Passport to Education: How to Choose a School Outside the U.S.

If you ever dreamed of jet-setting across the globe and getting an international education, we’ve got you! Let’s kick-start your incredible adventure with five international locations and what it takes to get into colleges and universities in each one.

1. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom hosts a variety of top-tier education options, including big names like Oxford, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics, as well as top schools in Scotland and Ireland. All U.K. schools offer courses – similar to U.S. majors. 

Major differences between U.S. and U.K. colleges: 

  • U.K. schools provide courses, not majors.
  • U.K. students are admitted to courses. Changing courses is challenging.
  • U.S. colleges place a high weight on high school performance. In the U.K., a Statement of Purpose (SOP)  is the most essential piece. An SOP explains why you want to apply to a specific university. It also highlights your academic achievements and your future career goals.
  • In the U.K., all schools will see the same statement of purpose. Schools of interest are ranked on a single application.

How to get started: 

2. Germany

Germany’s higher education system is often praised for its emphasis on research, innovation, and affordability. Many German universities offer tuition-free or low-cost education, even to international students. 

Major differences between U.S. and German colleges: 

  • Most classes are in German.
  • Housing can be hard to find in German college towns.
  • If you start classes in the summer, you may have a better chance of getting into a German university. 

How to get started: 

3. Australia 

Australia is a top location for international students, and it’s not hard to see why. Picture a laid-back lifestyle, jaw-dropping landscapes, and universities that are global sensations. You can explore programs at universities like the University of Melbourne or the University of Sydney and apply through their online application systems.

Major differences between U.S. and Australian colleges:

  • U.S. classes usually meet multiple times weekly in either a lecture or lab format. In Australia, many classes start with a large lecture, then move to a small group study/discussion.  
  • Australian colleges usually require one major test or paper to determine your final grade. U.S. colleges often have many opportunities for grading.
  • Australian students spend very little time on campus, opting to live at home and socialize in their communities. The U.S. emphasizes on-campus life. 

How to get started: 

4. Canada

Canada is home to top institutions like the University of Toronto and McGill University. If you’re interested in Canadian universities, you can research admission requirements and apply directly to the school or check the Common App to see if the schools you’re interested in are on the list.

Major differences between U.S. and Canadian schools: 

  • The oldest and most prestigious Canadian universities are called the U15, similar to the U.S. Ivy League. 
  • Canadian universities ask you to designate an area of interest in your applications, then specialize later.
  • Students in Canadian universities can start in September, January, or May.
  • In Canada, university and college are different designations and should not be used interchangeably. 

How to get started:

5. Singapore 

With universities like the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, the country offers cutting-edge research facilities and diverse study programs. Students can explore opportunities in Singapore by researching each university’s website and checking admission requirements.

Major differences between U.S. and Singapore colleges: 

  • Options are limited. There are only six publicly funded universities and six U.S. universities with a presence in Singapore. 
  • Singapore’s cost of living is higher than average.

How to get started:

The world is yours! If you’re considering a college education abroad, start by researching universities, understanding admission requirements, getting to know your international timelines, and preparing the necessary documents to open doors to global opportunities. You’ve got this!