1. Canada: Beautiful, Close, and a Great Education

Our friendly neighbors to the north have a lot of offer when it comes to higher education. Fairly easy to reach by either driving or flying, Canada is a great option for students who are seeking something a bit different in their education but are unwilling to cross oceans. Arguably, it is slightly easier to get into Canada’s top ranking universities than those in the USA. So if big names are something you crave, consider choosing one of Canada’s top universities. Because they’re so close to the USA, most of these institutions will accept and understand SAT and ACT scores and use them as admissions criteria along with your transcript. Some will also accept IB and AP scores, if that is something your high school offers.

Canada has a lot of variety in the type of institutions offered; students can find a home anywhere from large research universities to smaller liberal arts institutions.

Liberal arts types, consider places like: Trent University, King’s College, University of Lethbridge, Acadia University, University of Guelph

Big research university people, contemplate: University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill, University of Alberta, York University, Dalhousie University

UBC’s campus is gorgeous (see above).

2. The UK: More than One Country to Consider

So, this is confusing. The UK is composed of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To keep things simple, we’re only going to talk about England and Scotland – two popular destinations for American students.

For both destinations students can use UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) to apply. This is kind of like the Common Application in the USA. Bare in mind, you can only apply to five schools, so choose wisely.


Scotland is where the USA originally got the idea for liberal arts, cool huh? Scottish degrees are four years and more flexible than their southern cousins. Students who aren’t 100% sure what they want to study can succeed in Scotland and often enjoy “test driving” subjects in their first two years at uni. That being said, you should have an idea of what you want to study initially as you’ll apply to that subject and/or department.

Consider researching: University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh, University of Aberdeen, St. Andrews, or the UCAS Search Tool (http://search.ucas.com/)

The University of Aberdeen’s Historic Quad:











Undergraduate degrees in England are three years and very focused. Students start studying their chosen subject on day one and stick to that path in order to finish in three years. If you know what you want to study and are sick of distribution requirements, this might be the way to go!

Consider researching: University College London, Durham University, Warwick University, University of Kent, Royal Holloway, or use the UCAS Search Tool (http://search.ucas.com/)

In both England and Scotland, your standardized testing matters at lot. Many universities will ask for SAT or ACT scores along with results from SAT Subject tests, AP exams, or IB exams. These scores will help determine if you are offered a conditional or unconditional place and the specific conditions of the offer.

3. Ireland: A Great Opportunity within Europe

Another English speaking nation, Ireland is a great choice for students who have already more-or-less decided what they want to study. Ireland is technically the only English speaking country in the Eurozone, so you don’t have to be a polyglot to get by. Degrees are four years and allow students to explore their academic passion. Additionally, a four-year degree makes it easier for students to “study abroad” during that time and sample another European university or a destination further afield. As things change after the Brexit, it seems that Ireland could emerge as an even more popular destination for American students.

Irish universities will typically want to see SAT or ACT test scores, along with SAT Subject Tests and AP or IB exams. You will also need to submit your academic transcript and other application information.

Consider researching: National University of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, or University of Limerick

Also see Education in Ireland (http://www.educationinireland.com/en/).

4. The Netherlands: Study in English with the Dutch, Particularly Liberal Arts!

Even if you don’t speak Dutch, don’t overlook the Netherlands. This small nation packs a big punch in the world of education and has some great universities that welcome international students who want to learn in English. Easily connect to other cities in the Netherlands via train, or visit places farther afield with good rail and air connects.

VIDEO (https://youtu.be/Q3yx1WA5Q7k)

The Dutch universities will typically want to see SAT or ACT test scores, along with SAT Subject Tests and AP or IB exams. You will also need to submit your academic transcript and other application information.

If you are into the liberal arts, be sure to check out the various programs available in the Netherlands. Note: many courses, like in England, are three years.

Consider researching: Leiden University, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Amsterdam, or search using Studyfinder (https://www.studyfinder.nl/).

5. Japan: An Island of Fun

If you love manga, Japanese language, and soba, perhaps you’ll venture to Japan. For years, Japan’s best universities have been teaching in English and attracting top students from Asia and around the world.

Globally curious and connected to technology and history, Japan is a great place to study for many types of students. Particularly if you want to learn Japanese, this can be a great way to do it.

VIDEO (https://youtu.be/n6ldXXkAoR0)

Typically, universities ask for SAT or ACT, along with any results on either AP or IB exams or SAT Subject Tests. You will also need to submit your academic transcript and other application information.

Check out: University of Tsukuba, Waseda University, Doshisha University (The Liberal Arts Program), Nagoya University, or visit the list of courses taught in English via the Global 30 Program. (http://www.uni.international.mext.go.jp/documents/admissions_g30ugcourses.pdf)

6. Australia: For Students Who Want to be Sure Mom Can’t Visit Unannounced

This former penal colony packs a punch where education is concerned. With fantastic universities and so much to do, Australia has a lot to offer students who are brave enough to consider studying there.

Australian degrees are typically three years, however many universities follow the “Melbourne Model” which began at the University of Melbourne and allows specialization from day one or a more open curricular plan.

Because Australia welcomes international students and needs skilled workers, the country has welcoming visa laws regarding graduates staying to work after they finish their degree.

Expect universities to require either ACT or SAT scores, and some places might require AP or IB examinations.

Consider: University of Melbourne, Griffith University, the University of Adelaide, RMIT, Monash University, or search via Study in Australia (http://www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/global/australian-education/universities-and-higher-education/list-of-australian-universities)