As written by Sarah K (BA, MA Harvard), a USA College Counsellor
As a US college advisor for Bespoke Tuition now based in London, Sarah enjoys learning about students’ interests and helping them to express the best versions of themselves in their essays, applications and interviews. Sarah can offer both in person and online consultations as well as USA Admissions courses for students in Years 10, 11 & 12. Contact Sarah on +44 (0)207 3856795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Sarah and I am a Harvard graduate originally from New York City and now based in London. I work with students on a variety of subjects including American university admissions consulting. At university, I concentrated in Classics (Latin and Greek Language and Literature) with a secondary field in Dramatic Arts, and I am a strong proponent of the liberal arts style of education most commonly offered at American colleges and universities.
But first, what do I mean by a “liberal arts” education? At American colleges (the undergraduate part of a university), students typically study a variety of subjects over the course of four years, rather than study one subject for three years as they would at a university in the UK. Moreover, American undergraduates generally do not apply to a specific course of study. Rather, they are admitted to the college under the faculty of arts and sciences and choose their major once there, usually sometime during their second year. The aim of a liberal arts education, according to Harvard College’s mission, is to “offer a broad intellectual foundation for the tools to think critically, reason analytically, and write clearly.” In other words, students graduate knowing a lot about one thing (their major) and a little about a lot of things (distribution requirements and electives).
So how does a liberal arts education work in practice? In general, students take around 32 classes over the course of 4 years (4 classes per semester), roughly half of which will be in their major, a quarter in distribution requirements, and a quarter in electives. Distribution requirements vary by college, and some colleges, such as Brown, do not have any, but typically they include classes on writing, literature, art, history, natural sciences, social sciences, quantitative reasoning, and moral reasoning. Some colleges also require proficiency in a foreign language.
I loved my liberal arts education. I enjoyed being able to spend half of my time on Latin and Greek and the other half of the time learning about all sorts of other subjects. I had the opportunity to take such classes as a History of Science class about the mind-body connection in modern medicine, a Music class about the premiere performances of five major works, a Comparative Religion class about the significance of the sea in religion, and even one class about the Holy Grail. More practical courses included Calculus, Marine Biology, and an introduction to Linguistics, among others.
Upon graduation, I found that my liberal arts education prepared me well for the “real world” and that I was not limited in my choice of career. Indeed, I have many friends who majored in humanities or social sciences, who went on to medical school and are now doctors. They were able to satisfy their pre-med requirements through elective courses, while continuing to major in their chosen field. Others, from a similar variety of majors, chose to pursue business or law school.
From my perspective, having grown up and been educated in the American system and now living in the UK, I find that the UK university system is ideal for those students who have a specific career path in mind or who are passionate about one specific subject. For those who have a variety of interests and may not want to commit themselves to one subject for the next three years, an American college is the place for them.
- BA Classics, Harvard University, graduating 2008
- Secondary field in Dramatic
- MA Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, London
- Lived in New York until May 2019 then moved to London
- 3 years as expert level tutor at Tutors Associates in New York
- Interests: Dance, Theatre, Reading, Travel, Swimming, Skiing, Yoga
Parent & Student Testimonials
“Sarah has been a real help to my daughter in preparing her for her SAT exams and preparing her college application on the common app platform. My daughter is currently schooling in the UK and Sarah was able to help her navigate the common app process and tailor her application to showcase her unique situation as an American schooling abroad. She was extremely thorough in researching the different colleges my daughter could apply to that would fit her academic and extracurricular needs. She was consistent in providing us with reports on our daughter’s progress with her SAT preparation and was always making suggestions on how she could improve. Sarah has in a short amount of time been instrumental in our daughter’s improved work ethic overall.”
Student preparing for SAT exams to US colleges
“Sarah is an incredible teacher! She is extremely patient, smart, and is able to simplify the problems so they become more manageable. I worked with her for a few months in preparation for the GRE. She is very knowledgeable and hardworking. She went above and beyond and fully supported me to be successful in my studies and most importantly motivated me and did not allow me to give up on myself. I felt lucky to have found a tutor who was able to explain the problems and help me develop key strategies to excel in my studies. I highly recommend Sarah.”
GRE Verbal Student