The Benefits of an American Education…Why You Should Reach for the Stars

American University Education SystemIn recent weeks I was granted a scholarship to go on and do my further education in the United States of America – permitting the Universities over there accepted me, and for me, that was unbelievable.

There was another girl in the process with five jobs (two of which were her own business), another who spoke three languages and another who played four instruments. But despite such amazing competition – they saw something in me.

And that’s the reason why I’m writing this post today, because I’m sure ‘they’ will find something in you too. The world outside our doors is full of unbelievable experiences. But unbelievable is not the same word as impossible and I’m writing this post today because I want you to believe that anything is possible.

You may be much older than the ‘further education stage’; you may not even want to go into further education, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about you and why you should assess all possible (or seemingly impossible) directions, before heading down a certain route.

As the exam season draws to a close, the younger generation may be wondering what the point of it all is? To spend two years getting a piece of paper with a sheet of grades on… It’s okay to wonder that. Questioning yourself is the only way that you’ll define that direction, but never question, taking the leap.

I applied on a whim and now I’ve got a scholarship. What’s a better time than now for you to reach for the stars?

The Benefits of American Education

American Education Scholarship banner

When leaving school, it’s natural to assume that you’ll go to a University that is in the country you live in – in my case England. But as technology grows (and ideas grow) there are more and more chances for you to make a better suited choice and widen your horizons. Thousands of British students in particular are picking up on this; more and more each year take the leap into the USA.

Related Reading: ‘Uni in the USA’ Book Review

Top Reasons to Consider an American Education

1) The Liberal Arts System

Over two hundred and fifty years ago Thomas Jefferson had an idea. That idea was to completely change the approach to education in the USA and thus, the liberal arts system was born.

The liberal arts system is an education system unique to America that allows its students to study a variety of subjects – not just one. In England, we sit at the back of a classroom and try to absorb as much of one subject as we can in three years.

In America, you’re graded on many topics. That means if you don’t know what you want to be just yet you don’t have to commit yourself to three years of History or Science; you can do both. It also means that you can change your mind as you grow and, most importantly, gain a breadth of knowledge rather than a depth of knowledge which is important for creative people in particular.

In this sense America is most different from the UK because it’s not all about the government using its Universities to pigeon hole individuals and get the most out of them in the work place. In America it’s about what the universities can do for you.

2) You Don’t Have to be a Professor

MYTH: ‘You can only study abroad if you are a straight A student’

Performance isn’t the only consideration than American Universities take into account; in America there are Universities for all intellectual abilities and they value the person you are, and the things that you’ve done and learnt outside the classroom just as much – if not more – than how good your grades are.

Additionally in the application process (as I’ll discuss in the next point) they don’t just consider you from the point of your grades. They look at the whole you; as a student, a friend, a writer, a sportsman, and if they like the whole you then believe me you can gain a scholarship just as easily as straight-A-Tom down the road who can’t remember the last time he left his house.

3) It’s A Fairer Application Process

In England Universities ask you about your school performance, about your grades, about how you contributed to your school – basically, about how well you conform to the classroom.

In America, it’s a different story because they ask you about your story. Sure they want to know that you’re clever (of course they do if your going to be studying there) but they also want to know what you do outside of school.

They want to know what you’re like as a person. Whether you’ll fit in. Whether you’ll bring something new to the table. What mistakes you’ve learnt from in the past. Whether other students will be able to learn from you.

A school full of the same person would be boring, but a school full of unique people is the perfect base for an education. Thus American schools champion a broad variety and diversity of students with all kinds of interests and experiences. The only way that this isn’t fairer is the fact that you’ll have an advantage by being a Brit (or any other nationality if you’re not British) in the USA. What’s more unique than that?

4) There Are Usually More Teachers

One of the most obvious faults with British universities is the lack of funding, and thus the fact that you have to stand up and wave your arms wildly to catch the Professor’s attention.

In America there can be as much as twice spent on you than in England; thus contact time is generally much richer. America gives you the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond, but if you like the heat, then there’s still the Ivy League.

5) You’ll Be Abroad!

American university studentsLet’s be honest, most people live off their parents backs in their high school years, wherever in the world you go. It’s natural for us to rely on our parents, but reliance makes the big world after education an unpleasant shock.

By going abroad you’ll be thrown directly into the deep end. You’ll have to cook for yourself, look after yourself, and make decisions for yourself. And although that’s daunting for anyone, what better way to gain the independence you need to soar high.

Going abroad is also an adventure. In experiencing a new culture you’ll be exposed to an abundance of new people, places and occasions; the very sources of inspiration… all at your fingertips.

America is a big place. It’s very different from both the UK and any other country in the world. No state is the same. Wherever you go, I can guarantee that you’ll have stories to tell that other students back at home can only dream of doing in the future.

Related Reading: ‘Uni in the USA’ Book Review

6) Employers Will Love You

Think like an employer for a moment. Your business is stretching through the walls of technology. You want employees who are daring enough to do overseas business. Are you going to pick the British student, with a degree in English? Or are you going to pick the British student, with a degree in English (and Chinese Politics and Business studies and Mathematics) alongside work and studying experience abroad?

More and more employers are looking for individuals who have proved that they are capable of looking after themselves and coping with cultural changes and diversity. The workplace is competitive. This is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd.

7) You Don’t Have To Pay Alone

MYTH: ‘Studying abroad in America is too expensive’

There are many, many, many funding opportunities for you to go and study in the USA; the scheme that I’m on pay for almost everything! And although that might sound too good to be true, it can happen if you make it happen.

So get researching into Scholarships and remember you don’t have to be a straight A student to get one – scholarships are granted to the people that they think would be suit the USA educations system and life alone abroad. We are a generation that mostly ignore our greatest tool – technology. So use it today and find out what schemes are available to you.

8) There’s A Wide Range of Universities & Degrees

In America you can study Quidditch, puppetry arts, paranormal studies and the method behind exorcism. These very unique degrees are just four of many.

But don’t worry; my point here isn’t to convince you to go to America so you can learn how to work a broom like Harry Potter. Although that would be fun, my point is to encourage you to look into the range of degrees on offer in the states because out there in America that you are bound to find something that fits you.

In England we fit ourselves into certain subjects. In America there are variations on every subject. Take creative writing for example… at Richmond you do modules in everything from prose, to poetry to scriptwriting. Modules are specific too, allowing particular choice for example ‘Contemporary Writing in Latin America: Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll’

9) You’re Graded Constantly

In England we take a final test that determines everything we’ve learnt after three years of continuous study. In America you will be examined in most semesters and although this may sound daunting; it’s really not. It just means that you’re constantly performing at your best ability, constantly doing your best and getting constant feedback about how good your best actually is. As a self-developer these habits are good ones to get into.

10) There’s Some Great Extra-Curricular Activities

student activities in AmericaYou don’t need me to tell you that American college life is so much better than English University life; just look at the films! Learning is not a text book. Social life is not the pub. They don’t want students who’ll spend their life in the library and their weekends drowning away their sorrows.

But they want students who’ll play instruments, join sports clubs, take lead on the school newspaper, meet new people, get a job on campus and start an art class. They want students who’ll make school life better for the other students. If you go over there with an open mind, you’ll be too busy to even worry about the whole ‘independence’ thing.

What Can You Learn From This?

If you’re young – consider it. Although moving to a different country may seem intimidating (or impossible) it’s a great way to fuel yourself and to gather a rare education that will stand you out from the rest.

This opportunity is great for creative people because you’ll be inspired by an all new world, but also for entrepreneurial people alike because more and more work is overseas and involves dealing with diversity.

The next step is research. If you think it’s something you’d be interested in, give it a try. If not, still remember all the benefits of USA education and don’t get bogged down by it all.

A good book to read on the subject is ‘Uni in the USA’ by John Wallis, Alice Fishburn, Anthony Nemecek and Anthony Seldon. The book doesn’t just include why or how you should go to America to study – but reviews of many top universities from the perspective of the student which I’m sure you’ll agree is much more valuable than a book full of facts and statistics.

Related Reading: ‘Uni in the USA’ Book Review

Wrote by Aimee Hall  -  Follow us  -  Comment Your Experience Below!