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DEC 24, 2020
Going to university is one of the most exciting times of your life and one of the most important steps towards shaping your career. In going to university, you gain more than just education, you’re also gifted the opportunity to network with industry professionals, to travel, join clubs, and dive deeper into extracurricular activities of all kinds.
Growing up in Australia, you’re probably already looking at local university prospects such as UNSW, USYD, Monash, University of Melbourne, and more. Australia is home to some fantastic universities that are of a good standard. However, when comparing Australian universities to the world’s top universities, specifically in the United States — a country that dominates the world top 20 rankings — you’ll realise that there are plenty of incredible options beyond our domestic shores.
As an Australian student, you have the opportunity to use your ATAR to study locally or, you can use it to study in the US, so considering to study full time overseas is a great option. Learn more about how you can use your ATAR to study overseas in this blog below.
The undergraduate experience is a once in a lifetime experience, so choosing the right university for your education and personality is important. Therefore, to help you compare the differences between Australian and US universities, we’ve compiled five key differences in the university experience. Read carefully, as some of these are great eye-openers as to the unique and long-lasting advantages of choosing to study abroad.
1. Smaller Classes
In Australia, classroom sizes are growing year after year, largely because local universities are admitting a lot more students. Below is a table with 2018 undergraduate enrolment levels listing two Australian universities compared to top universities in the US and UK.
|University||Undergraduate Enrolment (2018)||Student / Faculty Ratio||Year Est.||Number of Clubs|
|Monash||52,305||21 : 1||1958||300+|
|USYD||34,012||17 : 1||1850||200+|
|Cambridge||12,077||6 : 1||1209||700+|
|Oxford||11,747||11 : 1||1096||400+|
|Stanford||7,062||6 : 1||1885||650+|
|Harvard||6,700||6 : 1||1636||450+|
In summary, the data above shows the average Australia uni boasts a high enrolment rate with Student to Staff ratios sitting at approximately 19:1, where as at Stanford and Harvard, (and these two universities’ ratios are similar across the board with other top colleges), the student to staff ratio is only 6:1. US universities benefit from having a low student to staff ratios allowing educators to give more attention, and a personalised learning experience that helps students thrive in their academic environment.
2. Club Culture
One of the things that really makes the university experience special is student clubs. Clubs are a great escape from study, but most importantly, an opportunity for students to socialise with like-minded people. Whether it is coming together to watch a movie in a film club, or playing quidditch together on the university lawns, there’s a club for almost everything.
The US is well known for its club culture due to the large number of clubs available. For example, Harvard has over 450 student-operated clubs compared to USYD’s 200 student-operated clubs. Furthermore, US Universities provide their clubs with fantastic resources to keep the clubs running and thriving.
3. Traditions and Campus Life
The university lifestyle — or rather the residential college system —in the US, is known for its life-changing experience. In the US, the great majority of students live on campus during their four years of study and become a part of a student community that results in friendships for life. Students are able to study, live, eat, relax, socialise, and travel together. Further, a rich student body diversity means students are also able to meet fellow-students from all over the world, forming global connections and a true international friendship group.
US universities also boast some interesting traditions and festivals — many steeped in history and part of the fabric of an individual’s culture and comradery. These traditions give students a sense of pride and ‘family’ that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. The traditions can also be quite odd, for example, Toast throwing at UPenn. If you want to explore more whacky US university traditions head to our “8 Weird Ivy League Traditions You Don't Know About” blog post.
4. Employment Opportunities & Alumni Network
The professional networking opportunities at universities are an important way to start nurturing and building your connections to kickstart your career. Whilst Australian universities do give you opportunities to work at big firms in the country, US university networks provide unique opportunities at world-leading companies and institutions. The world’s biggest corporations reside in the US such as Google, Facebook, Tesla, and more. When combining the amazing location-based employment opportunities with a world-class alumni network, you effectively set yourself up for success well beyond the day of your college graduation.
Finally, graduates from top universities in the US generally start their careers with much higher salaries. You can check out just some examples here in our ‘Colleges with the Highest Graduate Salaries’ blog below.
Unless you’re traveling interstate to go to university, chances are you won’t be exploring much at a university in Australia. However, if you choose to study in the US, you will be living in a whole new country, which in and of itself provides endless travel opportunities. The US has everything from beaches to gorges and even mountains of snow. Best of all, it’s close to Canada and Mexico (not to mention the flight from New York to London is less than 7 hours!), giving you other opportunities to travel internationally.
Got some questions about subject selection or how to use your ATAR score to apply to universities? Visit our Webinars and Workshops page to register for our upcoming webinar or request a free and private consultation with our Academic Advisors where they can help you understand the full US or UK application process