While a few UK universities are now accepting the Common Application, most of them are not. Universities including Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics you can only apply to via the UK application system known as UCAS. Through UCAS, American students can apply to around 400 UK colleges and universities.
Setting up a UCAS application is pretty simple and not too different from a Common Application account. US students will be familiar with many of the elements required. An essay, recommendation, test scores, and some additional elements, depending on the area of study.
The most common mistake American students make in applying to UK universities is that they do not meet the institution’s entry requirements. Which are clearly stated somewhere on each institution’s website. For example, the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is very clear that US students need:
“3 APs all at 4 or above in Chemistry, Biology and either Maths/Physics would be required. If Physics has not been studied as part of the AP examinations, candidates must also provide evidence of a qualification at a minimum of SQA Standard Grade 2 or GCSE Grade B or equivalent in this subject. All applicants to Veterinary Medicine will be expected to have relevant practical experience of handling animals. “
A US applicant who does not have this combination of AP classes, either completed or in progress (with expected scores of 4), should look for other options, as the University of Edinburgh would not be likely to offer admission.