This story was first published in our Paying for College 101 Facebook community. It’s been edited for clarity and flow.
Now that my daughter is off to school and a lot of my questions and concerns about her decision to study overseas have been resolved, I wanted to share our experience applying to college abroad.
A Little Background
My daughter wanted to study overseas so badly that she applied to three schools in Scotland, one in England, and another in Wales. She is currently a first-year medical student at Cardiff University in Wales, a city with a wonderful history and a castle right in the middle of it. She chose Cardiff because the medical program takes less years than in the states and each year of school is $24,000. Her room and board are an additional $7,000.
College Application Outcomes
In the United States, she was accepted to George Washington University, Lafayette College, the College of William and Mary, the University of Richmond, the University of Pittsburgh, and American University. She was also waitlisted at Notre Dame.
A unique thing about applying to a school overseas is that my daughter was told of her acceptance to Cardiff within two weeks, which is much faster than schools in the states. The only condition was that she needed to earn good grades her senior year in high school. Also, the Cardiff University calendar is from Sept. 26 to June 15 — a little later start and finish than the states, but the students have a bit more time to prepare.
Even though there are increased travel costs to consider attending Cardiff, most of the U.S. schools my daughter was accepted to were $80,000 per year, and none was less than $48,000. And even though we did not qualify for any financial aid, our 529 plan covers four years of school with no loans for now. My daughter agreed to contribute $8,000 over four years with part-time jobs.
What We Learned About Studying Overseas
Instead of requiring liberal arts courses, Cardiff lets you focus on your major. As a result, my daughter’s schedule includes five science courses. The school charts a predetermined path to help each student be the most successful they can be.
She’ll go to school for five years and then decide where she wants to practice medicine. If she chooses the U.S. she will need two years of residency, but just one year is required in the UK. By attending Cardiff, she can be a doctor in six years vs eight to ten in the U.S. — and did I mention $31,000 per year?!
The school also goes out of its way to help international students. Each first-year student is given a personal tutor for the year at no cost to help them do their best, and each student has their own room with shared bathrooms and kitchens.
Keep an Open Mind
I hope our experience motivates even just one person to consider applying to study overseas. Think of the visits and travel you could share with your student! If your child speaks fluent French or German, a school in Switzerland might be a good fit, and there’s also the International School in Madrid, where my daughter considered applying.
I could never have done this without WhatsApp or cell phones, but I know she is where she needs to be.
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
Other Articles You Might Like:
JOIN ONE OF OUR FACEBOOK GROUPS & CONNECT WITH OTHER PARENTS: