Why do people reject UK offers for US offers?

So I know this person who got accepted to good UK universities like Edinburgh, Imperial College, and Kings College which are rated in the top 21 on the Qs World Ranking website. However this person rejected these offers for an US university called Emory University which is rated 149 on the QS world ranking. I’m not close with this person so I didn’t ask the reason behind this person’s decision. From your professional point of view, can you tell us why some people will make decisions like this? Will it be because of cost or something else that we aren’t aware?

1 Replies


QS World Ranking is just one ranking. It is not a ranking of the quality of the undergraduate program.

It is difficult to compare US and UK institutions because the two education systems are very different. One is liberal arts and 4 years, the other is specialized and 3 years.

Personally, I look to the USNEWS national university rankings if I want to compare universities in the US. For the UK, I would use Times Higher Education ranking. If I want to compare US and UK institutions then I would use my own criteria which is based on selectivity. If a university is very selective, that means the standard of admission is high and so the student body is of a high quality. If a university has a low entry requirement, how can the university be good?

If I were to rank the US and UK universities in one ranking it would be something like this:

  1. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT
  2. Columbia, Chicago, Penn, Duke, JHU
  3. Oxbridge/ other Ivy League
  4. Top 20 USNEWS
  5. Top 5 UK schools other than Oxbridge/ Top 30 USNEWS

Since Emory is Top 20 USNEWS (4), that’s why the student chose it over Top 5 UK schools (5).

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