• Jennifer Tracewell

Spotlights: Scottish Studies, Google Doodles, and Medical Detectives!

COLLEGE: The University of Aberdeen


Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

Tuition: $24,000

Size: Medium (15,000 students)



Hogwarts-like castles, kilts, highlands, bagpipes, the loch ness monster...and college? Aye! Scotland has a lot to offer, including your higher education. Incredible quality at a great value. Because the Scottish university system is very similar to the American liberal arts colleges, in which students enroll for four years and, during the first two, can try out a broad array of subjects — many students who want an international experience are attracted to Scotland. Plus, everything is in English. With that Scottish brogue, but still.


Let's take a close look at The University of Aberdeen, located in Scotland's third-largest city. It's the most accessible of Scotland's four "ancient" universities, has a flexible curriculum and a lot of independent learning as well as collaboration. They accept 27% of applicants, so while it's competitive, it's going to be a more likely chance of admittance than many other UK universities. It's ranked in the top 20 colleges in the United Kingdom, and among the top 200 universities in the world.


You don't know old until you've seen this campus in Aberdeen. Founded in 1495, the University of Aberdeen has a medieval feel, with its cobblestone streets, buildings made of ancient stone, and famous castles in all directions. However, modern touches abound, including a brand new $47 million Science Teaching Hub, state of the art Aquatics Center, and Sports Village. Located in northeast Scotland, dramatic scenery abounds, such as the stunning cliffs overlooking the North Sea, and the famous Scottish Highlands.


Academics at Aberdeen offer something for everyone. Their strongest programs include engineering, health sciences, English literature, biology, religious studies, environmental science, international relations, and politics.


So, where do you start? Applying to an international university requires a lot more planning and logistics than college in the United States. Students apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Center (UCAS) that serves all of the UK and the United States and other internationals. It costs about $30 and you can apply for up to five universities using one application. Applications are usually due by January 15th. You’ll typically hear back by the end of March.


Once you've completed the college application, you have several more important steps as an international student! You need to obtain a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) in order to apply for a student visa. The admissions team will send your CAS letter when you have completed all of the steps listed in this helpful video.


Once you have a CAS, you're ready to apply for a student visa! Your ticket to international education and travel! There is still much research you need to do on the cost of living, housing, and more.


Most international students at the University of Aberdeen live in single rooms in Hillhead Student Village. It's a vibrant and active community. It's important to note that you don't receive financial aid as an international student. However, there is a website specifically for international students seeking scholarships. You can expect your average monthly room & board costs to be about $1,200.


Outside of academics, the University of Aberdeen offers a typical mix of clubs, activities, and athletics that you'd find at most universities. One difference from most US universities is in the area of sports. While in the United States it's common for thousands of students to gather and watch collegiate sports, for example, the PAC-12 football games, in Scotland, sports are player-focused and not so much spectator sports. You generally won't see throngs of people watching massive games, but you will see hundreds of participants at smaller sporting events. University of Aberdeen Sports Union has fifty-eight affiliated clubs. For example, football, rugby, and rowing are quite popular. The clubs have 99 teams who travel weekly around Scotland and Britain competing against other universities and clubs. The clubs are for social and competitive members with clubs competing in regional, Scottish Student Sport (SSS) or British Universities & College Sports (BUCS) leagues.


College in Scotland provides fantastic opportunities for students interested in studying abroad. Along with the first-class educational opportunities, there are endless occasions to learn outside the classroom, meet new people and learn about different cultures. The University of Aberdeen is one of the top destinations for studying abroad worldwide.




SCHOLARSHIP: Doodle for Google


Amount: $30,000 + $50,000 technology package for your school/non-profit organization

Deadline: April 26, 2021

Type: Doodle/Art



Google Doodles — we've all seen them, right? The Google logo incorporated into a doodle that changes each day, with different inspiration for each illustration. Sometimes they highlight a person or a holiday, sometimes they're simple and other times they're intricate or even interactive. You can check out the Google Doodle archives here.


Google is looking for their next doodle, and is awarding a $30K scholarship prize along the way. The prompt? Use your imagination to create a Google Doodle based on what inner strength means to you. Artists create their Doodles using any materials they want. From crayons to clay to found objects. Don't consider yourself an "artist"? No problem — that's only one component of the judging criteria!


Doodles will be judged on the following parameters:

  1. Artistic merit: Based on artistic skill

  2. Creativity: Representation of the contest theme, use of the letters in the Google logo, and the unique approach to the doodle

  3. Theme communication: How well the contest theme is expressed in both the artwork and the written statement

Click here to learn more and enter



CAREER: Medical Scientist


Median salary: $89,000

Education needed: Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate degree Job growth: 7% growth, faster than average



If you like medical mysteries and long to provide solutions for incurable diseases like Alzheimer's or create the next vaccine for a new virus, this is a great field for you.


Medical scientists design and carry out studies to investigate human diseases, and methods to prevent and treat them. As we're living in an unprecedented time of a global pandemic, solving medical mysteries and improving the overall health of the population is likely on the minds of many.


Medical scientists are kind of like detectives. They study the causes of diseases and other health problems. A medical scientist who does cancer research might put together a combination of drugs that could slow the cancer’s progress. They can test the drugs with a clinical trial, and work with doctors to test the new combination of drugs on patients who are willing to be in the study. Without medical scientists continually working on rearranging the puzzle pieces, no clear picture emerges, so these special healthcare workers are critical to our survival.


What do I study in college, you're wondering? It depends on how sold you are on wanting to do brain and nervous system research. A neuroscience major is best for people who are fairly certain of their interest in medical/brain/body research as it relates to human disease, especially those unsolved mysteries such as Alzheimer's. Neuroscience examines the relationship between the brain and behavior, and involves chemistry, physics, and psychology in addition to biology. A degree in biology would be broader and better for students who still aren't firm on which direction in the medical or research fields they want to pursue.


The University of Oregon is the first public institution in Oregon to offer a neuroscience degree. All required neuroscience coursework emphasizes research, and students will join the research lab affiliated with the U of O Institute of Neuroscience (ION). A degree in neuroscience will prepare students for health-related careers, such as medicine, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Graduates will also be positioned for science-related government, nonprofit, and health industry jobs. Neuroscience majors will also be competitive for graduate programs at research universities since this will be a likely next step.


OHSU in Portland is a great place to land for the next part of the journey, since most medical scientists need a graduate degree, either a Master's or Doctorate, beyond their undergraduate Bachelor's degree. The OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program is one of the most respected in the country, and students will find world-class research opportunities and career prospects through the OHSU program. This program is really strong in cellular neuroscience, neuronal signaling, gene regulation, and more. If that sounds like a foreign language, but you're intrigued, then consider taking a deep dive into this field!



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