Differences in UK and US Higher Education


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The main difference between US and UK universities is in their manner of facilitating the academic learning experience and the aspect where they focus. UK universities focus more on how knowledge is applied and US universities emphasise more on laying the foundation knowledge.

Frame of Mind

UK universities prioritise imparting to their students the knowledge and skills on how to think how to apply what they are learning. On the other hand, US universities generally concentrate on providing their students the general and foundation knowledge about their subject matter. Corresponding to this difference is the fitting contrast of how students’ knowledge, skills and abilities are assessed.


US universities assess the knowledge of their students in a continual frequency while UK universities evaluate their students’ ability to apply to real life and realistic industry situations their knowledge and skills. Fittingly so, the latter is done in bigger intervals which is usually at the end of school terms. In short, the American institutions can be associated with general knowledge while British schools are well identified with reasoning using the knowledge.

Theory and Practice

Theory is given more weight by most US schools. Students in the American institutions show in creative and imaginative ways their learnings and intelligence on how they can apply their education. On the other hand, students in British institutions churn out what they have learned using their intellect. Again, as a result, good students in the US get relatively high marks compared with the relatively less volume of knowledge.


British universities provide more well rounded education and graduates from whatever course can qualify for any jobs because of this standard. Because the application of knowledge is the bigger emphasis in UK universities, most first two years in their degree courses provide students with opportunities to develop this. Students who have finished their A-level with good grades from top universities in the UK can relatively find it easy to qualify to be second year students when they apply in US colleges. Even when the mentioned characteristic of general education of the UK brand lead to mismatches, students coming from these institutions who go to the US to study do not need to worry because they are equipped with the knowledge and skills in writing well, reasoning their arguments and sufficient numerical literacy.


In the US higher education system, flexible general liberal arts and sciences courses can be taken which give students more flexibility when they need to change specialisation studies. The UK admission system focuses more on screening aspirants to degree courses. Shifting to another course is not a flexibility that can be found in the UK system. A student who wants to transfer to another discipline will need to do more studies and make more expenses. Applicants need to show that they are truly interested in the discipline and fit for the studies and the career in the future. They need to show these elements in personal statement writing.


International Students: Knock, Knock UK Universities

International-Students:-Knock,-Knock-UK-UniversitiesUK universities pockmark the long list of the World University Rankings 2012-2013. Hence, you don’t just see some institutions at the top; rather, you see them throughout the list, meshing with the rest of the world’s higher education institutions.

Hence, it’s no surprise that a huge flock of foreign applicants are aspiring to enter the ancient wall of stones and evergreen lawns of UK’s universities. To help them meet their heart’s desire, the following requirements were collated:

General Requisites:

1:Student Visa

Applying for this visa entails an unconditional offer from a certain government-registered university, the CAS or Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, and of course, a significant amount of funds to cover the costs of studying in UK.

EEA or Swiss nationals, on the other hand, aren’t required to secure a visa. Rather, they can just present a valid passport.

2: Further Education Qualifications

For native UK applicants, these qualifications are inclusive of A-levels, International Baccalaureate, or Scottish Highers. Foreign students are expected to present qualifications equivalent to those of the native’s.

3: English Language Qualifications

To ensure that foreign students will fare well in UK higher institutions, and in UK (as a whole), such qualification is required. It’s difficult enough to adapt in another country’s culture – how much more if students aren’t fluent enough to converse in the British tongue?

4: Work Experience

Okay, this is not necessary for every single foreign applicant. However, a relevant work experience (and ‘relevant’ in context to the course) is the type of qualification that is most likely to give the foreign students’ application a great boost.

Furthermore, having a work experience ensures that the foreign student can take advantage of part-time jobs – which is sure to make ends meet.

5: DBS Clearance

Foreign applicants will start with the translated police check or the certificate of good conduct from their country. Next, the applicants will have to complete their DBS check, as well as, visit a DBS clinic.

6: Examination Grades

Foreign applicants should bear in mind that grades of a subject relevant to the course is always a key. In simple terms, if one is to apply for a Biochemistry degree course, that applicant got to have outstanding grades in Biology and Chemistry.

Specific Requisite

UCAS (Universities and College Admissions Service) is the best source of the specific requirements of the course and institution. Foreign applicants may start perusing through each course and university’s entry profiles, as well as, verify them through the university’s own website.

Foreign applicants are also expected to write personal statement and submit them to a select number of institutions through UCAS. And with this whole lot of requirements to secure, it’s always wise to begin early.

Academic Tone in the Student’s Voice

Academic-Tone-in-the-Student’s-VoiceIt’s never easy to face an enemy, especially if it’s clothed in paper and ink. Yet, when it comes to writing a personal statement, a student is not without defence.

First and foremost, the statement is required to be as genuine as it could possible get. Furthermore, it requires the careful combination of the academic tone with that of your student-voice. How is that possible?

  • Select contents that are academically relevant – subject-based activities or programs you’ve participated, text or reference books you’ve read, special projects you’ve immersed yourself, and so forth.

  • Maintain the ‘student voice’ throughout – mention difficulties you’ve encountered in learning, time management and other such issues prevalent among students like yourself. Don’t forget implicating how you attempted to manage such issues.

  • Stick to assertions that are academically acceptable – this requires an active recognition of your statement’s readers: the admission tutors. Try to picture out what this people expect from the piece before directly writing a personal statement.

  • Maintain a brief discussion for your personal hobbies – it’s easy to get excited when discussing sports or hobbies that you are passionate about. However, it’s not a 100% necessity. Remind yourself that its inclusion is for the sake of implying your conformity to the ‘well-rounded’ student category.

  • Always link commitment to your desired course – this actually translates to picturing out the following imagery: how you will fare as a student, what do you envision to do in line to your course (implying a project or profession, perhaps), and what challenges are you willing to undertake in the name of the course.

  • Communicate your excitement as a learner – higher education is not just about career or prospective internships; it’s much about learning. You’ve been through learning since early child education; how will you convince the reader that you would want to learn more?

This is what writing a personal statement in academic tone and ‘student voice’ is about. Prepare to face the jitters of scribbling a lengthy account of your education by striking at the core: make the first draft and revise at your heart’s content.

Examples of Personal Statements That You’d Rather Avoid

Examples-of-Personal-Statements-That-You’d-Rather-AvoidCounting on a personal statement sample to come up with a definitive essay framework is nothing short of creative. Its use is downright convenient – no wonder it’s highly recommended. However, considering that the container of such source (i.e., Internet) is also attributable to quality issues, it is therefore, imperative for students to know which ones to avoid.

Without further ado, below are the top 6 traits you wouldn’t want to see for your samples:

  1. display too much generalities

Generalities should only be reserved for experts and not for budding scholars. Admission tutors are not so fond of generalities because:

  • instead of displaying students’ depth of knowledge, it actually highlights the ignorance students have
  • it epitomises the lack of effort to conduct a proper research
  • such examples of personal statements fails to make you outstand; in fact, general terms and claims stand to become common denominator among lacklustre applicants
  1. playing safe with 2 opposing points

Of course, a student claiming for extreme affirmation doesn’t sound well-rounded. On the other hand, student applicants who claim one and then the other serve to manifest ambiguity – which to the distaste of admission tutors is prevalent.

  1. too many claims, less substantial evidence

Student applicants that go on mentioning deed after deed – without supporting details to boot – painfully lead admission readers to a list, only there are no numbers or bullet points in place.

  1. the story of WHY you won

Some examples of personal statements do show a good number of accomplishments. For instance, students are awarded with this or that. However, such proud integration runs the risk of sounding boastful. Students should therefore, look for samples that, apart from mentioning an accomplishment, also offer insights about what made that student outstand (or what the award giving-body saw in the award recipient).

  1. lack of implications

Samples also show students who gave away so many so-called “learning or lessons.” Again, this exhibits emphasis on end results minus the necessity for inputting that lesson for furtherance. Students should instead pick of samples that proffer interesting implications per lesson.

  1. process of possessing attributes

A common formula present among best-avoided samples consist of these variables: an attended event equals obtained skills or aptitude. Of course, this equation is inaccurate as it is incomplete (it lacks the crucial catalyst of which facilitated the acquiring of an attribute).

And while these attributes render you cautious over your choice of examples of personal statements, it should nevertheless, remind you that its usefulness remains to significantly weigh. Hence, look for samples that have none of these six attributes and write your piece well. And of course, don’t forget to share this among your drudging peers.