Tertiary education in Cayman began with the establishment of the International College of the Cayman Islands in 1970 (ICCI), followed by the Community College in 1976, and the Truman Bodden Law School in 1982.
In 2004, the Community College’s status changed to that of a University College (now called UCCI). The educational programmes now on offer have opened up opportunities in a wide variety of industries including finance, tourism, education, nursing, medical, veterinary, legal services, engineering and computer sciences. A few well-known institutions such as St. Matthews School of Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Truman Bodden Law School run internationally accredited degrees that are not only training our local population, but also those from the USA and the Caribbean region. Most local institutions offer courses that are far more affordable than going overseas to study, but scholarships are available through the Government and private companies which help qualifying students who need assistance with fees.
Year 12 students that went through the Cayman Islands education system, there are certain graduation requirements that must be obtained in order to to enter tertiary education or apply for a scholarship.
For students that have studied through the American or British education system, please continue reading.
Requirements for Entry to University for Students Who Went Through the American System
To graduate with an American high school diploma, students need to obtain at least 20 credits, split between English (4), Social Studies and a Foreign Language (6), Math (6), Arts/Drama/Music (1) and Physical Education (2). Credit requirements for graduation is different for every school, however, and will depend on how a school’s curriculum is structured. Having said this, all have standard requirements for core subjects such as English, Math, Science and Social Studies, and then elective credits for other classes.
Parents should familiarise themselves with the credit requirements of their child’s school, keeping in mind that some will require a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for graduation. The GPA is the grade (number/percentage) representing the average value of the accumulated final grades and ranges from 0.0 to 4.0. For example, 4.0 = A, 3.0 = B, 2.0 = C, 1.0 = D and 0.0 = F. Most universities in the United States will require a specific high school GPA before a high school graduate can even be considered for admittance, so it is very important for parents to be aware of what the requirements are for any college/university in which their child may be applying. Students should also be aware of this if hoping to secure a scholarship. For those in the US system, a 2.75 GPA is considered necessary for entry to a university course.
Standardised Tests – SAT/ACT/PSAT
For those unfamiliar with the SAT, this standardised test is intended to assess a high school student’s readiness for college/university. Tertiary institutions in the United States will often look at a student’s SAT score and high school GPA (or GCSE results) before they consider admitting them. The SAT measures Math, evidence-based reading and evidence-based writing skills and also includes an optional essay section. The SAT is scored on a 1600-point scale with Math and the reading/writing sections each awarded between 200-800 points. The score of the optional essay section is not included in the composite score.
There is also the ACT that measures a student’s aptitude in English, Math, critical reading, Science and writing. The ACT is scored on a 36-point scale and the four sections receive a score of 1 to 36. The composite score is the average of the four sections. Like the SAT, the ACT is a multiple-choice test. The PSAT is a preparatory version of the SAT. High school students may take the PSAT once per year and many students in American high schools take this test in 10th and 11th grade to prepare for the SAT.
Requirements for Entry to University for Students Who Went Through the British System
Students usually take between 8 and 11 GCSEs and they need to have passed Maths and English to get into a university. They will also need three A levels with grades A* to C to get into university (although some universities will take a D or an E pass mark). Students will often start doing four A Levels and then drop their weakest subject. Exam passes at A Level are graded A*, A, B, C, D and E. The A Level course runs for two years and usually starts when the student is 16 and is in Year 12. Most American universities consider the A Level course the equivalent of the first year of university and you will often be given credit to reflect that.
Universities & Colleges
There are a handful of colleges and universities on Grand Cayman as well as a selection of specialised universities