Category

American university advice

I like to learn in America

By | American university advice, Coaching in Education

In a lakefront campus in Greensboro, North Carolina, the American Hebrew Academy welcomes applications from UK pupils. The international Jewish boarding school has an 88,000 sq ft aquatics centre and sports complex, extensive residential facilities and security designed by Israeli experts. The academy’s mission is “to educate future leaders and enrich Jewish identity”. Shabbat and Yomtovim are celebrated, including Friday-night family-style meals complete with zemirot, bensching and Israeli dancing and students often lead the daily morning and evening prayer services. Teaching is in small classes and every pupil is given a tablet computer. The school will hold particular appeal for those hoping to progress to a top American university, as a high proportion of its pupils obtain places at Ivy League colleges.

Students considering applying to American universities are sometimes put off by the tests required. But there is no need to worry, explains Natalie Lancer, of natalielancer.com and myuniapplication.com. “Thousands of UK students are accepted to study in the USA every year,” she says “and students capable of getting good grades at A-level will have no problem, provided they do enough practice.” Two tests are available, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT).

NATALIE’S ADVICE :

  1. Find out if you need to take the tests at all. Although required by top US universities and colleges, the tests are optional for many.less-competitive schools. Also find out if you need to take additional SAT subject tests, or the extended “ACT with writing”.
  2. Take the free online practice tests. The SAT and ACT are of similar difficulty but the structure and content are different, so see which you prefer.
  3. Register and book a test date (allow four to six months to practise).
  4. The SAT is offered six times a year, but some subjects are not available on every date. The ACT is five times a year. Most tests are on Saturdays, but Sunday ACTs are available at Immanuel College, Bushey, Herts.
  5. Buy a book of practice tests and practise two to three hours each weekend. Consult an expert adviser to formalise your revision strategy.
  6. Find out from the college websites the percentage of admitted students who achieved particular scores. Aim to score in the top 50 per cent for the best chance.
  7. If possible, take tests in the spring or summer of year 12, as the standard is roughly equivalent to AS level.
  8. Re-take in the autumn of year 13 if your scores from the previous try were not as good as you had hoped.
  9. Work hard to get good AS and A2 grades. Reserve time in the summer between years 12 and 13 to work on application essays.
  10. Find an adviser or mentor who can help you improve performance and review your application essays.

 

Are you heading for Havard?

By | American university advice, Coaching in Education

Applying to ‘college’ (university) in the USA used to be rare amongst British students – perhaps the preserve of students with sports scholarships or parents with deep pockets.  However, the recent rise of tuition fees in the UK, combined with the financial aid packages available at some US colleges, mean that the difference in cost between studying in the UK and USA is becoming much smaller.  In some cases, crossing the pond will enable a student to emerge after four years with a good Bachelors degree, an international CV and little or no debt.

While tuition fees in the USA can be even higher than the UK – £9,000 per year is about average – tuition and living costs can be offset by grants provided by many colleges, some of which are available to British students.  Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Dartmouth and Amherst are the most generous to international students.  In practice, families with incomes of less than £40,000 per annum will often get all costs paid by these colleges, including tuition, food, accommodation, books and a travel allowance for two trips home a year.  Families with higher incomes also receive means-tested grants, and even a salary of £110,000 will attract aid.  In addition, about 60 other US colleges also provide at least some financial aid to international applicants.  As the aid is usually in the form of grants, not loans, the money does not have to be paid back in most cases.

But there are many other good reasons to study in the USA besides finance.  By far the most important factor to UK students is the broad ‘liberal arts’ curriculum that is followed in most US colleges.  Unlike in the UK, there is no need to commit to one or two subjects to study when you apply.  In the USA, apart from a small core curriculum, you can study whatever you like for the first 18 months.  This is ideal for those students who are keen to explore new interests before choosing which subjects to study in more depth.

American universities also seek to educate the ‘whole person’.  As such, extracurricular activities are considered an integral part of a student’s experience, rather than ancillary to the main business of education, as they are often viewed in the UK.  A large US college will have around 400 recognised student clubs, including sports teams, performing arts groups, international groups, religious groups, community service groups, and newspaper and magazine publications.  The emphasis on holistic education is reflected in the application process, where extracurricular achievement is valued just as much as academic ability and you will be asked to explain how you intend to contribute to college life.

Finally, an important reason to study in the USA is that you will acquire a more global outlook.  Students from all over the world study in the USA and your multicultural experience will be valued by future employers.  Global companies look to hire graduates who can communicate in a variety of contexts and with different people.  What better way to demonstrate an understanding that the world really is getting smaller than by studying abroad?  You will also build up a global network of contacts, useful in anything you go on to do later in your career.

Natalie is the founder of NatalieLancer.com and MyUniApplication.com.  She can guide you with all aspects of both US and UK university applications and give you expert guidance on your application essays and personal statement. She also offers interview preparation and SAT/ACT preparation classes.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at natalie@natalielancer.com. www.myuniapplication.com

 


 

Natalie’s Top tips for applying to US colleges:

  • Research the US colleges thoroughly and create a shortlist.
  • Allow plenty of time to draft and redraft your application essays and show it to your family, your teachers, and, if possible, a specialist.
  • Practise taking the standardised tests (SATs or ACTs), an important part of your application.
  • Calculate the net cost of your education, taking account of tuition fees, living costs and financial aid.
  • Investigate if there are any scholarships for which you can apply, for example, in music or sport.
  • Talk to a professional adviser such as Natalie Lancer, for guidance in putting together a successful application.

 


 

 

Article by Natalie Lancer, founder of NatalieLancer.com and MyUniApplication.com and Stuart Gordon, Educational Consultant

Across the Pond

By | American university advice, Coaching in Education

Applying to ‘college’ (university) in the USA used to be rare amongst British students – perhaps the preserve of students with sports scholarships or parents with deep pockets.  However, the recent rise of tuition fees in the UK, combined with the financial aid packages available at some US colleges, mean that the difference in cost between studying in the UK and USA is becoming much smaller.  In some cases, crossing the pond will enable a student to emerge after four years with a good Bachelors degree, an international CV and little or no debt.

While tuition fees in the USA can be even higher than the UK – £9,000 per year is about average – tuition and living costs can be offset by grants provided by many colleges, some of which are available to British students.  Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Dartmouth and Amherst are the most generous to international students.  In practice, families with incomes of less than £40,000 per annum will often get all costs paid by these colleges, including tuition, food, accommodation, books and a travel allowance for two trips home a year.  Families with higher incomes also receive means-tested grants, and even a salary of £110,000 will attract aid.  In addition, about 60 other US colleges also provide at least some financial aid to international applicants.  As the aid is usually in the form of grants, not loans, the money does not have to be paid back in most cases.

But there are many other good reasons to study in the USA besides finance.  By far the most important factor to UK students is the broad ‘liberal arts’ curriculum that is followed in most US colleges.  Unlike in the UK, there is no need to commit to one or two subjects to study when you apply.  In the USA, apart from a small core curriculum, you can study whatever you like for the first 18 months.  This is ideal for those students who are keen to explore new interests before choosing which subjects to study in more depth.

American universities also seek to educate the ‘whole person’.  As such, extracurricular activities are considered an integral part of a student’s experience, rather than ancillary to the main business of education, as they are often viewed in the UK.  A large US college will have around 400 recognised student clubs, including sports teams, performing arts groups, international groups, religious groups, community service groups, and newspaper and magazine publications.  The emphasis on holistic education is reflected in the application process, where extracurricular achievement is valued just as much as academic ability and you will be asked to explain how you intend to contribute to college life.

Finally, an important reason to study in the USA is that you will acquire a more global outlook.  Students from all over the world study in the USA and your multicultural experience will be valued by future employers.  Global companies look to hire graduates who can communicate in a variety of contexts and with different people.  What better way to demonstrate an understanding that the world really is getting smaller than by studying abroad?  You will also build up a global network of contacts, useful in anything you go on to do later in your career.

Natalie is the founder of NatalieLancer.com and MyUniApplication.com.  She can guide you with all aspects of both US and UK university applications and give you expert guidance on your application essays and personal statement. She also offers interview preparation and SAT/ACT preparation classes.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at natalie@natalielancer.com. www.myuniapplication.com


Natalie’s Top tips for applying to US colleges:

  • Research the US colleges thoroughly and create a shortlist.
  • Allow plenty of time to draft and redraft your application essays and show it to your family, your teachers, and, if possible, a specialist.
  • Practise taking the standardised tests (SATs or ACTs), an important part of your application.
  • Calculate the net cost of your education, taking account of tuition fees, living costs and financial aid.
  • Investigate if there are any scholarships for which you can apply, for example, in music or sport.
  • Talk to a professional adviser such as Natalie Lancer, for guidance in putting together a successful application.