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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


16 Dec 2016 3.6K Book icon 3 mins Share

Six things to know: US vs. UK student life

Is it the USA or UK calling you? It is advisable that you know the difference between studying in the UK and USA!

16 Dec 2016 3.6K Book icon 3 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
UK vs. US student life

Both United Kingdom and United States have high-profile institutions where many students hope to see themselves getting enrolled. We suggest you read this article on the enormous enrolments this year at US universities.

The style of education in both countries is at par. Precisely, every country has something to teach you–either during an academic journey or a sojourn.

In this article, we talk about the striking differences amongst the two most sought-after study destinations abroad–the USA and UK.

#1 Education style

  • In the USA, professors will guide you in every step of your academic career, giving you hands-on experiences whereas in the UK you are expected to be more independent and take decisions like an adult since the curricula are more theory oriented.
  • Expect more research projects, assignments and quizzes in the US style of education. In the UK, you will be left in peace to have an academic freedom so that you get to know what works best for you, but you might need to go through oral presentations and research papers.
  • In the USA it is possible to shift to some other majors between the semesters, but in the UK you have to pretty much stick to the majors that you undertake in the beginning of your semesters.  

#2 Length and breadth of study

  • In the USA, degree programmes normally take 1 year extra than in the UK; the length of programmes varies from university to university. The scenario is a bit different in the UK, giving more value to the depth of your curricula. 
  • Bachelors degree is usually for 4 years in the USA and 3 years in the UK. There are more chances of bachelors programmes extending to PhDs in the USA whereas in the UK masters programmes are favoured (mostly mandatory) before enrolling into PhDs.

#3 Grading system  

  • In the USA, the grading system is simple, running through A, B, C, D and F in descending order. Their method is more traditional where a mark in the 90s is outstanding, 80s is good, 70s is acceptable and below that denotes a failing grade.
  • In the UK, the grading system is based on percentage:
  1. Distinction = 70–75%
  2. Merit = 60–69%
  3. Pass = 50–59%
  4. Fail = >50%

As you know, in the UK depth of knowledge is favoured over the breadth so there is no tough competition to score beyond 80% or so.

#4 Accommodation & Food

Student halls are pretty famous for accommodation in the UK but in the USA both on-campus and off-campus accommodations are available but you might need to shell out a bit large.

It is easy to find a roommate in the USA whereas most accommodations available in the UK are single-room type.

US students never go hungry because there is plenty to eat (variety of food). On the contrary you may or may not like the food in the UK so you need to plan your food budget or else you will be thriving on boiled potatoes in mid-semester.

#5 Work

No matter how big the workload is, you should not lose hope or panic because that’s not the end of your career.

In the USA, you might get enough support but don’t expect anyone to spoon-feed you; rather be your own teacher and learn yourself. This attitude will help if you are studying in the UK because you will be getting enough freedom to think and work the way it works best for you.

#6 Sports

The whole idea behind sports is perceived differently in both the USA and UK. Many US institutions believe in encouraging this part as a curriculum and offer scholarships too.

US institutions’ sports teams show active participation and take pride in their respective teams, flaunting the cool sports t-shirts. In the UK, you may or may not find such a culture but you can take part in whichever sports you are interested in.

So what are your thoughts on studying in the UK and USA? No matter what your choices are, our counsellors will guide you till the end of your study abroad journey. 

Need help choosing a country to study?

Nikita Marwah Nikita Marwah,
IDP Expert
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