American Interested in Applying to a UK Universtity

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: American Interested in Applying to a UK Universtity
By Neobez (Neobez) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:06 pm: Edit

Hey guys, Oxford and Cambridge are probably out of my reach, but I'm wondering if you knew of some other good schools in England and how I would go about applying to them? If you could put down the top 5 schools in England.

I am an IB student, so I guess that helps me in applying to foreign universities. I don't have my predicted scores yet, just IB Spanish SL (5) from this past year. Hopefully I'll break 35 with the tok/ee.

I know Oxford and Cambridge base admissions conditionally on a student's ability to reach a certain diploma score.

So how would I go about applying to foreign unis? Are they any good with aid?

Since they base admissions on scores which come out in july, if I put in the 200 deposit in an american school on May 1st, can I later choose not to attend w/ no repercussions?

Thanks for any help.

By Txmommtpbd (Txmommtpbd) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:50 pm: Edit

I don't know anything about the rankings of UK universities but my son did go to graduate school at the University of Newcastle because of their graduate program in Archaeology. We went through the standard US process (PLUS and Stafford loans) for funding because none was offered by the university to non-EU students.

Regarding deposits to American schools, it's very likely that you will lose your deposit if you withdraw your acceptance after May 1. Check with each school; most include this statement in their acceptance letters but would probably tell you over the phone now.

Hope this helps. TX Mom

By Takeheart (Takeheart) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

From what little I know about international colleges (most of my experience is with Trinity in Dublin, Ireland), I can tell you that I don't believe they offer foreign students financial aid. Their tuition at full price is lower than that of many (most?) top american universities, but it's still in the neighborhood of ~$15,000 a year, if I recall properly. Also, I'm not sure if you're aware, you can only apply to one of Cambridge and Oxford (decreases competition, makes students focus on "fit" -- imagine if U.S. students could only apply to one Ivy League school)

As for other UK schools, here (,,716,00.html) is a ranking of some. It's like the U.S. News ranking, except for the UK.

Applications are all handles through UCAS (, which is like our Common App system.

Anyway, that's the bare bones of UK admissions. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I might be able to answer, or at the very least, track down the answer.

By Neobez (Neobez) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:19 pm: Edit

thanks so much,
15k isn't bad comparatively hmmm.
How are they with admissions? Like the University College at London and Edinburgh, what are there admit rates, and their admit rates for international students?

By Takeheart (Takeheart) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:53 am: Edit

I'm not sure what their acceptance rates are, but I don't think that the acceptance rates of UK universities are as cared about as they are in the US. I think that UK students generally are much more moderate with their applications (i.e. don't put in an application at every elite school hoping to get into one) than students in the US, so acceptance rates may be much higher, but there is a much more qualified student body. Anyway, I remember someone telling me that it is easier to get into a UK university as an international student. UK students pay a much reduced price (somewhere in the neighborhood of ~$2000 a year) at university, so international students are "cash cows" for the UK universities, which can help to sway the admissions decision.
An admissions officer told me that Trinity College in Dublin looks for SAT scores at minimum 1250 - 1300 and a GPA of 3.3+. Granted, Trinity isn't Oxford or Cambridge, but it is the best school in Ireland. In any case, I'm sure that you would be a qualified applicant at the school of your choice, especially being in the IB program.

A great place to start finding out information is by looking around the websites of the schools you are interested in. If you can't find what you are looking for, e-mail someone. I've found that everyone was more than happy to help me, and I was even sent an enourmous package of information at no charge (many US schools charge when you request things of that size).

Good luck with your applications.

By Rums (Rums) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 06:05 am: Edit

Takeheart - you're absolutely right about the Cashcow thing! For example, at any medical school the fees for an EU student are roughly £1,200pa, for non-EU students however, that rises to £20,000pa (USD 36,724), or for a typical Engineering course USD 22,000. All colleges of the University of London have very high numbers of international students, for example i think about a quarter of University College students are from non-EU countries the same goes for King's College and Imperial College, and about a half of London School of Econs. students are from abroad. You'll need a full IB Diploma and for certain degree courses there may be subject requirements (eg HL Bio, Chem, Phys, plus your 3 SL courses for Medicine).

By Lauraanne (Lauraanne) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 06:16 am: Edit

You have to be much more more moderate with your applications because you can only apply to six schools!
The UCAS application is really easy - you only have to worry about the personal statement (nothing like the US admissions essay) and you have to demonstrate enthusiasm and interest in the subject.
UCL and Edinburgh are both good schools - it's not that hard to get offers from them. I received offers from both when I was applying (ABB and BBB if memory serves correctly) If you look at online prospectuses you should be able to see the typical offer for each subject, and some unis will have typical IB scores expected as well as A Levels.
It was a few years ago now but what happens eventually is this. You should have all your offers in by about Mid-April, and if you're a strong student it's not unusual to get 5 or 6 offeres. By the end of April you have to choose two of your offers - one first choice and one insurance choice (an offer with lower expected grades just in case it all goes wrong) If you get unconditional offers (rare, but not unheard of for overseas students) then you only pick one. You can also pick just one if you only have one offer you really like.

What subject are you actually interested in, so we can all suggest schools that are strong in that subject.

By Lordmandean (Lordmandean) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 08:15 am: Edit

Stay in US....UK Universities are commercial paper granting institutions.

By Takeheart (Takeheart) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Oh yes, one thing that is very, very important to mention that I don't know if you know: you apply to read a subject (i.e. english, economics, etc) and you have a very narrow and focused study of only that subject. If you aren't very nearly sure of what you want to study, a UK uni probably isn't for you.

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