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Differences Between Student Life In The USA And The UK

Times Higher Education states that more than half of the world’s best 200 universities are located in the UK and in the USA. Of the first top ten universities worldwide, four are in the UK and five are in the USA.

These two countries are famous for the tradition of high quality education they provide, and for the culture that focuses on academic freedom and intellectualism. Both of them offer amazing conditions to students but if you have no idea which one of them to choose, you may want to know what the main differences between them are. 

The fact is that the tertiary educational system in the UK is quite different from the one in the USA even if they share common history parts and language. 

1. University vs. college

The first aspect you have to know is that they use different names for their high education, it is known as university in the UK and they name it college in the USA.

In the UK, the word college has another meaning, it’s a form of education you can follow for two years at the age of 16, after you complete compulsory school. It helps you prepare for the university admission exams.

You can also attend vocational courses at college. But if you want to get your bachelor’s degree you will have to enrol in the university.

2. The studied subjects

UK universities offer in depth education, you can choose to study one or two subjects.

For example if you choose chemistry, in your first year, the classes will cover a great extent of the subject and by the second year, you can select other topics within the main topic to narrow your education even further. 

When studying chemistry you will probably share some modules with the students who are studying biology and maths for example, but you will not study anything else than what’s related to your subject.

If you have not decided what subject to study, you’ll have to take a year off to understand what career you want to follow. 

USA universities have another way of educating people, you can choose one major subject but you will enter the university on a general course, like foreign literature.

If you have studied in the UK before entering university you may discover the USA strategy to be impossibly broad. 

3. Tuition style

UK professors don’t see academic success or failure as their responsibility.

They place the emphasis on independence and frequently trust their students to do research on their own. There will be times when you will have quizzes, but they do not have the role of tracking your progress. Instead, they inform you on your level of knowledge.

If you have failed to acquire the needed information and you decide not to do anything about it, no one will patronise you. If you are looking for an unconventional educational system, the British one is perfect because the professors will allow you to learn the way you want. 

The USA professors act similar to schoolteachers, they will do their best to help you get good grades and to improve your effectiveness.

You’ll have regular set homework, that counts for your final grade, you’ll take quizzes for them to track your progress and they will take regular tests to see if you are at peace with the collective progress. 

American professors offer feedback on your assignments and they grade you after you resubmit it according to their directions.

Some people think that the USA universities give an excessive helping hand to their students, but this is for you to decide. 

4. Accommodation

Both states offer residence halls in which to live but they differ in features. For example, if you’ll choose a British university you aren’t allowed to bring a pet if it’s bigger than a hamster, and even then, you may have to hide it in the wardrobe during room inspections.

The advantage is that you will have a bedroom by yourself, so you can ask your parents to care for your cat or dog during your college years. 

In the USA, residence halls do not strictly prohibit having a pet, but it’s quite unusual for someone to take their furred friend with them at the university.

But you may not be thrilled by the idea that you will have to share the bedroom with at least another person.

Actually, this is one of the reasons numerous students rent or buy condos in Scottsdale Arizona. Off campus accommodation solutions are a great option for you if you do not want a roommate. 

5. Teaching career skills

British universities have a strange approach when it comes to teaching their students career skills. In the past tertiary education was split into universities and polytechnics.

Polytechnics were easier to enrol in and they prepared people for different technical field. Universities were more academic and complex admission processes.

In time, all polytechnics have been transformed into universities, but a former polytechnic is still considered an inferior educational facility. Nowadays UK universities consider vocational education less important than pure academic study, therefore you’ll probably not get all the skills you need to be ready for the jobs market.

For example, if you want to start a career in the real estate market during university you will acquire knowledge but you will barely have the opportunity to practice your skills.

You will definitely know what the difference between the American and British real estate market is, but you will probably not have professional negotiating skills. 

In the USA the higher the price tag of the university the more complex the career skills you will acquire are.

American universities value your academic experience but they are also aware that you need to find a high-paying job when you graduate, and it’s their role to assist you.

They do not consider that it’s disrespectful for the purity of academic study to teach you how to use your knowledge to get the job of your dreams.