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Difference between Undergraduate application process to US and UK universities

US | Uk | Universities | application process

Those looking to graduate outside of India aim mostly for US or UK universities. What most of the applicants don’t know is that the application process is very different for British and American universities. UK universities have a strict quota on the number of students they can take, particularly from outside the European Union, so these colleges and universities are extremely selective about who they accept.

Applications have to be focused on the academic interest in the subject for which the student is applying. Extracurricular activities, while they may show qualities such as teamwork and leadership, play little role in the overall assessment of the application. The opposite is true in case of US colleges, where a holistic approach to each applicant is taken. The American universities are looking for a well-rounded personalities rather than only academically inclined students.

This is just one of the things that differentiates the approaches you need to take for US and UK college applications. Here are most points the tell the difference between US and UK undergraduate application process:

  • The most notable difference between the US and UK application processes is that students applying to US undergraduate programmers must submit their applications directly to individual universities. In UK, for undergraduate admissions you need to apply via a centralized body called the UCAS form. In the US the Common Application, an undergraduate admissions application, is used by approximately 400 universities. It can streamline the process further as the member institutions all use the same core application. However, most institutions will request supplemental essays tailored to their university.

  • In US, each university will set their own application deadlines and fees, as well as admissions requirements. Fortunately, most application forms will follow a similar format that you will allow you to re-use or adapt some of the materials that you prepare for each application. In UK, since there is a centralized application form UCAS, it follows one deadline and admission requirements to many universities.

  • Another difference between US and UK university applications is that in case of US universities you are applying for admissions to the institution rather than to a specific department within a university. Consequently, the undergraduate admissions office, rather than faculty members of academic departments, will likely be responsible for admissions decisions. It is crucial that you keep this audience in mind when drafting your application materials.

  • At US universities, offers (also known as admissions decisions) are not specifically conditional (for example you must get an AAA or your offer is withdrawn). However, universities expect you to perform at or very near to the level predicted when they admitted you. It has certainly happened that a student has had his/her offer withdrawn for poor performance in their high school board exams. In UK, you get conditional admissions. The conditional admission letter states which additional requirements are needed before the student can begin their programmer. These additional requirements focus on meeting the English language requirements of the university or college.

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