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Applying to US Universities

To win a place at a top American university, you must submit excellent school results and enthusiastic references from teachers. In addition, you must take the SAT exams (or the alternative ACT exams) over a series of several months. Finally you must submit a series of personal essays and answers to various questions. 


How can we help?       


Many British students find it helpful to have advice from someone who understands the process. We sit down with students and help them plan their whole campaign, flagging up key dates and explaining how much time investment is required at each stage of the process. We also help you to understand what US universities expect from British candidates, and how to manage the unfamiliar requirements of the application process. 


SAT Preparation


For students outside the US it is definitely worth investing some time and effort to improve your performance on the SAT exams. Some American universities make allowances for foreign students, but the better your score the stronger the candidate you will be. Typically American students receive expert SAT coaching, within their schools or from independent instructors, and it is possible to improve your score with some hard work, good advice and practice. We believe it is important to begin preparing for the SAT exams as soon as you start thinking about a US application so that you can achieve competitive scores without intruding unduly on your A level or IB studies. We have the experience, familiarity and expertise to guide you through this process smoothly and successfully.   


Admissions Essays  


It is normal to go through several drafts of the admissions essays required by American universities. At each stage of the process we provide critical feedback to help you develop your ideas and distil your expression until your essays become a powerful, unique and authentic representation of your personality, character, abilities and aspirations. These essays are quite different from the UCAS Personal Statement so expect the process to be less formal and more personal, and leave plenty of time to do it well.   


Our Courses


We run a number of one- and two-day courses to help students with American applications. The very best thing you can do, though, to strengthen your chances of success, is to attend one of our two flagship courses: for those currently between fourteen and seventeen years old we would urge you to look at the John Locke Institute Summer School. For those who plan on applying for universities after finishing A levels, please consider joining us for a ten-week residential course in your Gap Year.


Summer School in France


The Summer School 2018 runs from 30 July until 25 August. It can strengthen your American application in two ways. First, you will be exposed to university-level teaching in high quality seminars and tutorials, introducing you to ideas and concepts beyond the A level curriculum. This experience can feed into your admissions essays, allowing you to create a richer, more interesting narrative about your own intellectual journey. The second advantage is that attending a course such as this signals to admissions officers that you are genuinely interested in new ideas and that you welcome academic challenges. Feedback we have received from several universities confirms that attending the Summer School makes students more compelling candidates. For more information, please click About the Summer School.

Gap Year Programme


Around two-thirds of our British students who apply to American universities leave their applications until their Gap Year, allowing them to concentrate on their A level exams first, and then devote their attention to admissions when they have more free time. If this is the case, there is no better way to manage your gap year than at our Gap Year programmes Fall Term in Princeton and Trinity Term in Oxford.  These programmes are designed around your interests and aspirations and include tutorials and seminars with Oxford and Princeton academics, London and Washington-based think tank leaders, politicians and authors. Most students on the programme apply to either Oxford or Cambridge as well as to American universities. We provide expert guidance and support as an important part of the course, and having other students working towards the same goals is encouraging and mutually beneficial. For more information on a unique academic experience, and the perfect preparation for university, please click Why Take a Gap Year?.

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