For Elliot Miller, the conventional path to academic success in Britain just was not a good fit.
Although an excellent student, Mr. Miller, a senior at Coventry Blue Coat School in the West Midlands, resisted the imperative of choosing a single subject to study, as is customary at British universities. “I want to do economics,” he said. “But I also really want to study French and Chinese.”
Coming from a state school, he also knew that the admissions process at Oxford or Cambridge — which take nearly half their new students from private schools, in a country where 93 percent of students attend state schools — was not skewed in his favor.
Instead, Mr. Miller decided to apply to Middlebury College, a liberal arts school in Vermont renowned for its language programs, and to a handful of other U.S. schools. “I don’t really have any intention of going to a British university,” he said.