Top US universities welcome Cambridge learners

Learners who can think independently, analyse information, and engage in campus life are highly sought-after by US faculties, according to admissions staff at leading US universities.

We invited senior admissions staff from US universities to Cambridge recently to discuss recognition of Cambridge qualifications. The group – called the US Higher Education Advisory Council (HEAC) – meets twice a year and includes representatives from universities such as MIT, Duke, Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Yale, Florida State, Maryland, Columbia and Southern California. By working closely with universities, we help smooth the progression path for Cambridge learners.

We asked HEAC members what they look for in applicants for undergraduate courses. Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke University said: “One of the things we look for is a sense that when students have completed their secondary school studies, they don’t just have mastery of content, but are able to analyse, look at a text critically, make connections between subjects and among them, and write effectively. And one of the things we notice is that Cambridge students, obviously [students] who have done well, come with those skill sets and we value them – we value them greatly.”All the admissions staff we spoke to said that Cambridge qualifications are good preparation for university. Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions at MIT, said: “One of the things we find with students who have studied Cambridge International AS and A Levels is that they have a real depth of understanding of the subject matter that they have had classes in, and a real engagement with it. Those are some of the things that we find really help students succeed once they get to our campus.”
Cambridge programmes and qualifications help schools develop confident, responsible, innovative and engaged learners. These qualities are valued by universities.

US universities are a top study destination for Cambridge learners. Here are some key facts:
– 450 US universities recognise Cambridge International AS and A Levels
– 425 of those institutions award academic credit for Cambridge International AS and A Levels (US institutions generally require students to achieve a minimum number of credits to graduate)
– 49 of the top 50 US universities recognise Cambridge International AS and A Levels, including all Ivy League universities (rankings sourced from
A longer version of this article will appear in Cambridge Outlook magazine in September 2011.