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Get your passports ready!

March 2, 2012

PrepMatters is fortunate to have the University of Edinburgh visiting us here in the states in just a few short weeks! While the university name may sound foreign to some of you, this is a unique opportunity and there will be much to be learned about university systems in the UK at the meeting.

First for those who don’t know, the University of Edinburgh is situated in a quaint but vibrant city in Scotland. The university was founded in 1582, preceding Harvard’s founding by roughly eighty years. Over time, the Scottish system of education has changed and in many ways it mirrors the US system but also has retained qualities that make it much like the system in England.

The Scottish system of higher education offers a bit of flexibility to its students in their first two years of study. Students are allowed to take elective courses and explore different academic disciplines from their major, or degree track. Another similarity to the US system is the length of time it takes to complete an undergraduate degree. In other parts of the UK, undergraduate degrees are very specialized and usually take 3 years to complete. In Scotland, it is assumed that it will take a student 4 years to complete his undergraduate degree.

There are, of course, differences from the US system.  American applicants should be aware of the specialized nature of Edinburgh’s (and other UK universities) degree programs. Scottish universities expect students to declare a major or degree track upon application to undergraduate programs, and while there is flexibility built into the first two years of Scottish undergraduate education students are expected to have a plan and have one early on.

For American students considering study overseas in Scotland, this is important. My advice: research academic options early and thoroughly- that way you can make the most out of a Scottish education.

Want to know more? Mr. Robert Willis, an international officer at The University of Edinburgh, will explain all this when he is here at PrepMatters later this spring. If you are pretty sure you know what you want to study at university and are looking for a personal challenge, studying overseas for a full undergraduate degree is for you. You will find cultural diversity, demanding coursework, and adventure. Come to the session on April 23rd to learn more!

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