More and more students are turning to alternative forms of schooling to earn a degree, although this does not necessarily have to mean online education. In fact, the students enrolled in traditional colleges still vastly outweigh the number of students enrolled at online schools (for now). One of the perks of traditional college classes continues to be the option of studying abroad or even completely enrolling in a school overseas for the entire four years.
While not yet an exceptionally popular route, more and more students are choosing to enroll in schools abroad, such as the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Schools like St. Andrews heavily recruit among U.S. high school students, and have a large American population as a result. While this seems to dim the “multicultural” experience so many students have expected, it continues to be a popular choice for many graduating seniors who want to experience college in a country that contains thousands of years of history. St. Andrews itself was founded in 1413, older than any American institution, and is able to offer a vast array of history to potential students. This experience is relatively new within the American college setting, although most students choose to spend at least a semester studying abroad.
Universities abroad like St. Andrews have many different amenities from American universities, such as lower tuition rates and the vast international experiences students earn through this time. Furthermore, schools like these are prestigious institutions within Europe, although they tend to allow students entrance who would not be accepted at American Ivy League schools. There are no “cap systems” in place in these schools, but the schools instead seek to encourage American entrance by letting in most students who apply to these schools. Earning your college degree from an overseas university is a completely different opportunity and experience than you will ever receive within the United States, and there is no question that these students are earning valuable international life lessons.
While universities in Scotland and England tend to pave the way for American international programs, due largely to the common language, other universities in Germany and France are attempting to implement similar programs for international students. Aside from simply gaining a college degree, these students are gaining years of experience in a different culture and are able to live in a different culture for years on end. This type of four-year experience is difficult to replicate, no matter how hard American institutions may try, but ancient European universities are able to present history and liberal arts in a new light for those students willing to try it out.