The United Kingdom and the United States are well known by their rich tradition of a quality higher education system and excellent research facilities. In the UK as well as in the US universities, you can experience a culture that promotes intellectualism, and academic freedom.
British and American universities surely provide an excellent environment for study, but there are many differences between those two countries when we are talking about the organization of the university and student life. So, if you plan to study in one of these countries, it will be useful to find out the primary differences between the UK and the US systems of higher education.
It’s fact, the US universities really offer a world-class research environment along with exceptional facilities. Britain most definitely should look up to them on that issue. However, teaching is much more superficial in the US than in the UK universities. British institutions educate their next generations much better than their transatlantic associates.
The secret of that success for the UK universities is not in the reputation but in seminars. The focus is on teaching in small groups. Much of the undergraduate degree is handled in seminars of 20 (or less) students. The professors are experts in their fields and they have also passed through extensive training in pedagogy.
Unlike the UK, in the US universities, the focus is on lecture classes with 25 to 425 students. There are some lectures where you can see discussion in groups, but only as an accompanying component. With that organization, the seminars as most intense learning experiences for students stay in the background. It’s a pity that staff of world-class researchers and professors contact with undergraduates is one hour a week in a massive lecture.
Home Assignments and Marks
On their courses, American universities require weekly (sometimes twice a week) readings and other assignments like 1-2 pages of written analysis and oral presentations. Students sometimes need to deliver their well-researched papers during the course. All those assignments make some percentage of your total grade. When we are talking about the UK, most students have just sporadic homework within the course or semester. Sometimes, there are no scheduled and arranged tasks and student’s entire grade depends only on the final exam.
Quality of the Education
When we are talking about critical thinking and analysis within any given discipline, expectations are significantly lower at the most prestigious of the US institutions than the UK. American universities test their students for general familiarity with relatively small samples of material, often using multiple-choice and short-answer formats. This is a natural consequence of an extensive curriculum that allows only students of the third and fourth year to attend seminars and requires the most substantial loads of reading and written work within one’s major as the norm.
In the UK, it’s completely different story. Students from the first year need to remain focused on one discipline, which encourages both critical engagement and expertise within that mode of analysis. This approach promises true education that is essential for living a meaningful life..
Higher education is quite expensive in both countries, but the costs of studying in the United States are generally higher. In England, universities charge around £7,000- 9,000 per year. In general, this is the highest price only for domestic students and the EU citizens. Admittance for international students costs often significantly higher. The tuition fee depends on each individual university, within limits established by the government.
The United States has completely different system. The government barely controls the educational cost expenses their colleges and universities charge. There are big differentiates between fees for domestic and foreign students. The same thing is with public and private universities. The normal educational cost expense for open two-year colleges is around $3000 every year while the charge for private four-year institutions is around $29,000 every year. Even more, some private four-year universities can cost up to exorbitant $50,000 per year.
Scholarships and affordable loans are available in both through the governments.
Both countries treat the students responsively and provide good accommodation conditions for their students. In the UK students normally have their own bedrooms. Unlike that, in the US students need to share a room with somebody else. In any case, after the first year, students can choose off-campus flat or private housing. The dormitories are most commonly self-catered in the UK, while the US colleges and universities typically give different eating alternatives to its students.