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Are American Universities the same as European Universities?

“Are colleges in America the same as universities in Europe” is a question we often get asked by our athletes. The answer is that they differ in a number of ways, and which one is better purely depends on the student athlete and what they’re looking for from higher education.


America has the largest number of ‘best’ universities of any country. According to the Times Higher Education rankings the USA has 37 of the top 100 universities in the world. In comparison Europe has just 33.

The American college system is considered to be more inclusive. There is a college for everyone no matter their level of academics (within reason). The American college system is more for providing education for anyone who wants it and has the means to accommodate this by offering scholarships. European universities are more about accepting the most elite students, leaving little room for those who are considering higher education but have slightly lower grades.

American colleges require their students to pass a wider range of subjects to complete their degree. This is to try and help create a more ‘well-rounded’ student ready for life in the outside world. These classes will include maths, English and social sciences. In Europe, the degree is focused just on the subject for example, a politics degree will focus purely on the subject matter.


For many sports, America is the only country where you can compete at a very high level in many sports whilst also working towards your degree. The athletic facilities in America are second to none and in many cases, the whole community around the University will get behind the athletic teams and support them fully. This makes game days feel like professional tournaments and creates an incredible atmosphere!

Your classes will be set up around your training schedule in America. Sport is a huge part of college life in the US and is recognised in the way that you’ll undertake your degree. In Europe, Universities may not be able to support you with your sport as well as this due to campus restrictions and limited facilities.

College life:

College campus is one of the main differences between universities in America and Europe. At most colleges in the US, there will be everything that a student needs available to them on campus, including accommodation, food, and huge sports facilities. Larger universities are even known to have their own bus services for students to make their way around the campus. During your first year, you’ll be required to stay on campus making it easy to navigate your classes and training schedule.

In Europe, you’re not required to stay on campus and many of the accommodation options are spread across the city in which the university is based. This can be great if you’re a student who is looking for more independence.


No matter where you choose to spend your years in higher education, there are plenty of options all over the world. If you feel that America is the right path for you and you have any more questions about how the college system works, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team today.

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