Wednesday, June 29, 2011

American Colleges v English Universities Part II of II

USA: Many colleges have Greek life consisting of fraternities and sororities.
England: Greek life is nonexistent but there is cross over between male fraternities and sport societies.
Verdict: Watch Animal House and decide for yourself.

USA: Students pay for living expenses through family savings and employment.
England: Most students pay for living expenses through maintenance loans that begin being paid back when their annual income reaches £15,000
Verdict: English students leave university with more living expenses debt.

USA: Students pay for tuition and fees with a combination of family savings, grants, loans, employment, financial aid, and scholarships.
England: Students pay for university the same way as Americans except loans are more common and financial aid and scholarships are very rare.
Verdict: US wins because financial aid and scholarships are amazing.

USA: Most students live on campus in dorms, suites, apartments, or Greek houses.
England: University accommodation consists of flats, and students can only live in university accommodation for their first year. 2nd and 3rd year students live in off campus houses or flats.
Verdict: England wins, because students always have a kitchen. Also, university flats provide individual rooms unlike dorms, and living in a house or flat during 2nd and 3rd year beats living in a dorm or a suite to a pulp.

USA: Optional summer classes are offered and are usually taken in order to get ahead in one’s degree or because four years is not long enough to fit in all required classes.
England: Following a month-long spring break, which students are supposed to dedicate to studying for exams and to writing essays, university requires students to attend a summer term dedicated to turning in all the essays to taking all the exams prepared during the month-long spring break.
Verdict: US wins by shoving all essays and exams into the semester, effectively clumping all the stress together and getting the term over with.

USA: Law and medicine degrees are not offered at the undergraduate level.
England: Law and medicine degrees are offered at the undergraduate level.
Verdict: England wins, because in the US by the time you graduate from medical or law school, you are balding and being threatened by debtors’ prisons.

USA: Students are assessed multiple times throughout the semester through homework, quizzes, tests, essays, and exams.
England: Students are assessed 1-4 times (usually just 2 times) throughout the term with the majority of the final mark deriving from a final exam or essay.
Verdict: England wins with a lighter workload, but you are screwed if you mess up that final exam or essay. US wins with keeping students on their game and by spreading the weight of the final mark over many assignments.

USA: Many colleges require freshmen to take a writing class in order to learn how to properly write varies types of essays at the undergraduate level.
England: No writing class requirement.
Verdict: Depends if you like to write or wish you had learned.

USA: Students choose a major, which is the degree that they choose to pursue. A minor is equivalent to half of a major. Students can pursue multiple majors and minors. Pursuing two majors is called double majoring, and the student must take all the classes for both majors.
England: Students choose a single-honor, which is the degree that they choose to pursue. Minors do not exist. If a student wants to pursue two subjects, then he/she can pursue a joint-honor. The joint-honor student takes the same number of classes as the single-honor student with half of those classes deriving from one subject and the other half deriving from another subject. Therefore, the English joint-honor is equivalent to two American minors but is the English option of the American double major.
Verdict: England wins on lighter workload. US wins on freedom of choice.

USA: Guided learning philosophy
England: Independent learning philosophy
Verdict: US wins because independent learning is like communism, sounds good but doesn’t work. Given more free time, students are going to party, not research.

USA: Requires that all students take general education (gen ed) classes, which are classes required from every discipline that provide students with a broad knowledge base. These gen eds are taken in addition to a student’s major(s) and minor(s) classes.
England: Students are required and allowed to take only one class outside their degree during their 1st or 2nd year. This class is called a MOMD [Module Outside Main Discipline].
Verdict: England wins on focus. US wins on well roundedness.

USA: Undergraduates are marked on a 0-100 scale with 90-100 being a 4.0 (an English 1st) and 69 and below being failing.
England: Undergraduates marked on a 0-85 scale with 70 being a 1st (an American 4.0) and 40 and below being failing.
Verdict: Just different.

America: Wear graduation gowns and throw caps into the air.
England: Wear graduation gowns and throw caps into the air.
Verdict: We both wear ridiculous outfits on graduation day. I’ve never figured out if throwing the hats is an act of celebration (Hooray! I earned this degree and survived!) or panic (Oh, cruel real world! Don’t take me away! What am I supposed to do with my life?!)

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