Scottish Schools Welcome Americans

By Kahane, Audrey | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), March 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

Scottish Schools Welcome Americans


Kahane, Audrey, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


With admission decisions from selective colleges in hand, some students will be celebrating. Others will end up with few or no acceptances. Even students who have a number of choices may find that they are no longer excited about the schools, or perhaps they didn't get the kind of scholarships and financial aid they expected. Whatever the reason, if they are not happy with their college options, it may be time to consider a Scottish university.

Oxford and Cambridge may be the most well-known universities in the United Kingdom, but the Scottish university system is more suitable for many Americans.

English universities require students to commit to a program when applying, and students typically take courses only in that subject, earning a degree in three years. Higher education in Scotland is more flexible and, like the United States, students take four years to earn an undergraduate degree.

In Scotland, they can take some courses outside their program, and it's not impossible to transfer to another field in the first two years. But unlike most colleges in the United States, students don't need to complete general education requirements. If they barely survived trigonometry in high school, they never have to take another math class. If they want to study only history, they can do that.

The University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow and the University of St. Andrews are all internationally respected educational institutions with significant international populations. They are very different.

The University of St. Andrews is the oldest and smallest, with about 8,000 students. Thirty percent are international, and about half of those are American. The school is in a small town on the east coast of Scotland, about 50 miles north of Edinburgh.

Students who want city life will prefer one of the other schools. The University of Edinburgh is the largest of the three universities, with approximately 26,000 students and hundreds of undergraduate programs. Edinburgh is a beautiful city with a great quality of life. Study-abroad programs are available at American colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, as well as universities around the world.

Glasgow, the biggest city in Scotland, is known for its music scene, with 200 live gigs each week. The University of Glasgow, which has about 22,000 students, probably feels the most Scottish and has the smallest number of American students. It is recruiting in the United States.

The University of Glasgow gets high ratings in international student satisfaction. The campus is in the West End, a desirable, gentrified area of the city. …

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