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Exeter or Cambridge?

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    Hi there! I have an offer for bio natsci at trinity and just to confirm, I think you're crazy :lol: jk jk! Which college?

    Hmm...it's a tricky one. Obviously I think you should go to cambridge but the decision is yours and I don't think anyone here is going to be able to change your mind.

    What instrument do you play? I play the cello and I really want to join a few orchestras, trinity has it's own and I would like to be in one of the main university orchestras as well. Plus I wanted to take up a french at the language centre!! (we sound really similar lol) I started to do it for AS but I dropped out because I HATED our schools language assistant, damn you Philippe :grumble: And there are plenty of people that do extra curricular stuff so I'm sure you would be able to as well.

    And I'm not worrying about social life because loads of people I've heard say it's really good. It is a very important factor when choosing a uni though, that's why I chose manchester over imperial for my insurance.

    I'm quite different from you in the fact I really like he whole tradition side of things, like wearing gowns and what not. I think it's quite nice to be part of one of the oldest unis in the UK and do loads of quirky stuff like that.

    I suppose the thing which actually attracted me to natsci was the wide range of choices. And I'm sure you'll do just as much if not more ecology/zoology than at other unis. Cam doesn't get it's reputation for nothing. Obviously the workload will be difficult, on sort of a level we aren't able to imagine because we're only doing a levels but then again did you expect any less from one of the best unis in the world. Just remember they wouldn't have offered you a place if they didn't think you would be able to cope with it. And you don't need to be told that you will probably not have to much difficulty in finding a job with a degree from cam.

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    I'd go for Exeter! Sounds like the place for you
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    (Original post by thalliday93)
    Before I start I'd just like to say that I'm not making this thread to brag about getting a Cambridge offer and considering turning it down, I just want some advice/another perspective on the situation.

    In AS I got good grades and so I was encouraged to apply for Cambridge just to see what happened, my parents were also keen as my dad and granddad both went to Cambridge as well. I didn't particularly want to go but applied anyway because I thought I probably wouldn't get an offer.

    Now I'm faced with a dilemma as I've received offers from Cambridge (Natural Sciences Biological) and Exeter (Biological Sciences) and I don't know what to do.

    At the open day I fell in love with Exeter University and the city, the course is ideal for me as it leans slightly more towards the ecological/zoological side than most universities, the course allows for a choice of lots of different options in the second/third year so I could tailor the degree more specifically to my interests and also I could take a module in French which I would love to do. Another couple of bonuses of Exeter is that they've offered me a scholarship and it is much much closer to home than Cambridge.

    But then I feel like I'm crazy to want to turn down Cambridge but the simple fact is I don't want to go there. I didn't like the atmosphere and I completely detest the ceremonies and traditions. Not to mention the workload is insane and I think I would find it hard to keep up playing an instrument and having a social life as well. I don't actually like the idea of a Natural Sciences course either, I find the options too broad and I wouldn't be able to tailor the degree as much as I would at Exeter. Cambridge is a long way from home and I just didn't feel 'right' there. Also I don't like the idea of eating in hall every night, I want to be able to cook for myself (Although that's a much more minor consideration)

    Overall the only reasons I would choose cambridge would be because 'It's Cambridge!' i.e. the reputation and because the buildings are pretty. Is it worth sacrificing my happiness for three years for that reputation? I feel sick with jealousy of people I know at exeter/who are going and I don't know why I should feel like that because I CAN go, but I'm finding it impossible to reject the Cambridge offer.

    Any advice is appreciated, apologies for the random stream of consciousness.
    first off, remember that at the end of the day you can do whatever you want to do, it's your choice and yours only.

    but what I'm about to say is just to help you consider the other side of the argument, as I don't think some of the disadvantages of studying at cambridge you mentioned are always true. I don't claim to know everything, but my sister is studying natural sciences at cam at the moment, so I may be able to offer a bit of insight.

    which college have you applied to? not every college has formal halls or only catered accomodation, and many of the ceremonies are there to participate in only if you wish to. In terms of the degree, I think the natural sciences course is a lot, lot broader and open to your own choice of programmes than you are giving it credit for! If you never want to study chemistry or physics as part of your course, you don't have to. In your second year you can specialise a lot more (my sister is taking modules in zoology, physiology and experimental psychology, to give you an idea), however she could also have taken a language, history and philosophy of science or a multitude of chem/physics modules if she wanted to.

    You can effectively make the course whatever you want. This is going to sound a little strange but... both my parents also studies natural sciences at cambridge. My mum focused on human biology, took a masters at the royal colege of nutrition and now runs a nutrition business. My dad focused on chemistry and maths and became a managing consultant in finance. It's one of the most versatile degrees there is, and yet you have the most flexibility to focus on exactly what you want!

    I hope this answers a few of your questions, but really I would advise either going to an offer holders open day or emailing the college/department with some of your concerns.

    I realise it sounds like I am either brainwashed or a sales rep for natsci at cambridge, but I just happen to know these things due to family experience. I myself am going for History (not at cambridge), so I know what it's like to break the mould a bit!

    good luck with whatever you decide to do
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    whilst exeter is undoubtedly an outstanding university i would definitely go for cambridge ... its world renowned reputation would swing it for me ... if you ever wanted to work abroad i think itd probably stand you in higher stead but at the end of the day if you prefer exeter go there you dont want to spend 30k and waste 3 years on somewhere you dont entirely want to go to
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    (Original post by withoutwax1111)
    I think university is not just about enjoying the three years but what it sets you up for. A degree from cambridge is definitely going to open up more doors for you and may be even get you better pay. I'd say visit cambridge and exeter again and maybe ask to shadow current students and talk to the professors to get a better feel of the places. Don't make the decision rashly based on emotions, but dont let anyone force you to go to cambridge if you are really sure it is not for you.
    That looks like really good advice!
    I would just say it has to be what will make YOU happiest & it has to be your choice...
    ...Because you will be the one lying in bed, unable to sleep, with the thoughts spinning round your head, wondering and wishing.
    And in the end, they're both great unis, great cities. If you love the degree then Boom! A great time coming right up
    Enjoy ^^ it's a good choice to have to make!
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    All the people who are saying "go to Exeter" are CRAZY.
    Cambridge will be 3 years MAX, and it won't be as bad as it seems! You're bound to find like-minded people there (especially at King's) - go for it! Think about the LIFE you could have after Cambridge! Think about how fast the past 3 years of your life have been! C'mon! :zomg:
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    Go to Cambridge (assuming you get the grades) and see how it goes. If you really can't bear it, try get a transfer or just apply to Exeter the next UCAS cycle.

    You have plenty of time, and you might have second thoughts about Cambridge if you jump into Exeter. After all, there's no guarantee you could get another Cambridge offer if you applied again whereas applying to Exeter again you'd be way more likely to get another offer.
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    I spent my entire childhood growing up in Cambridge so I'm familiar with the town to say the least. I've visited Exeter once and I've fallen in love. Obviously, Cambridge is Cambridge and unless you're Oxford, not much is going to rival that. However, I would still chose Exeter over Cambs any day of the week.
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    Sounds like you've made your mind up...
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    I understand that natural sciences is very flexible but I know that I want to do biology so I'm not particularly worried about that. What bothers me is that at Cambridge you choose 3 options from a list of very broad sounding modules, whereas at Exeter (and at most other universities) I think it's 6 or 7 options from a list of more specific modules which would allow me to study specifically what I find most interesting. Plus Exeter has an awesome sounding coral reef field course in second year

    Thanks to everyone for the advice, does anyone know just how much of an advantage a Cambridge degree would be in comparison to one from a good university like Exeter? I'm fairly sure I don't want an academic career and I do think I'd be more likely to get good honours in a place where I'm happy.
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    You might find that whereas at other unis like exter you choose between 6 or 7 different modules and this obviously seems more than Cambridge, but one module in Cambridge probably covers like 2 or 3 different modules in other unis. Surely you don't think people at Exeter learn more than people at Cambridge.

    Here's a link to the lecture listing of each module which might help

    http://timetables.caret.cam.ac.uk/li...1&year=2011/12
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    (Original post by gearoid94)
    You might find that whereas at other unis like exter you choose between 6 or 7 different modules and this obviously seems more than Cambridge, but one module in Cambridge probably covers like 2 or 3 different modules in other unis. Surely you don't think people at Exeter learn more than people at Cambridge.

    Here's a link to the lecture listing of each module which might help

    http://timetables.caret.cam.ac.uk/li...1&year=2011/12
    Lol no of course I don't think you learn more at Exeter but having more specific modules does mean that I could choose more specifically what I want to learn about, whereas with broader modules I would have to learn things that are less interesting to me. Then again it's probably all quite interesting at Cambridge.. I think I'm just trying to find reasons for going to Exeter because in my heart I know it's where I want to be.

    Thanks for the link btw, hadn't seen that yet.
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    I am from Cambridge, have visited Exeter (very nice, but Cambridge is nicer), It's Cambridge all day long, better career prospects, renowned course, better uni by a long distance.

    3 years, and what you will get from it will be worth more in the next 45 years of employment.

    I'd only consider rejecting Cambridge for somewhere like Imperial/UCL/St Andrews/Warwick etc, but for Exeter, no.
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    I think the key consideration here should be that a decision made for Exeter is likely irreversible, while a decision made for Cambridge is not.

    I mean, if you choose Exeter and have a change of heart, you won't then be able to go to Cambridge. However, if you choose Cambridge and think after a year that you'd still prefer to be at Exeter, that switch is much more likely to be doable.

    If I were you, I'd give Cambridge a chance to surprise me, and transfer out if it didn't. You could always go to Exeter for postgrad, and Cambridge->Exeter is here again more straightforwardly done than Exeter->Cambridge.
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    Hey even if it isnt Oxbridge, Exeter is a top 10 uni and is regarded as one of the best uni's in the country with Bath, Warwick, Durham etc. etc.

    My mum works in HR and she says's a Uni's reputation plays no part at all in job selection, she looks at experience first, then the quality of the degree, then at additional courses/volunteering to enhance your current skill set. So unless you were doing Law, or accounting, going to Cambridge really wont put you forward in terms of getting a job, especially if your going to Exeter.
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    I think the key consideration here should be that a decision made for Exeter is likely irreversible, while a decision made for Cambridge is not.

    I mean, if you choose Exeter and have a change of heart, you won't then be able to go to Cambridge. However, if you choose Cambridge and think after a year that you'd still prefer to be at Exeter, that switch is much more likely to be doable.

    If I were you, I'd give Cambridge a chance to surprise me, and transfer out if it didn't. You could always go to Exeter for postgrad, and Cambridge->Exeter is here again more straightforwardly done than Exeter->Cambridge.
    Didn't think of this.

    OP you should definitely take cambio wechsel's advice on board. I don't think it'd be very hard to transfer to Exeter from Cambridge (though check their policy). But if you turn down Cambridge it's likely that you might not get that chance ever again.
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    (Original post by dothestrand)
    'The simple fact is I don't want to go there.' - what else needs to be said?
    Could not agree more
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    Follow your will. Life is too short to make unnecessary, wrong decision that may make you regret later on. You should be mature enough to choose your own pathway, not to be controlled by people around.
    Exeter or Cambridge? Definitely your own choice
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    (Original post by thalliday93)
    I understand that natural sciences is very flexible but I know that I want to do biology so I'm not particularly worried about that. What bothers me is that at Cambridge you choose 3 options from a list of very broad sounding modules, whereas at Exeter (and at most other universities) I think it's 6 or 7 options from a list of more specific modules which would allow me to study specifically what I find most interesting. Plus Exeter has an awesome sounding coral reef field course in second year

    Thanks to everyone for the advice, does anyone know just how much of an advantage a Cambridge degree would be in comparison to one from a good university like Exeter? I'm fairly sure I don't want an academic career and I do think I'd be more likely to get good honours in a place where I'm happy.



    Hard decision but the coral reef thing swings it for me... Exeter.

    You can always apply for post grad at Cambridge if you really want it on your CV. As for advantage... mmmm, they say it confers a great advantage and top employers do recruit at Oxbridge... however you'd need to check specifically because the sweeping, general stats don't always tell the whole story. Exeter might have tie ups with organisations you are specifically interested in..... or their course may be famous for some reason. ie. if I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist I would choose Bournemouth over Oxbridge because of their rep. in this area and the fact they have famous tutors. Or perhaps the Oxbridge stats are distorted because of the social profile of its graduates. So Oxbridge recruit people from backgrounds with connections and money who are invariably going to have an immediate 'leg up' afterwards and this affects Oxbridge's apparent success in employment rates and creates a nice, self-perpetuating myth that the same magical employability will be conferred on everyone attending. (though I hope I'm wrong and everyone without connections and money who go to Oxbridge do have great opportunties afterwards!)

    Secondly Exeter has a good internship scheme you could look into for later, the university is ploughing money into new developments etc and is zooming up the tables pretty smartly. So a place with lots of energy and forward looking. Friendly and relaxed.

    Third: I know people who have graduated from all over the country. Oxbridge is not a GUARANTEE of success and neither are the rest necessarily a disadvantage in the long run. My friends from Oxbridge range from the very succesful to the definitely not and likewise with other universities. So some friends from Oxbridge have been less succesful than those from other uni's have been.

    Last: happiness is key. Follow your instinct. I once obtained a very sought after job with a well known organisation. Everyone was over the moon for me and very impressed, As the day drew near for starting I just knew it was all wrong. However, like you with Cambridge such a feeling seemed silly as everyone agreed this was such an opportunity etc. I went to the job and spent two very, very unhappy years before I finally left. I should have just trusted my intuition in the first place! I think learning to say, 'this feels right for me and that doesn't' is a great skill in life.
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    You can transfer from Cambridge to Exeter. You can't go the other way around. Give the world's top uni a chance.

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