Opportunities to study abroad

The opportunities of studying abroad have been highlighted to girls in Years 10-12 this week by speakers from America and Belfast.

The first talk was to girls and parents from Dr Jon Tabbert from from Dukes US Applications consultancy on how to apply for courses in the USA.

He spoke to the girls about the many advantages but also the obstacles to studying in the United States: “Americans believe in breadth. The system is not suitable for people who want to study only chemistry in their first year, their second year and their third year,” said Dr Tabbert, himself an American originally from Chicago.

“American educationalists still believe in general education - the idea that your study should be broader for longer. The university will always insist that you take a wide range of different subjects alongside the subject you are majoring in.”

Dr Tabbert emphasised the breadth of choices facing students thinking about the US with around 4500 universities, as well as how selective the top tier American universities are. Stanford, for example, accept only 2% of overseas applicants.

He also went through the big differences in the application systems with each university in the US being applied to individually and not through a centralised system like UCAS, as well as the challenges of the SAT tests which are used to assess students before entry. 

Head Girl Alex McDonald, who is thinking of making an application to Harvard, said: “It was a really useful talk and they also gave me some specific advice on how and when to make contact with Harvard which was really helpful.”

Later in the week Year 12 girls had the chance to learn about opportunities at a ‘Queen’s’ across the Irish Sea with Julie Holgate, from the Queen’s University, Belfast, speaking about the wide range of courses at the Russell Group institution.

“We are one of the top research based universities in the UK and offer most of the traditional courses that applicants are looking for including Medicine and Dentistry” said Julie.

“We also combine the best of both a campus and a city university as we are in the city but all of our university buildings are within walking distance.”

Julie also spoke about the wider attractions of Northern Ireland including the beautiful coastline and outdoor opportunities as well as the generous scholarships offered by the university.