Why Study in USA
USA is by far the largest higher educational system in the world and certainly one of the most prestigious. The language of instruction is English and the educational structures derive ultimately from British models. Where differences have developed, they are generally easily
understood by UK students. The US division between a private and a public sector, for example, is much less marked in higher education in the United Kingdom, but not entirely unknown either. The generosity of provision of educational resources in the United States – libraries, laboratories, facilities – is also widely known and admired here, as elsewhere.
Many non-academic elements add a great deal to the appeal. The United States is one of the richest countries in the world but not the most expensive in which to live. Though much depends on where you live and on the current exchange rate (important caveats), students generally consider the cost of living to be similar to that in Britain. The United States also has a lifestyle which is widely admired, and as widely deplored and often imitated. American culture is universally familiar in Britain as a consequence of the popularity of US films, television and music.
The primary attraction of the United States is, of course, that many of its individual institutions are considered to be among the very best in the world (though not everyone can hope to find places there). A few have long-established connections with universities in Britain. Sometimes there are ‘twinning arrangements’ which means that the partners are generally well known and highly regarded. Like Europe, the United States can boast centers of excellence in virtually every field of study that UK students favor. In total, it offers an unrivalled degree of choice, of institution, of course, of approach. And, though the American system is much more diverse than that of the United Kingdom, the two are felt on the whole to fit together quite well. Students moving between them have almost always found this to be relatively smooth and harmonious, though seldom effortless.
But, while the sheer size and diversity of educational provision in the United States are impressive – there are said to be over 4,000 post-secondary-education institutions – this presents you with difficult decisions. Institutions range in reputation from the world-class leaders, where nearly everyone would want to study, to places serving a local community and without any serious pretensions to sophistication or prestige, which you might prefer to avoid. Fortunately, the problem is readily solved. Higher education in the United States is probably more written about, dissected, analyzed and classified than any other area of education in the world. It is quite easy
to find league tables to categories almost any kind of institution. Often, lengthy descriptions are available of the status, past and current, of individual colleges and universities. These may not immediately relate to the needs and interests of a British student but they will go a long way towards meeting those, too.