The past few months we have been talking about some differences between the academy in Europe and here in the USA.
One of the things we’ve discussed is how here in the United States, college admission is a very competitive process. We have college placement exams and a student can study whatever discipline they’d like so long as they have an interest and have achieved the proper entrance score. In Europe it is very different as all students are guaranteed a free higher education. There, familiar relationships go a lot further and in fact college entrance exams are not required. Instead, the process of weeding out students comes along in the advanced school years, regarding whether or not the student passes the coursework.
Prestige of a university is common in both the USA and Europe. However, I feel that here in the USA, location of a school is a relatively secondary matter compared to the ranking and the prestige of the program. In Europe it seems that choosing a university is generally more representative of the importance of the institution as a research center than of quality or prestige, and choice is generally based on more practical criteria such as distance from home, or the cost of the program. In some cases, the county won’t pay for a student to travel to a different county to study at the university so options are much more limited than here in the USA.