study abroad
General Matura United Kingdom United States

Should I study in the UK or in the USA?

  1. Studying in the USA
  2. How do I apply?
  3. Taking up your studies
  4. Applying to a university
  5. Studying in England – the requirements
  6. How much does it cost?
  7. How much will it cost to study in the UK? Studying in England after Brexit.
  8. Summary

When most of us think about the best institutions of higher education, the first thing that springs to mind are the universities in the USA and the UK.

The rankings show that it is not unreasonable to do so. Why UK or the USA then? Studying in England and the USA is not only studying at the best universities, but also gives us an enormous choice of courses, an international environment with students from all over the world, and a better start in the job market.

How much does it cost to study in London, when compared to studying in Washington? What does the application process look like? If you are getting  ready to study abroad, check out our article, which gives you an introductory overview of everything you need to know about studying in the USA and England.

Studying in the USA. Studying in England.

Studying in the USA

American higher education is organised in a different way to the system in Europe. The American educational system offers two-year (associate) degrees, and bachelor’s degrees, which are undergraduate, first cycle qualifications. Master’s courses run for between one and three years , and are second-cycle, postgraduate courses.

The courses are available through state and private universities. What might surprise many of you is the fact that private universities frequently  provide higher scholarships and better financial aid. This is because they have larger financial resources at their disposal.

Studying in England – how do I apply?

Higher education in the UK, just like in Poland, is divided into bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Undergraduate studies last for three years, although in some cases they can take another year –  for example, if you are doing a technical course or if you decide to do a sandwich course, which includes a year’s paid placement, part-way through the course. Postgraduate Master’s studies last for 1-2 years, depending on the subject.

One interesting option is to do a Top-up course. If you started by studying in Poland, but are dreaming of getting a British qualification, at the end of the second year of your bachelor’s course you can carry on by studying in the UK,  and changing your course to a similar one. You can also take a Top-up course once you have completed your bachelor’s degree in Poland.

Studying in the UK or the USA? Taking up your studies

Education in the USA

If you are considering  studying in the USA, you need to be aware that you do not apply to study  a particular course but to a specific university. During the first two years, you study a broad range of  themes and issues. At the end of the second year you choose your major – the subject in which you will specialise. You can also add a minor – an additional subject.

Studying in England – courses

When it comes to studying in England, the reverse is true – you apply to study a course. The number of options is far wider than those found in Poland, and the courses are much more specialised. For example, England offers courses in Contour Fashion, Arts and Festivals Management  and Computer Games. Of course, you can also apply to study a more traditional course!

Applying to a university

What is the application process in the USA?

You need to check requirements  and deadlines for putting in your application on your chosen universities’ websites. In general, applications are submitted through a system known as Common Application, and most universities  expect documents to be submitted by the end of the winter semester in the high school matura year.

What do you usually need to get ready? Here is the list:

  • a reference from a teacher (American universities  which are highly ranked may ask for references from a number of people)
  • an application essay (some universities could ask for an additional essay)
  • confirmation that you have taken part in extracurricular projects, such as voluntary work etc
  • a certificate of language proficiency -SAT and TOEFL or IELTS (occasionally you may also be asked for SAT subject results)
  • a record of assessments

Although tourist visas have been waived, if you want to study in the USA you need a student visa, which  will be valid for the length of your course. It is not worth leaving this until the last minute, because the visa application formalities may take a few weeks.

Studying in England – the requirements

In contrast to the USA, the UK’s application system is fully centralised. Every higher educational institution accepts  applications for undergraduate degrees through the online UCAS system. You can submit up to five applications, and you need to upload a Personal Statement and references from a teacher.

At a later stage, you also need to provide a language certificate, such as IELTS, or appropriate scores from expanded  English language taken at matura.

Only certain courses – such as medicine or dentistry – require you to sit entrance exams. Interviews form part of the application process for a number of courses.

When do I have to send off my application to university? This depends on the course to which you are applying. You can apply to Oxford or Cambridge, or to study medicine, veterinary science and dentistry, until 15 October. If you are applying for any other subject – with the exception of Art and Design, which has a deadline in March – you must submit your application by 15 January. Applications sent in after 30 June will form part of the UCAS process known as clearing, when vacant places are matched with people who have not yet secured a place on a course.

where to study, usa or uk?
Where to study, usa or uk?

Shall I study in the UK or the USA? How much does it cost?

Studying in the USA – costs. How much will it cost Poles to study in the USA?

The costs of studying in the USA  are between 30,000 dollars and 80,000 dollars a year. Non-US citizens cannot take advantage of grants offered by the federal government. In spite of that, the system is created in a way which favours international students, since there is a wide range of scholarships available to  reduce the costs of studying, by offering reductions of up to 100 per cent.

And what about day to day expenses?  Here are some examples of what you might pay in Washington for everyday goods and services, translated into Polish zlotys.

  • A meal in a mid-range restaurant: 63zł
  • 1 litre of milk: 3,93zł
  • I kilo of bananas: 5,52zł
  • One way ticket on public transport: 11,50zł
  • Cinema ticket: 63zł
  • Monthly pass to a gym: 340zł

How much will it cost to study in the UK? Studying in England after Brexit.

Do you have to pay to study in England? Yes, but you are eligible to receive a grant to cover the cost of your tuition fees throughout your undergraduate studies. The tuition fees at a public university in the UK are £9,250 a year. In addition, you can apply for a scholarship, which normally falls in the range of £1000-£1500 per year.

When it comes to Brexit, there will be some changes in the future in terms of getting government grants to cover the costs of your studies. Anyone who began studying last year will continue to study on the same terms as those they were offered when they first took up a place. This also applies to students who are beginning their courses in the academic year 2020/2021.

It is unclear at present  what financial help and support will be available in the future. It is possible that the universities themselves will have a role to play in providing grants for international students. To date, this has not yet been confirmed, but this type of scheme would be in the best interests of the British universities. 

Elab’s experts have analysed the costs of student life in England and come to the conclusion that it ranges from 1800 to 7250 złotys  a month. This figure includes: accommodation, food, transport, entertainment, studying resources etc. The actual costs depend to a great extent on each student’s needs and the city or town where you decide to  live. 

The cost of studying in England

Below, you will find a list of the average price of goods and services from Newcastle upon Tyne, translated into Polish zlotys.

  • A meal in a mid-range restaurant: 60zł
  • 1 litre of milk : 4,50zł
  • I kilo of bananas: 5,70zł
  • One way ticket on public transport: 14zł
  • Cinema ticket: 40zł
  • Monthly pass to a gym: 124zł


Is it worth studying in the UK or the USA? Of course it is! These universities have  prestigious reputations, are very popular among Poles and offer an excellent education. Their high level of teaching is complemented by their students’ outstanding results . The experience you gain will doubtlessly  help you to find a better job role on graduating.

What distinguishes American and British universities is not only their up to date facilities, laboratories and resources, but also the close links these institutions have forged with the job market.

Information and Advice

If you want to begin the journey of a lifetime, become part of the student community in England or the USA, amass rich knowledge and reap the rewards of a larger salary and better job in the future – get in touch with us.Elab’s consultants are experts in applying to study to the USA and to study in England, and will happily answer all your questions and explain how to get into the university of your dreams. Email us at  or call us on 602 751 351.

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