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University In The UK Vs University In America

Americans may have red cups and take whatever classes they like, but they also have to share a room.

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1. In the US you start university with an orientation week packed with activities.

This is when some very excited older student indoctrinates you about your university's sports teams, and you sign up for 1,000 clubs. You also go to parties with the people who live on your dorm floor, whether or not you like them. If you do, it’s the best week ever. If you don’t...don’t worry, you'll find your friends later.

In the UK you start university with freshers' week.

You have no lectures and lots of events focused on getting you drunk while wearing matching T-shirts. You'll go to the freshers' fair and sign up to clubs that will send you emails for three years, but mainly it's about making friends and organised fun, and it's terrifying.

2. In the US you’re lucky if you have just one other person in your room instead of two.

Yes, that's three beds, for three adult human beings, in one dreaded triple room. The whole set-up makes dating and romance a little...complicated. Nothing screams sexy like a top bunk!

In the UK no one shares a room unless you go to a very posh uni and you’re really unlucky.

After your first year you live out in a crappy house with your mates which will have poor central heating.

3. In the US, especially if you’re at a big state university, sports will take up a lot of your world, whether you want them to or not.

Especially if you have a football team: College football is as big a deal as professional football. It’s all a bit much. But hey, at least game days are an opportunity to day drink!

In the UK you have to be really good to get on to uni teams, but no one actually cares if you do or not.

There are practically no sports scholarships and the only uni sports event anyone gives two shits about is the boat race. Which involves like 20 people from two universities.

4. In the US you don’t reeeeallly have to make up your mind about what you want to study until the second year.

Or even the third, if you’re ballsy. And there’s always time to take underwater basket-weaving in addition to whatever you’re actually studying. The downside is that you have a ton of exams and papers throughout each semester or trimester. You can’t escape the constant deadlines.

In the UK you have to pick what you want to study when you apply.

As you go through uni you specialise more and more throughout your degree. Most unis operate on a system where you can get away with doing no work throughout the term and then have the worst week of your life at the end, when all your essays are due. But most of your degree will probably rest on one dissertation and about five exams in your final year.

5. In the US, you have tests, quizzes, and exams ALL the time. You might have three midterms on one day.

Big ones, little ones, medium ones. At least you can turn up in your PJs, and if you screw one up, there are 1,000 more tests to take this semester to try to fix your grade!

In the UK exams are a huge deal and very scary.

You probably only have about 10 exams a year, and if you fail any you'll have to do resits during the summer. Most of your exams will be in one week at the end of the year, you'll live in the library for weeks leading up to them, and it will be hellish.

6. In the US college drinking is all about red cups.

Red cups, beer pong, and the sticky feel of spilled light beer on a scratched-up wooden floor at a house party. And looking forlornly into the window of a cool bar that you're not allowed inside until you're 21.

In the UK there is A LOT of drinking at university.

Lots of unis have bars that are basically non-profit, so alcohol is insanely cheap. All sport and society socials involve going to these places and drinking as much as physically possible. And of course we can drink from 18 so there are also a lot of bad clubbing experiences involving things like "foam parties" and "Carnage".

7. Since you can't legally drink for most of university, in the US you end up at house parties a lot.

That is, until the cops turn up and ROLL YOU.

In the UK it is very rare for parties to get shut down by police because no one gives a shit.

But we have bad weather and small houses so most parties end up in clubs when they outgrow houses.

8. In the US you get a meal plan in your first year.

There is unlikely to be an actual kitchen in your room where three adult human beings sleep like sardines. So you go to the dining halls and eat pizza and pasta and more pizza and put that shit on your loan like there’s no tomorrow.

In the UK you can usually choose to be catered or self-catered during your first year.

Catered food is only slightly better than school canteen food, but you do get a pudding with every meal, and it usually features custard. For the rest of uni, and if you are self-catered, you will live off Tesco Value spaghetti and chicken kievs.

9. In the US you get a big-ass student loan that has a kinda better rate than a bank would offer you.

Then you suffer under its crippling weight for the rest of your career, and can never buy a house, or save for retirement, or feel the human emotion of happiness. Unless you’re, like, rich. Or have scholarship from the government, your university, or an outside institution, you lucky thing!

Or, you make the wise decision to start out your degree at a cheap community college, and save two years of paying fees to a more expensive four-year university. SUCH WISDOM!

In the UK everyone gets a practically zero-interest loan to pay for their fees.

When you eventually get a job they take a tiny weeny bit out of your pay cheque each time until you’re 45 and you get a surprise letter telling you you’ve paid it off.

10. In the US practically everyone has a job, and often a job where a part of your wage goes directly to pay your student fees. Like calling up alumni and asking for money.

Hopefully you can get a gig at a security desk where you can work on your assignments while on the clock.

In the UK you get a maintenance loan from the government that pays for most of your living costs.

Most people will have to get a job as well to make up the difference. You can usually get a job working for the uni in the library or bar.

11. In the US universities don't really have drinking societies, but they DO have fraternities and sororities.

They're named with Greek letters, are gender-segregated, and you can either live in your fraternity or sorority's house or outside of it. Your time is divided between such activities as charity work and going on bus trips to clubs where you get blackout drunk while wearing matching dresses. You call your fellow members your brothers or sisters. It's a difficult thing to explain to British people, tbh.

In the UK only posh unis have drinking societies and even then you’re only allowed in them if you’re really posh.

Other than that it’s societies like “students for pub appreciation” which are basically drinking societies under a different name.

12. In the US, there's a week or weekend called homecoming when alumni come back to visit their old campus.

They walk around going “ah, it’s different from my day!” even though it’s probably not, and then go to a big football game probably. If you're still a student, you can participate in events, invite your parents, or ignore it completely.

In the UK no one really visits their university after they've left.

We kind of get on with our lives...

13. In the US all teachers are called professors.

My history professor just sent us in email about our syllabus and put a meme in the email. I'm excited for his class.

Even if you’re being taught by a graduate student, you probably call them professor. Basically in American universities, you really throw this term around.

In the UK lecturers have to be promoted to a professorship before anyone calls them professor.

Professor is only for the highest people. Most lecturers are just "doctor". If you call a doctor a professor they will probably correct you. If you’re being taught by a grad student you just call them their name.

14. Graduating from college in the US is a big deal. That's why people write inspirational messages on their caps for the big day.

But, the whole thing is made slightly less special due to the fact that you've already had a high school graduation ceremony, a middle school graduation ceremony, an elementary school graduation ceremony...and maybe also a preschool graduation ceremony.

In the UK graduation is an even bigger deal.

You will have to go up on stage in front of loads of people and shake someone's hand you've never met, and try not to fall over while wearing a funny gown. And then afterwards you will get official pictures with your parents. It will be well cute.