A school and college
guide to international
In an increasingly global world, with students
connected to friends, celebrities, news and
opportunities all over the world at the click of a
button - and Zoom allowing us to all keep in touch,
today’s students have never been more globally
connected, tied into a digital economy that knows
Yet, when it comes to university, so many focus
only on options in the UK. As a result, students are
missing out on a huge array of opportunities to find
their ‘best fit’ university around the world, or study
at the best university in the world for their subject,
not just the best in the UK.
Here, I will guide you through some of the key
differences, so you can provide initial support to
students considering study opportunities overseas.
Students are attracted to the fact that university in
other countries doesn’t work in the same way as
it does in the UK: on a global spectrum, the typical
single-subject, final assessment model that most
UK universities offer is quite unusual.
In the USA students will study a broader range
of subjects and their ‘major’ will only be about a
third of what they study while at university. In the
Netherlands (which has over 300 degrees taught
entirely in English), the Universities of Applied
Science system offer a hands-on style education
connected to employers.
Universities across Europe are now offering many
international degrees, with options such as the
world-class Bachelor of Business Administration at
IE Madrid or PPE at the Central European University
in Vienna offering life-changing opportunities to
students who don’t want to follow the crowd.
Application procedures vary widely from UCAS
and from country-to-country. When applying
to other countries students need to learn new
processes, timelines and terminology. Students
should start the process at least six months
earlier than for UCAS (and, for the US, at least a
year earlier due to the probable need to take either
the SAT or the ACT).
The USA dominates, with universities from the
world-class names such as Harvard to lesser-
known institutions that compare with the best of
the UK. Even in these challenging times, students
are working hard preparing university applications
to hopefully study at world-leading institutions in
California, Florida or New England.
Canada has risen in popularity, with the perception
of a more European political and social system,
and a favourable immigration regime for post-
study work drawing applications to universities
such as McGill and Toronto.
Europe is increasingly popular, from studying in
English-speaking locations such as Ireland, to
courses taught in English across the continent.
A particular trend is for students to look at well-
regarded private universities in Europe, who offer
modern education in a global context, drawing
in international students from all over the world
to study in cities such as Milan (for Bocconi
University) or Dublin (for Trinity College).
Today’s students are very globally minded
With changes due to Brexit, students will know
that being internationally-connected gives them a
wealth of job opportunities after graduation.
Students we worked with last year gained offers
from 111 universities in 9 countries, from Stanford
in the USA to Leiden in the Netherlands, McGill
in Canada to ESADE in Spain. These ambitious
and global students will have job opportunities
on graduation that their peers at provincial UK
universities can only dream of. The time is now
ripe for more students to seriously consider
international universities: the world is out there!