry between US and UK universities for domination on the international top lists of high-quality education. According to the current Best Global University Rankings provided by U. S. News, US universities have gained the upper hand. Is that fact enough for prospective college and university students to make the final decision? No; the choice should be based upon personal preferences and careful examination of the educational systems of these two countries.

First of all, the United States and the United Kingdom are very different countries. In addition to the educational standards, you should also consider the cultural differences and habitual behavior of the people. For example, the Americans are sociable and casual, while the British are a bit colder and more sarcastic. You'll be surprised how much truth there is behind these stereotypes. Let's examine the differences between these two educational systems step by step. Hopefully, you'll be closer to your final decision once you come to the end of this article.

1. Knowledge vs. Practical Skills

British universities emphasize theoretical knowledge. You can expect tons of books, research projects, and exams. This type of education is especially successful for academic disciplines that study human culture, such as literature, philosophy, ancient and modern languages, musicology, politics, international relations, law, classical studies, etc. American schools, on the other hand, are a better choice for students who want to gain practical skills that would prepare them for the job market. This approach is great if you're planning to study journalism, programming, science, engineering, math, and other disciplines that require more practice.

2. Tuition Costs

You can't expect cheap education if you're planning to study in the US or UK. However, the cost for studying in the USA is generally higher. British tuitions are regulated by law – they can't charge more than £9,000 on yearly basis (that's between $13,000 and $14,000). The fees for international students are significantly higher, but they are still being regulated by the government. On the other hand, U. S. students are much more ‘business-oriented'. There is very little governmental control over their fees, so there are huge differences in the cost between different institutions. Public 2-year colleges charge around $3,000 per year, but the fees for private 4-year colleges revolve around $30,000 per year. Some of the most reputable institutions (such as Harvard) charge up to $50,000 per year. Bottom line, your budget is one of the crucial elements that will help you determine the universities you'll apply to.

3. Social Life

American college life revolves around campus and dorm parties. Drinking is a big part of it, and everyone is happy to meet new people. You've surely heard about fraternities and sororities – that's where the best parties are.

British people are not boring at all when it comes to drinking. They hang out in great pubs; and they can start drinking legally at 18! In the US, you'll need a fake ID to drink at that age. Pubs are great for socializing, because the music is subtle and you can hear other people talking.

Consider Your Options Well Before Coming to a Final Conclusion

Remember: both UK and US provide superb education. Each system has its advantages over the other one, but we can hardly speak about disadvantages. If you have an opportunity to apply to British or American universities, consider the points above and you'll have a better idea for the system that's more suitable for your preferences.

The tuition fees, the social life, and the educational system itself are great factors you should pay attention to. The American universities are focused on breadth, so you'll get more versatile and practical interdisciplinary knowledge; whereas the British universities are aimed at providing focused, in-depth education in the discipline of your choice.

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