British universities

Oct. 30, 2004, midnight | By Kedamai Fisseha | 19 years, 7 months ago

Applying is easier than it seems

The University years are a time for some of the best experiences in your life. That makes applying to college one of the most important things you will ever do. You'll want to make sure you give yourself a wide range of opportunities when deciding where to apply so that later on, you can have a good variety of schools to choose from.

In my case, I will be applying to schools both in the United States and in Great Britain.

Applying to school in the UK is surprisingly simple. Through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website all applicants fill out and submit only one multi-part form. The forth is then sent to a maximum of six-degree granting programs, as designated by the student, and read by the professors who will be teaching the courses.

My experience with UCAS has been quite pleasant. Forming an account and the application itself is straightforward. The only portion that you may find perturbing is the education section, which is not equipped to take in educational qualifications from the US. Only after a little maneuvering was I able to attach my Advanced Placement (AP) and SAT scores onto the form.

American students applying to the UK doubly realize the extreme importance of their AP and SAT scores. Because admissions into UK schools are based so much more on academics, the results of standardized tests are the most important part of a prospective application. Unlike US schools, British schools do not pay attention to extracurricular activities and personality skills.

One other difference between the British and American applications is the written portion of the application. "In the US they call it the college essay. Here it is the personal statement,” according to Mark S. Coote, a director in the City of London School for Girls. "The two are quite different.”

According to Coote, the successful personal statement is more focused on intended course of study and the applicant's specific qualifications rather than the applicant's overall personality. "British schools are much more concerned with your specific academic plans and experiences,” he said.

It may be interesting to note that the City of London School system has seen the likes of Dido, the singer, and Daniel Radcliffe, whom we know as Harry Potter.

With such a big decision staring me in the face, I refuse to let a single opportunity slip by. Even though I will likely decide not to go to a British school, the application process has given me insight into the differences between the two systems. That perspective has really made me more aware and more appreciative of how applications work.

Tags: print Cultural Connection

Kedamai Fisseha. Kedamai Fisseha sorely misses the computer lab where Silver Chips was born and is daily reborn. He is currently living and writing from London, England where he is glad for the chance to continue his participation in the organization. More »

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