Families need to look beyond the UK’s top universities when seeking a world-class education for their children, explains Carina Cunha, managing director of Crimson Education.
An Oxbridge education has long been regarded by parents as the golden ticket to opportunity and a fast track to career success for their children.
But could they be limiting the opportunities available to their child and risking the disappointment of them not getting a place by encouraging them to target only Oxford or Cambridge and a few other elite institutions in the UK?
There are some major advantages to casting the net wider and exploring what globally recognised institutions in the United States might have to offer.
More institutions, greater choice
Oxford and Cambridge have long been the pinnacle of aspiration for the UK’s academically gifted students, and there are many compelling reasons for their appeal. But encouraging our most talented young people to aim for Oxbridge or similar can leave them fighting an increasingly competitive battle to get a place.
In contrast, a student can apply to as many universities as they wish in the US, giving them more choice and increasing their chances of being accepted.
Many universities state side have strong links with top global firms too. This can open up future job opportunities for young people, another valid reason for parents to consider the US when advising their children on which route to take into higher education.
Globally recognised education
It might be somewhat surprising to learn that the quality of education in US institutions is ahead of the UK’s in many areas.
Oxbridge’s American counterparts hold the three top spots in the QS World University Rankings – with twice as many universities featuring in the top 20 than the UK.
What’s more, alongside their ranking for academic performance, universities on the QS list are also judged on the reputation they have with employers, faculty strength and student ratios which are other strong indicators of quality.
These factors could be a good predictor of how highly a recent graduate’s CV is regarded when it lands on the desk of a potential future employer.
Opportunity to explore subject areas
Many students are attracted to the US as there is more scope to explore different areas of study.
The UK higher education system is designed to focus on the specialised study of one subject. When students apply to Oxbridge, for instance, they usually select a single course, or a small number of related disciplines, from the sciences, humanities or arts.
In contrast, universities in the States allow students to select a variety of subjects which they study in the early part of their degree, before specialising in their chosen subject later on.
So, a student might choose to study international relations, sociology and a foreign language in their first two years, even though they have applied to study English literature. This approach can benefit students who are unsure of the area of study they wish to pursue, as it gives them time to decide where their strengths and aptitudes lie.
A fresh perspective
From the hallowed lecture halls of Ivy League institutions to the tech incubator labs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and creative hubs of the liberal arts colleges, universities in the United States can offer UK students an alternative option for their future studies.
Crimson Education has helped hundreds of students get into Ivy League and other globally recognised higher education institutions in 20 countries. Read Beyond Oxbridge – A parent’s guide to US universities or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.