Is the U.K. university application harder than or related to the U.S. application?


I’m thinking about studying abroad and I will definitely apply to the U.S., but I’m not sure whether it’s worth also applying to the U.K. Do you have any advice and information on the U.K. application?


Hey, Curious.George! Great question.

There is definitely no harm in also applying to the UK in addition to applying to the U.S. The U.K. application has some major differences from U.S. applications, including format, expectations, etc. Here are the key differences:

  • In the US, you can apply to as many schools as you’d like (both CommonApp or otherwise). With the U.K., you can only apply to five schools (including either Oxford OR Cambridge)
  • The Personal Statement (for the U.K) is subject-specific, and a key focus is to demonstrate your aptitude in the subject area you are looking to study.
  • The U.K. values core academic abilities (classroom performance, etc.) over extracurricular activities. The U.S. schools tend to appreciate core academic abilities in addition to extensive extracurricular activities that demonstrate you are a well-rounded student.


In my biased opinion, I would say it’s definitely worth applying to study in the UK! As a.joseph says, you can only apply to 5 universities (4 if applying for medicine), but you submit just one application and therefore one personal statement for all of your choices. Successful applications are largely based on your grades (if you already have A levels), or your predicted grades, and demonstration of passion for your subject. Unique extracurricular activities/ volunteering/ work are definitely worth including but should probably not take up more than a quarter of your 4000 character personal statement, and should relate directly to how they have prepared you for studying. You also submit a reference, normally from a school tutor of about the same length and it’s worth making sure there isn’t too much overlap between your own statement and theirs.

University terms/ semesters start in September or October with application deadlines in January for most, unless one of your choices is Oxford or Cambridge, in which case the application deadline is some time in October. I think this means writing your applications for UK unis needn’t clash too much with the US application timeline.

I’d say it’s 100% worth applying to uni in the UK if you have a subject that you’re passionate about. If you’re happy writing about why then it’s also not too strenuous of an application process for you!