College Beyond the States Book Updates

One of the reasons why we use a database as our main source of information about the English-taught degree programs in Europe is because the information is constantly changing.  Not only are new programs updated in the different countries at different points in the year, but tuition and admissions information often changes as well.

I finished writing College Beyond the States: European Schools that Will Change Your Life Without Breaking the Bank in April 2018.  Since then, there have been some changes regarding schools in the book that I want to point out. Some are major admissions changes, while others are just things to keep on your radar if you are considering that particular school.

At this point last year, our database had 1,700+ programs at 350 or so universities. There are now \more than 2,000 bachelor’s programs listed! The average tuition is right around $8,000 per year, with almost 600 under $4,000 per year and 65 that are tuition free-even for international students. Contrast that to the averages in the US where students pay on average $9,970 for in-state, $25,620 for out of state, and $34,740 for private tuition. Factor in the variable that most bachelor’s in Europe take only three years to compete, and you will find that, even with travel costs, overall tuition is comparable to or less than in-state expenses.(add map image)

While there are no admissions scandals in Europe to report, there have been some changes that affect students graduating with a US high school diploma (Note: if you have an IB diploma, these changes don’t apply to you – it’s still the golden ticket for admissions). Germany used to allow students with a US high school diploma to apply if they had a certain minimum SAT or ACT score. They did away with that in the fall of 2019, so applicants with a US high school diploma must now have two years of college credit or an associate’s degree.  There is also the possibility of admissions with a foundation year program in Germany, but I have my concerns about that which I detailed in a recent blog about the changes.

Leiden University announced an admissions change this fall that affected my household quite a bit! Until fall of 2018, Leiden required that students with a US high school diploma have three AP scores of 3+, along with a 3.5 GPA.  As you may know, this is where my son, Sam plans to attend.  At the end of junior year, he had three AP scores, two were 4’s and one was a 3. We had planned his high school courses this way so that his acceptance would only be conditional on graduation, not AP scores.  Well, wouldn’t you know…in early October, Leiden announced that they now require 3 AP scores of 4+ and that the new requirements begin immediately. Thankfully, Sam was already registered for two AP courses his senior year, or it would have been much more stressful. He has been conditionally accepted based on him getting a 4 on one of his two AP tests.  Though I’m pretty confident he will get a 4 on at least one of them, we won’t know the scores until July, which is quite nerve-racking!  To reduce the anxiety, we came up with a plan B. Sam has also applied to the Hague University of Applied Science, which does not have the AP requirement. If he doesn’t get a 4 on one of the two AP tests as needed, he will study at The Hague University of Applied Science in the fall and the year of classes will allow him to apply to Leiden for the fall of 2020.  Both of these programs are located in The Hague, so the social transition would be fairly easy.

Speaking of The Hague University of Applied Science, I’ve had a few experiences with them over the last year that may or may not be something you want to consider. There have been interactions (or should I say lack there of) that may speak to whether getting in front of prospective international students is a priority.  Sam’s experience with the admissions process there has also left much to be desired.  Though we know that he will be accepted, since he meets the admissions requirements, there has been need for constant follow up and a lack of clear answers to very simple questions…

The last change I want to mention is about Vesalius College, in Belgium. As of fall 2019, they were in the midst of merging with another school (different from their affiliation with Vrije University).  It doesn’t seem that this has occurred yet and I don’t know if it is still in the works or not. If it is a school of interest, it could be worth asking whether or not the merger is still planned and, if so, what impact it will have on their offerings.

Even with the changes, I am still comfortable with the quality and experience international students will have at the universities listed in my book. That said, there are many other options that are just as good as these.  I continue to be blown away with what I learn when I visit new places! Interested in exploring the multitudes of options?  A Beyond the States membership provides access to our searchable database of all the English-taught bachelor’s degree programs in Europe-with master’s launching this July. In addition, members receive a number of resources to help navigate the process from courses explaining different aspects of choosing and applying to universities, to community with other members and the chance to get answers from me on a monthly basis.  Join here!

How to Use the GI Bill for College in Europe

Josh is a former US Marine from Florida who now studies International Relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland.  His first international exposure came during his years of overseas duty. His posting to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group  really increased his interest in higher education and stoked a desire for continued international experiences.  He also met his now-wife while serving at the US Embassy in Warsaw.  Josh’s studies are financed through the GI Bill which, until recently, I didn’t realize could be used to fund college in Europe (more info here)!

GI Bill college in europeWhy Are Veterans So Well Suited for College or Grad School in Europe?

  • Through their service, they’ve gained international exposure.
  • They tend to be older and more mature than typical college students in the US.
  • Their benefits really are confined to state schools in which they live or have residency,, since $23,672 won’t go very far for towards out of state or private school tuition.
  • They also tend to know what they want to study, so Gen Ed requirements may seem like a waste of time.
  • Their experience in the military has taught the skills needed to deal with bureaucratic processes that are often involved in studying abroad.

What Are the Benefits Under the GI Bill?

Post 9/11 bill-varies based on the amount of time served after 9/11. Those who had active duty for 3 months get 40% of benefits up to those who served for 3 years who get 100% of benefits.

100% of benefits include:

  • Full tuition for in state and up to $23,672 for out of state or private or international (vets can get in state tuition where they live or have official residence).
  • $1,000 per year for books.
  • $1,650 monthly living allowance.

Here are examples of programs that might be interesting to vets that are covered by the GI Bill:

Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia

Program: Cyber Security Engineering

The curriculum is designed to provide higher education in the extremely hot field of Cyber Security, integrating software development and IT systems administration. Graduates of this curriculum will be able to independently design, operate and manage secure IT systems. Cyber security personnel are in high demand right now. The unemployment rate in the field is 0% and there are estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled positions in 2021.

Tuition: 2,400 EUR per year

Duration: 3 years

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands 

Program: Management of International Social Challenges

How can you help local, national and international governing bodies in addressing contemporary thorny problems such as youth unemployment, care for the elderly, sustainable water management, crime and delinquency, early school leaving? In this  program, you will learn how to research, analyse and contribute to solutions for these kind of challenges.

Tuition: 6,600 EUR per year

Duration: 3 years

Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia

Program: Medical Engineering and Physics

This diverse and exciting program covers the research and analysis of many of the latest advances in medicine. Graduates work with the design, development, testing, control and maintenance of medical equipment, devices and instruments. In addition, they work at service, certification, monitoring, production, design and research companies.

Tuition: 2,970 EUR per year

Duration: 4.5 years

Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark

Program: Business, Asian Language and Culture – International Business in Asia.

This unique program combines business expertise with Asian political, economic and cultural understanding and Chinese language skills. Mandarin is increasingly becoming the principal Asian business language along with English.

Tuition: 9,500 EUR per year

Duration: 4 years

How Can Beyond the States Help?

Currently, 214 of the 743 schools in our database accept the GI Bill and we are learning about more schools that do all the time, so this number will only continue to increase. That’s over 850 bachelor’s programs to choose from that take the GI Bill today in our database, along with all the information to make the process of getting to college in Europe much more manageable.

Join now to learn more

 

Global Citizenship

college in EuropeWhen I visit schools in Europe, I try to meet with international students to get an idea of their experiences at the school. These conversations are great, but are generally very school specific. I’ve been having different types of discussions for the student panel presentations that are part of our virtual college fairs. I had one call with three American students studying at various European universities and I recently had a call with three students from the MENA region who are also studying in Europe. These calls were more about the overall experience of being an international student. It was fascinating to hear the commonalities of these students from different parts of the world, studying in different parts of Europe.

I talk a lot about some of the tangible benefits around studying in Europe, like cost and tuition. Certainly cost factored into these students’ decisions to study in Europe, but that was a very small part of the conversation. The benefits these students talked about seriously gave me goosebumps and made me so excited for the experiences my kids and your kids can have!

Global Citizenship

Though this was not the word they used, every single student said that one of the best things about their experience is having classmates and friends from all around the world. They enjoy getting to know about different cultures (including food!) and gaining insight from perspectives of friends who have had very different life experiences. One student talked about how his mindset has changed around cultural differences. He doesn’t think of these differences as better or worse than his own norms, just different. Another student told me-and this is one I have been thinking about a lot-about how he has learned to work with others who he would have otherwise avoided. He is from Egypt and has a lot of classes with a student from Israel. The emphasis on group work and class discussion has required them to learn to put aside their political differences in order to work together. The current state of the world can only benefit from kids who have these perspectives, insights and values.

Confidence

I asked each of the students about the biggest challenges they have faced as international students. Most of them really struggled with this question! They talked about things that were initially difficult (figuring out the local public transportation, residence permit logistics) but didn’t define them as challenges. My theory is that by navigating those difficulties successfully, they then view them as just part of life-instead of a “challenge”. It also gave them the confidence to deal with future unfamiliar or difficult situations. These kids know that things aren’t always going to be easy and comfortable and don’t shy away from challenges. This is a trait that will help them succeed in so many areas of life!

The World Is Accessible

One student talked about how initially, going to college in Europe felt like a really big deal to her. After just over a year of study, she said that “the world feels accessible”. This is one of those quotes I keep thinking about! She has had successful experiences navigating her life outside of her home country which has led to this belief. She has figured out how to get around Prague, she has travelled around Europe with friends, she is going to Asia to study for a semester. The exposure to living outside of her home country has not only cultivated her interest in the world, but she has proven to herself that she has the skills to do so.

Yes, I’m relieved that we are going to save incredible amounts of money with college in Europe. Yes, I love that the application process was simple and that we got Sam’s acceptance in just three weeks. Even if the price were comparable to the US, or the admissions process were not so transparent, these options would be worth exploring for these less tangible benefits. I want my kids to feel invested in the problems around the world. I want them to experience and value diversity. I want them to know how to work with others-even when there are differences. I want them to know that they can manage unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. I want them to know that the world is within their reach. I’m confident that attending college in Europe will lead to these traits.

Podcast: 529 Plans and the Ins & Outs of Financial Aid

college in europeShow Notes

Title: 529 Plans and the Ins and Outs of US Federal Student Loans for College in Europe

Description

Jenn talks with Mark Kantrowitz, a leading expert on financing a student’s college education.  Mark is currently Publisher of PrivateStudentLoans.guru, a web site that provides students with smart borrowing tips about private student loans. Mark has served previously as publisher of the Cappex.com, Edvisors, Fastweb and FinAid web sites. He has previously been employed at Just Research, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Bitstream Inc. and the Planning Research Corporation.

Mark is President of Cerebly, Inc. (formerly MK Consulting, Inc.), a consulting firm focused on computer science, artificial intelligence, and statistical and policy analysis.

Guest: Mark Kantrowitz

Notes

Private College Loans on Nerd Wallet

College Abroad Can Be a Bargain

Mark Kantrowitz on Private Student Loans

Podcast: What’s My Major?

college in europeShow Notes

Title: The What’s My Major List

Description

One difference between college in the US and Europe is that in Europe incoming students must apply to a specific program, so they must know what they want to study. For students who don’t know what they want to study, this aspect can lead to worry. In this podcast, Jenn announces the availability of our “What’s My Major?” offering that helps students determine their field of study.

Notes

Recommended Podcast: The Europeans

Best Fit List Offering

Database Tour Webinar

Podcast: Why Not to Go to College in Europe

Beyond the States Podcast Show Notes

college in europe

Title

Why Not to Study in Europe

Episode Summary

After reading a blog post from a college counsellor that declared that the US post secondary education system was globally superior, Jenn felt compelled to respond. Here are her answers to the naysayers.

Resources

Beyond the States Blog Link

What’s Your Threshold blog

Malcolm Gladwell Podcast

Employers Hire Interns

Harvard Business Review Study

Employability Blog

Best Fit List

Podcast: Study Abroad and Erasmus

Beyond the States Podcast Show Notes

college in europe

Title Study Abroad & Erasmus Student Network 

Episode Summary

In this episode, Jenn talks about the prospect of studying abroad when you’re already an international student. She interviews João Pinto from the Erasmus Student Network. Interesting fact: students who study abroad are three times more likely to vote when they return home.

Guest

João Pinto, President of the International Board of Erasmus Student Network

 

Resources

Study Abroad blogs from Beyond the States

Erasmus Student Network

Erasmus Impact Study

Fun Quiz: What is Your Perfect Erasmus Destination?

Podcast: Fostering Student Independence

college in europe

 

Title Fostering Student Independence

 

Episode Summary

Parents are often concerned that students will struggle when faced with the new environment of college. In this episode, Jenn focuses on the importance of building independence in your student. She also talks about how she’s building these skills in her own children.

Resources

Admissions podcast

Atlantic Article: Let Your Kids Ride Public Transportation Alone

Rotary Youth Exchange

NSLI Languages Programs

Projects Abroad

CIEE Study Abroad Programs

Where There Be Dragons

Podcast: Parent’s Guide to College in Europe

college in europeTitle

Parent’s Guide to College in Europe

Episode Summary

In this episode, Jenn talks about threshold model of collective behavior first introduced to us in Malcolm Gladwell’s amazing podcast, Revisionist History. This theory describes how some people within a group are more comfortable than others when acting against group norms. If you’re at all interested in college in Europe, I encourage you to listen to Gladwell’s podcast episode, The Big Man Can’t Shoot, which explains an academic concept using an accessible sports motif.

Jenn’s guest for this episode is one of our members, Laura, whose daughter, Liza, is attending Anglo American University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Guest

Laura, Liza’s mother & Beyond the States member

Resources

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast: Revisionist History

BTS Blog: What’s Your Threshold?

Sociologist Mark Granovetter’s 1978 paper on threshold model of collective behavior

Anglo American University

BTS Blog on Prague

Colleges that Change Lives

BTS Blog: Do You Have What It Takes?

Full Episodes of House Hunters International

 

 

Applied Learning and Fun in The Hague

college in europeShow Notes

Title: Student Social Scene and Universities of Applied Sciences

Description

In this episode, Jenn looks are two questions: What is the social life like for international students? And what is a University of Applied Sciences? Universities of Applied Sciences focus on getting students ready to enter the workforce as opposed to the purely theoretical approach one would find at a research university. In some countries, UASs are viewed as inferior, while in the Netherlands, they’re viewed as simply different. In this episode, Jenn interviews Hannah Remo. Originally from a small town in New Jersey, Hannah is currently studying European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and will graduate with zero student debt. It is less expensive for Hannah to attend college in the Netherlands than it would have been to study in-state!

Guest: Hannah Remo

Resources

CNN Money article featuring Hannah

Projects Abroad

Universities of Applied Sciences on Study in Holland site

The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Ten Fun Things to Do in The Hague

Six Ways the Dutch are Nailing Student Life

Duo Student Housing Organization