Record number of UCS students shun UK universities for Ivy League

The record number of pupils from UCS who are going on to study in the USA

The record number of pupils from UCS who are going on to study in the USA - Credit: Archant

A record number of A-level students at a top private school have shunned UK universities to instead study in the United States.

Ten pupils from University College School (UCS) in Hampstead will this year fly half way round the world to complete their further education as they champion the “less narrow” choice of degrees.

Seeing his students trade Oxbridge for the Ivy League, headmaster Mark Beard said: “Nationally, there has recently been a greater interest in studying abroad. The rise in tuition fees has led some to question more deeply the value for money offered by a UK degree. A place at Oxford or Cambridge is also highly competitive, so this can be a way of spreading your bets. But for many of those leaving, they’ve been attracted by the broader academic range offered by studying in the US.”

UCS last year became a registered centre for SAT exams, which are separate adminission tests set by each US university. The rise in interest from students also saw the school hire a consultant to help those thinking of heading to the US.

Alex Cedar, 18, who lives in Hampstead and celebrated his A-level results outside UCS last Thursday, is to study political science and film at Columbia University.

He said: “There’s more breadth in the US compared to the UK, which is much more confined. The liberal arts degree allows you to study a greater range.

“It’s more expensive but the rise in tuition fees has made it a more attractive option.”

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Ben Dimant, 18, also of Hampstead, hopes to study at MIT Harvard after his gap year in China. He said: “In the UK you are forced to specialise quite early on whereas in the US, the breadth is much greater.”