US vs. UK: 6 MAJOR Differences in Education System International Students Must Know

3 years ago



Ever wondered what’s the difference between US and UK education? According to Business Insider, there are 6 key differences in educational systems that students should know about.


Previously, the Typical Student team told you about US vs UK: 2 EPIC FAILS by Education Officials That Broke the Internet in May 2018 and US vs. UK Students: Who Smokes the Most Weed? (+ INFOGRAPHIC). Check these news items to learn more about the key differences between the US and the UK.


College vs. University: Translation Intricacies








Believe it or not, some differences might stem from the language barrier. USA students go to college, while students in the UK pursue higher education at university. Due to the differences between British and American English, a college has another meaning in the UK.


Colleges are educational facilities attended for 2 years after finishing school at 16 to get prepared for exams specifically. In the UK, college is also an institution to take vocational courses, and university is a place where people pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree.


Three-year degree vs. Four-year degree







In the UK, students attend university for three years to get a bachelor's degree, while in the USA it’s four years. Why do Britons have a shorter time frame of college attendance? Getting the uni over with in three years looks enticing, but what about all the fun students have in the last year?


To enjoy this responsibility-free time, UK students take a “gap year.” This year is dedicated to traveling and simply having fun. Most students use this time to have a blast, throw crazy parties and accumulate memories to remember.


Major Selection Timeframe







Students in the UK are under pressure from the beginning being forced to choose their major (course) at the time of university application. In the USA it's a bit more relaxed.


On the one hand, this prevents confusion later on, but in reality - that's quite a challenge for teenagers who change their minds a hundred times a day.


Tuition affordability







This might be shocking, but higher education in the UK is significantly cheaper compared to the USA. Americans studying abroad can actually save up A LOT of money on tuition and fees. Another paradox is that education in the UK is free for students from Scotland going to Scottish universities.


However, that is not the same for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They still pay tuition of up to £9,250, £9,000, and £4,030 respectively to attend school in their home countries. Still, these are insignificant expenses compared to the US, where an average yearly tuition is about $34,740 (as reported by the College Board, for 2017-2018 school year).


Grading System Difference







Differences in grading systems are often a stumbling point for students. The highest grade in the UK is called “first class honours” and is 70% and up. In the US, students are graded with GPAs (grading point average).


It is said that some UK institutions are planning to introduce the system similar to GPAs. To avoid unnecessary confusion, international students are advised to get an explanation of their grading.


MAJOR Advantage of US Education






So far, the UK education doesn’t look that bad, with all the free stuff and tuition coverage. However, don’t feel disappointed in US education, since there is college sports! It goes without saying, US colleges have bigger opportunities and visibility for athletes.


In the UK, professional athletes don't have to enroll in university to be able to play professionally. In the US, enrollment is a MUST to achieve the visibility needed for recruitment into serious sports leagues. Also, in the UK sports events aren’t as massive as in the US and don’t draw huge crowds of over 100,000 people like in the US.



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