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.
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.
In 2018, when I published the first edition of the book, our database of English-taught programs had 1,700+ programs at 350 or so universities. There are now more than 3,400 bachelor’s programs listed! The average tuition is right around $8,000 per year, with almost 870 under $5,000 per year and 100 that are tuition free-even for international students. Contrast that to the averages in the US where students pay on average $10,740 for in-state tuition, $26,382 for out of state, and $39,400 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.
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, and have adjusted their admissions requirements for international students once again, making the admissions process a bit more challenging. Check out our new Guide to College in Germany for International Students for updated information.
Leiden University announced an admissions change that 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 planned to attend. At the end of his 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 of that year, Leiden announced that they now require 3 AP scores of 4+ and that the new requirements would 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 we were pretty confident he would get a 4 on at least one of them, we wouldn't know the scores until July, which was 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 didn't get a 4 on one of the two AP tests as needed, he would study at The Hague University of Applied Science in the fall and the year of classes would 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’d had a few experiences with them 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 also left much to be desired. Though we knew that he would be accepted, since he met the admissions requirements, there was a 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).They did eventually integrate with Brussels School of Governance, and this is the school listed and reflected in our database.
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 and master's degree programs in Europe - there are currently over 11,000 listed. In addition, members receive a number of resources to help navigate the process from self-paced courses explaining different aspects of choosing and applying to universities, to community with other members and discounts on all our other individual offerings, like our Best Fit List service, one-on-one consultations with me, and Motivation Letter reviews.