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Topic: I Don't Know Where To Start!  (Read 847 times)

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I Don't Know Where To Start!
« on: May 11, 2013, 05:22:14 PM »
I'm a high-school student from the U.S. who has to start putting into Universities soon. I am interested in pursuing a major in Forensic Anthropology, and I have read that the U.K. has some of the best schools for this subject. I have done a ton of research, but I read a lot of controversial stuff that just confuses me more. Can someone give me a run through on the student visa process and the "you need so much for living costs" thing? I have also been told by numerous people that I need AP classes in order to get into a U.K. University. I'm home schooled, so I do not have access to AP classes, but I do take university classes already via "dual-enrolment" and have scored into honors university classes through placement tests. I have not taken the ACT or SAT test yet, but I plan to do so this summer.

The Universities I'm looking at so far are:
The University of Dundee
University of Central Lancashire (My top choice!)
Liverpool John Moores University

Also, I would love to know your stories on how to came from the U.S. to study in the U.K. How do you like it? Was it a culture shock?
When I looked at the tuition for many U.K. schools, the international prices were MUCH cheaper than tuitions here in the states. Also, I read that if I had to take out loans for a school in the U.K. and I could not pay all of it back, in ten years the loan fees are "Forgiven" is this true? I would certainly do all I could to pay them off, but it seems like studying in the U.K. is much more beneficial and much easier than in the states.

Sorry for rambling so much! But if you guys could enlighten me n everything from your personal knowledge that would be great!  ;D

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Re: I Don't Know Where To Start!
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 05:30:29 PM »
I'm home schooled, so I do not have access to AP classes

Can't comment on the UK university side of things, but you should be able to "challenge" the AP exam, meaning you've not officially taken an AP course in the subject, but are taking the exam anyhow. I doubt very much you absolutely can not take AP exams, you should call your nearest high school to see if you can get in on the test when they give it, or call the college board to see what your options are. I "challenged" the physics exam when I was in H.S., was the only student taking it in the whole school and it just had to be officially proctored. Even for U.S. schools I would HIGHLY recommend you take as many AP exams as you can manage. Good luck!
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Re: I Don't Know Where To Start!
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 06:34:44 PM »
Not sure about the AP stuff, as it's been over a decade since I've taken them, but maybe I can help with the other questions.

I went to school in the US, but studied abroad at Goldsmiths for a semester. I then came back to the UK in 2007 to do my Master's at Goldsmiths. I think that starting university is always a bit of a culture shock, but starting university in a different country will present even more challenges. You will have to learn about a new country while doing your studies, and it requires a certain fortitude to deal with making friends, having a social life, dealing with a strong drinking culture and a host of other differences right out of high school if you are unused to it. I'd already learned the system through study abroad at age 21 and it was still a bit of a shock doing my MA a couple of years later!

An important thing to keep in mind is that not only do you have to pay tuition fees, you have to pay for possible lab costs (sorry, as a liberal arts student, I have no idea what's involved with lab work) housing, living essentials, laundry and food. Universities in the UK are not catered like they are in the US, you will have to buy and prepare your own food, as well as buy a reasonable amount of crockery and cookware. Also, keep in mind the costs of student life (pubs, clubs, etc.) As a foreign student, you will not be able to work very many hours without breaking the rules of your visa. Since you have picked unis away from London, you will have the benefit of lower costs of living, for example- my MA cost me a little over $40,000 for one year, once I factored in housing, food, leisure and transportation. Still cheaper than school in the US, but not cheap in any sense of the word, and now I have to deal with substantial loans.

You will have to take out loans through the US (and you will have to pay them back, regardless where you end up living in the world). Your uni may offer emergency loans, but those have to be paid back before you graduate. British students taking out loans to attend British universities do not have to pay their loans if they make under a certain income (£21,000 annually), but they still have to pay back their loans eventually. These loan rules do not apply to foreign students at all. There may be international scholarships that you can look into, the British Council may have more information.

Student visas have changed since I came here, and it's a lot more difficult  to get in the country and stay in the country once you graduate. So keep in mind that if you learn a subject that differs to what's taught Stateside and you have to return to the US, it may be that it's not worth the expense and 3 years study in a foreign country for a set of non-transferable skills. Also, if you do apply to any UK universities, make sure to apply for your visa at least 5 months in advance to avoid missing out on actually starting your course. You will also have to pay £298 for the application (about $458) and pay for biometric information as well, so there will be a fair bit of money being spent, to put it mildly.

I hope this helps!
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