Looking forward to the holidays
Whether you are taking your GCSEs, AS levels, A2s or the IB this summer, we hope the exams have gone well for you and that after your last exam you will put your feet up for a couple of weeks before embarking on whatever you have planned for the summer. If you have applied, or will be applying, to American universities this year or next year, here is what you should be doing over the next few weeks.
Year 11 – If possible, spend two or more weeks in the summer doing some kind of community service, work experience, mini-research project, or developing an extracurricular activity that is of particular interest to you. Both US and UK universities like you to have done something constructive during your summer holidays, and some US colleges will specifically ask about your summer activity on their application forms. Such activity will enhance your extracurricular profile and make you of more interest to admissions tutors when you eventually come to apply.
Year 12 – If you are still researching which US colleges you want to apply to in the autumn, make sure you have identified your final shortlist by 1st August when the Common Application Form goes live. You can apply to as many colleges as you like, but a shortlist of 5 – 8 colleges is typical. The August issue of the newsletter will contain a step by step guide of how to fill it in, and the July issue will preview the essay section, which most students find the most difficult part of their application. If you have a couple of weeks spare, be sure to do some community service, work experience or extracurricular pursuit that will enhance your application.
Year 13 – If you have been admitted to a US college to start your undergraduate studies from September, you will no doubt be excited (and possibly a little daunted) at the prospect of leaving your family and friends behind and crossing the ocean for an extended period of study in a different culture. To help you with your preparations, the Fulbright Commission has produced this pre-departure information, which contains many practical tips on preparing to go to the US, including obtaining a visa, travel, what to pack, living arrangements, campus life and American culture.
This academic year members of the Harvard Outreach Team have visited 30 schools across the UK to deliver our presentation about Harvard and the application process to US colleges. Our target institutions are state-funded schools and colleges that regularly send their students to Russell Group universities in the UK, but do not have a history of applying to top US colleges.
We are currently arranging our visit schedule for the autumn term, so if your school or college would like a visit between September and December 2016, please e-mail school visits co-ordinator Stuart Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studying medicine and law
One of the most frequently asked questions when we visit schools and college fairs is whether students with an undergraduate degree from American universities can go on to pursue further study in medicine and law back in the UK. Calum Docherty (Harvard College Class of 2007), who works for international law firm Latham & Watkins, has written about the process for entering the legal and medical professions for those who have taken non-specialist degrees in the US or elsewhere.
He explains that it is relatively straightforward for students with non-specialist degrees to return to the UK and become doctors and lawyers, provided they take the relevant conversion courses on their return. Aspiring medics can apply for an accelerated four-year graduate entry course in medicine; the relevant course for law is the one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) provided by many UK universities.
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