US and international universities

Due to the international nature of the student body at Sevenoaks there is a high level of interest in overseas universities, in particular, those in North America.

Each year approximately 60 students starting the Lower Sixth express an interest in applying to the US.

Why study in the US?

The growing popularity of studying in the US is reflected internationally, and there are a number of reasons why international students might opt to go to America for Higher Education.

Top universities

In the Times 2020 World University Rankings, 14 of the top 20 ranked universities were in the US. The world renown of these institutions means that students will obtain a top-quality degree that is internationally recognised.

Liberal Arts degrees

The Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum is another selling point for students who are reluctant to settle on a single subject. Those looking for a well-rounded degree are given the flexibility to explore their interests before selecting their major area(s) of study. This is a particularly good fit for IB students who have maintained breadth throughout their education and who recognise the benefits of studying across disciplines.

Extra-curricular opportunities

Whereas UK universities focus on independent learning and formal academic study, on a US campus learning is not limited to the four walls of the classroom. Universities aim to educate the whole student by providing opportunities for learning through extracurricular involvement (community service, internships, sport, leadership roles and the arts), something which more closely mirrors the philosophy of the IB.

In today’s climate students need to be more competitive in an increasingly global workplace. Studying abroad allows them to gain transferable skills and sets them apart in the job market; many employers favour applicants with overseas work experience.

Value for money

With university fees now an established factor in the UK, students and their parents are looking more carefully at which institutions offer the best value for money. Although a US undergraduate degree may be a more expensive option, many feel that the quality of the teaching, the all-round nature of the education and the world-class facilities on offer make US universities a worthwhile investment.

How we support applications to the US

We know that making applications to US universities is a complex and time-consuming process. With over 4000 institutions to choose from, students need help in identifying universities that will be a good fit for them, offering the curriculum and environment that will enable them to succeed. Although the Common Application can be used to apply to over 500 US institutions, the majority of top universities also require students to complete supplements with additional essays and questions specific to them.

Staff support

The Higher Education department supports our students through the process with two dedicated US and international staff.

Interviews and workshops

In the Lower Sixth all prospective US applicants are given a one-to-one interview to discuss an individualised strategy for applications and students are prepared well for the tasks required over the summer with workshops on essay writing and completing the Common Application. In the Upper Sixth, students are encouraged to provide draft essays for feedback before submission.

SAT test centre

Sevenoaks is an SAT test centre, allowing students to sit these long, demanding tests in a familiar environment.

Speakers from US universities

Experts and admissions officers from all over the US come each year to give talks, offering students an opportunity to hear about each university’s distinct features and ask questions about the application process. Our annual College Tour allows Lower Sixth students to experience campus life first hand.

With every application cycle our expertise in this area continues to grow and our relationships with top US universities become stronger, in no small part due to the OS attending these institutions who serve as fantastic ambassadors for Sevenoaks.