As we’ve looked at previously, there are a lot of differences between the UK and the US when it comes to university life. However, one thing that’s looking increasingly similar is the method used to rank universities within each country. The Times Higher Education (THE) review has now been rolled out for American colleges, meaning they can now be subject to the same ranking system as UK universities have been for many years. It’s interesting to see how things vary between countries, and how these are reflected in the average world rankings.
Accommodation is a major example of something that varies between the US and the UK. Sure, you’ll be provided with accommodation (at least to begin with) whether you start university in the UK or the US. They’re overpriced in almost all cases, although in the UK at least you’re much less likely to share a bedroom. Facilities tend to be a lot better overall for American students, including dining options. In both countries, it’s not uncommon to look for your own place to live after your first year is over, which might be tricky depending on where you are, especially in the UK. “Living in the city can be a lot more expensive than private student housing in smaller towns,” says David from Varsity Lets, one of the top student accommodation providers near the University of Loughborough and Leicester University. “This is just one aspect that you’ll be considering if you want to choose between the US and the UK for your studies in future.”
You’ll also be looking at the overall cost, social life, the standard of teaching, and just about everything in between. It can get complicated, which is one major reason why the new THE list for American colleges may really come in handy.
Interestingly, Ivy League colleges (the equivalent of the widely-respected Oxford and Cambridge in the UK) haven’t fared as well on this year’s list as one might think. The results are actually quite mixed with several Institutes of Technology ranking higher. This is in-keeping with a trend we’re seeing across the world, where the traditionally higher level universities are being outranked by up-and-coming, smaller institutions who may have invested more heavily in keeping up with the demands of modern students.
Either way, nine of the top ten universities in the world are currently in either the UK or the US, which really says something about the standards on both sides of the ocean. Only time will tell if this will still be a two horse race in a few years’ time, but for now many students will be choosing between the two, considering all similarities and distinctions, when looking for the best education in the world.