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Oxford vs. free education.

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    (Original post by LeeC)
    You should learn to read properly in the first place, my statement was fine, you just didn't get the nuance. However, what I said in the last post should read:

    It says something being bad is NOT a reason that it can be improved upon.

    I've asked twice for you to show me one of these models, I guess you won't because you can't.
    You're right I can't...do you understand the meaning of the term "proprietary"? Go look it up. I've already said twice I don't what to engage in thread drift, so unless you take this conversation to another forum, don't expect another response.
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    (Original post by TBD)
    To disagree is your perogative. Remember the OP will be a foreigner in either of the two university towns.

    Please don't try and tell me that the hugely-expensive Oxford experience is likely to be a frugal one when compared with a German university that has similar subsidised student perks.

    Regarding the price of beer, I refer you to my previous post (clarification).

    TBD
    The point I am trying to make is that if you can afford it, Oxford is something special, a unique academic experience that can only be rivaled by Cambridge and perhaps some of the very top American schools, all of which are at least as expensive as Oxford. In continental Europe the fees are low, but as a result universities are underfunded and cannot provide a student experience that measures up to the rich universities.

    Also, the academic culture is very different with so many students commuting and having their own lives outside of school. The teaching is also very different. Most lecturers won't really go out of their way to make sure you understand the material. Things such as office hours are not really common and you have to insist if you want individual attention. As admissions are typically uncompetitive, the real selection takes place at exam time with sometimes half of the class failing to pass. The exams are to some extent geared towards making you fail, or at least that was my experience as an exchange student.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    As admissions are typically uncompetitive, the real selection takes place at exam time with sometimes half of the class failing to pass.
    Well, I don't know how things are in other German uni's, but in case of Freiburg they had 26 000 applicants for 4000 spots in 2010-2011, making it more competitive than Oxford (15.38% admission rate at Freiburg vs. 18.37% undergraduate admission rate at Oxford, where number of applicants in December 2010 was 17,343 while number of acceptances was 3,186):

    http://www.suedkurier.de/region/nach...372515,4536974

    Oxford:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/about_the_univer...ics/index.html


    The truth is that free education attracts MORE people, not less, and the number of spots is LESS, because they are restricted by available funding.

    In terms of these particular graduate programs:
    Oxford MPhil Russian and East European studies admission rate is around 50%, while I could not find any statistics for Freiburg. I suspect it is lower than that, though, since they have a lot of applicants from Third world countries who are unable to pay tuition fees.
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    Freiburg is my recommendation
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    (Original post by sj27)
    You're right I can't...do you understand the meaning of the term "proprietary"? Go look it up. I've already said twice I don't what to engage in thread drift, so unless you take this conversation to another forum, don't expect another response.
    You said half of them are proprietary so I'm assuming the other half aren't. Either that or they don't exist and you know it. You have communication problems.
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    In my opinion, considering your goals, the obvious answer is Freiburg and it's not even close. Ask yourself if you would still choose the Russian/EE studies degree if it wasn't in Oxford/Cambridge. If the answer is no, than choosing Oxford is retarded. You will pay a TON of money for a useless degree. If you want to learn stuff about Russia/EE all you need is a $10 library card, not a $100,000 degree.
    Reasons to choose Freiburg:
    1) It will be significantly cheaper.
    2) Econ is more employable than history/sociology/politics if you change your mind about getting a PhD.
    3) Econ is much more useful if you want to do a PhD in any even semi-quantitative subject (learning econometrics/stats/etc)
    4) You'll have a much broad choice of subjects to do a PhD
    5) AFAIK the PhD job market for subjects like history/politics/sociology is terrible, there are tons of people with PhDs in these subjects, who are unemployed or in retail/bartenders/etc.
    6) Seriously, learn something useful. You can do tons of things with a Masters in Economics, not so much with Russian/Eastern European studies.
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    The experience for most people is different for postgraduate study as they are usually adults capable of developing their own network. It is less about having jolly japes in a shared house with chums and more about opportunity cost and what am I getting for this commitment.

    At Masters level study you should not expect to be spoon-fed the material in any case and "office hours" are something alien to me. If you are paying for a course, then you are a customer, and should expect a certain standard of service and support from your lecturer. This has never been a problem for me either at Oxford or following discussion with many ex-students of German universities with whom I am in regular contact.

    TBD

    (Original post by Ghost6)
    Also, the academic culture is very different with so many students commuting and having their own lives outside of school. The teaching is also very different. Most lecturers won't really go out of their way to make sure you understand the material. Things such as office hours are not really common and you have to insist if you want individual attention. As admissions are typically uncompetitive, the real selection takes place at exam time with sometimes half of the class failing to pass. The exams are to some extent geared towards making you fail, or at least that was my experience as an exchange student.
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    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    Well, I don't know how things are in other German uni's, but in case of Freiburg they had 26 000 applicants for 4000 spots in 2010-2011, making it more competitive than Oxford (15.38% admission rate at Freiburg vs. 18.37% undergraduate admission rate at Oxford, where number of applicants in December 2010 was 17,343 while number of acceptances was 3,186):

    http://www.suedkurier.de/region/nach...372515,4536974

    Oxford:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/about_the_univer...ics/index.html


    The truth is that free education attracts MORE people, not less, and the number of spots is LESS, because they are restricted by available funding.
    Yes, but there is much more self-selection at Oxford with only the cream of the very best students of the world applying. Also, there is an application fee for Oxford whereas most universities in Europe have a free application process. Plus you are right, free education attracts a lot of people, including many, many poorly qualified students. The admission rate may seem low but there is no real competition and anyone admitted to Oxford will get into German universities as well; you are proof of this. As I said, the real selection takes place at exam time whereas any student good enough to gain admission into Oxford is pretty much guaranteed to pass. But of course, doing well is another story.

    All that being said, I wouldn't recommend the Oxford degree in this case, given that it is a "soft" degree with uncertain job prospects and that it will cost you close to $100,000. But I wouldn't recommend the Freiburg degree either to be honest. Maybe you would be better off working for a year and reapplying next year to more schools, in order to have more options to choose from.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    Yes, but there is much more self-selection at Oxford with only the cream of the very best students of the world applying. Also, there is an application fee for Oxford whereas most universities in Europe have a free application process. Plus you are right, free education attracts a lot of people, including many, many poorly qualified students. The admission rate may seem low but there is no real competition and anyone admitted to Oxford will get into German universities as well; you are proof of this. As I said, the real selection takes place at exam time whereas any student good enough to gain admission into Oxford is pretty much guaranteed to pass. But of course, doing well is another story.
    It is true that Oxford has huge self selection. Many of the people I spoke with at my Uni were honestly surprised I even bothered applying there, and shocked when I was accepted

    However, failure rates are also well known, I can not say that many people fail Freiburg. The thing is, you can re-take the tests and take more time to graduate; I have read that some students take 3 or more years to complete the program. So, failing the test is not the end of the world there, either.

    All that being said, I wouldn't recommend the Oxford degree in this case, given that it is a "soft" degree with uncertain job prospects and that it will cost you close to $100,000. But I wouldn't recommend the Freiburg degree either to be honest. Maybe you would be better off working for a year and reapplying next year to more schools, in order to have more options to choose from.
    I have more options. I was accepted into Edinburgh for Economics, LSE for Economic History, Trinity College Dublin for Economics and I still have Cambridge Real Estate Finance and Bonn Economics applications pending.

    As of right now I narrowed it down to these two (Oxford and Freiburg), and I definitely will go to either one of them or, should Cambridge and/or Bonn come into play, re-evaluate the situation accordingly.
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    firstly, congrats into getting into oxford, its no easy task. however, that said, it is a MPhil Russian and East European Studies. No offense to these majors, but u should think properly what line are u planning to get into in the future. All i can say is, in countries like mine, unless if you are part of an upper class privileged society, MPhil Russian and East European Studies isn't going to get u jobs.
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    (Original post by julianlee)
    firstly, congrats into getting into oxford, its no easy task. however, that said, it is a MPhil Russian and East European Studies. No offense to these majors, but u should think properly what line are u planning to get into in the future. All i can say is, in countries like mine, unless if you are part of an upper class privileged society, MPhil Russian and East European Studies isn't going to get u jobs.
    It is true, however, like I said, my goal is not to get a job. I hold a bachelors degree in Economics with High Honors (Magna Cum Laude) here in the US and I am a US citizen, if I wanted a job - I can get a job. I want to get into Academia and get a PhD. Granted, MPhil is not a guaranteed road into PhD, but neither is Masters in Economics.

    In addition, MPhil Russian and East European Studies is not a completely random choice "it's easy, so I go there" for me. I am Native Russian, I speak perfect Russian, I have a great interest in Russian history, politics and economics. The program covers all these aspects. I wrote some of my best undergrad papers on Russian history and Economy, and they are the ones that got me into Oxford to begin with.

    The real question for me is - does the Oxford name cost $90 000? It is a lot of money.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    I disagree. Oxford students get to live in colleges which are generally very well located and which provide tons of perks to students. In Europe most students commute and don't really enjoy a student experience that is comparable to that of the collegiate and campus universities. It will definitely be harder to feel part of a community as a foreign student in this environment as most other local students will already have their own friends. And €2.8 for beer ain't cheap by any means, its really expensive actually, that is the price of a meal at an Oxbridge college.
    1) Some people prefer the student life at Oxford, others in Germany/elsewhere. You can't generalize that and forget that also only focusing on the UK a lot of people e.g. prefer going to London and "don't even" apply to Oxbridge. And Freiburg isn't big enough, so that you will have to commute over long distances, probably he would just have a bike, because it is sufficient to go from the university to the university sport. It comes also down to your own preferences and to the people you will meet. (Btw not all the colleges/accomodations are so close to the department, that you don't have to "commute" in the same way, as in towns like Freiburg.)

    2) On thing is pretty clear: Oxford will loose in nearly every competition with German universities(one even has its own brewery) considering the beer. (And not everyone wants to drink the cheapest beer, he can get.) More usual woul be between 1,50€ and 6€ (1,50€ half a litre of "Helles" at student parties to 6€ for 1 litre at a "Volksfest", with Weißbier, Starkbier, Pils etc. in the middle) ... Not that I would place my decision on beer prices, that is of course ridiculous, but not uncommon. The cheapest meal is 1€ to 4€ for being satisfied at the student cantines usually, supermarkets are definitely cheaper than in the UK.

    3) Oxford is a European University.

    4) I know, it largely depends from department to department, but e.g. I never had problems with office hours (wether regular or not) and even found me one time in a 2:1 position considering questions about exams. (I mean two from the teaching stuff and one student.) You will find all, like you find all varietians in the UK, or any other country.

    5) To the TS: As German universities aren't that expensive and you have two years for your Master, which allows you to settle down, maybe you could find a possibility to get into courses in other departments, work as a student research assistant(not allways easy, but worth) to get a little bit out of the "strict economics" route.
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    I can't believe you are German if you question the wisdom in making selections based on beer? It is a far better crieria than many I have seen being given credit on this forum...

    TBD

    (Original post by Nathanielle)
    2) On thing is pretty clear: Oxford will loose in nearly every competition with German universities(one even has its own brewery) considering the beer. (And not everyone wants to drink the cheapest beer, he can get.) More usual woul be between 1,50€ and 6€ (1,50€ half a litre of "Helles" at student parties to 6€ for 1 litre at a "Volksfest", with Weißbier, Starkbier, Pils etc. in the middle) ... Not that I would place my decision on beer prices, that is of course ridiculous, but not uncommon. The cheapest meal is 1€ to 4€ for being satisfied at the student cantines usually, supermarkets are definitely cheaper than in the UK.
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    (Original post by TBD)
    Whereas a Phd in Mickey Mouse - if providing suitable actions - could be worth $90m. Can you really call it ? I think the chances of you accurately assessing the value of an Oxford MPhil are about the same as Orly passing an MBA. But of course mine is just an opinion...

    TBD
    If my degree in Mickey got me a share of the estimated $18+ billion brand value of that loveable Mouse, I'd probably do it. :P

    Anyway, Jan, you're a clever bloke and the cost benefit is fairly obvious here. The question is whether or not you believe oxford will yield $90k more over the course of your life time, both tangibly or intangibly. If you don't believe so, then take something else, you have plenty of options after-all. It may also be worth noting that Germany institutions have fantastic global reach, domestically educated German foreign nationals are the most academically mobile (believe it or not).
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    (Original post by Nathanielle)
    1) Some people prefer the student life at Oxford, others in Germany/elsewhere. You can't generalize that and forget that also only focusing on the UK a lot of people e.g. prefer going to London and "don't even" apply to Oxbridge. And Freiburg isn't big enough, so that you will have to commute over long distances, probably he would just have a bike, because it is sufficient to go from the university to the university sport. It comes also down to your own preferences and to the people you will meet. (Btw not all the colleges/accomodations are so close to the department, that you don't have to "commute" in the same way, as in towns like Freiburg.)

    2) On thing is pretty clear: Oxford will loose in nearly every competition with German universities(one even has its own brewery) considering the beer. (And not everyone wants to drink the cheapest beer, he can get.) More usual woul be between 1,50€ and 6€ (1,50€ half a litre of "Helles" at student parties to 6€ for 1 litre at a "Volksfest", with Weißbier, Starkbier, Pils etc. in the middle) ... Not that I would place my decision on beer prices, that is of course ridiculous, but not uncommon. The cheapest meal is 1€ to 4€ for being satisfied at the student cantines usually, supermarkets are definitely cheaper than in the UK.

    3) Oxford is a European University.

    4) I know, it largely depends from department to department, but e.g. I never had problems with office hours (wether regular or not) and even found me one time in a 2:1 position considering questions about exams. (I mean two from the teaching stuff and one student.) You will find all, like you find all varietians in the UK, or any other country.

    5) To the TS: As German universities aren't that expensive and you have two years for your Master, which allows you to settle down, maybe you could find a possibility to get into courses in other departments, work as a student research assistant(not allways easy, but worth) to get a little bit out of the "strict economics" route.
    I had a few Waldhaus Pilsner at the Kartoffelhaus in Freiburg in April, and it was really delicious... I'm from Mannheim btw.

    Back to topic, you are right that a one year master seems to be a bit rushed, but I'm always surprised at how late my friends in Germany start working. One of my friends does Jura, and he's still trying to pass the state exams... after 7 years studying.
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    (Original post by Frozenace)
    I had a few Waldhaus Pilsner at the Kartoffelhaus in Freiburg in April, and it was really delicious... I'm from Mannheim btw.

    Back to topic, you are right that a one year master seems to be a bit rushed, but I'm always surprised at how late my friends in Germany start working. One of my friends does Jura, and he's still trying to pass the state exams... after 7 years studying.
    Jura is a special case, as a achieving a third in German Law recommands a lot of hard work, and a lot of students begin too late to learn or have other reasons(work, moot courts, exam anxiety, exchange year, illness, second try), so that they finish their studies very late in the hope to pass the third barrier and thus to have "free choice/ a good shot" at the job market. (Just for the English reading the thread who are not familiar with the German Law state exam, which requires at least 3,5-4 years of studies and is covering nearly all the topics of these years. A third in Law means you are in between the best 20-25% of your Bundesland. But, yes, 7 years are maybe a bit too long.)

    Other reasons are:
    - because you can
    - extra curricualr activities
    - 13 years of school starting with 6/7 and compulsary military service since last year (now that changes, so they have now the same age beginning to study, as their English counterparts)
    - every student is rather "pushed/forced" to achieve on a high level than finishing within the ideal time

    => It is more a case to case question, depending on subject/university/student/financial circumstances. (The students going to Polytechnics studied faster than the University students, so not every job requires the same lenght of studies or even studies.)
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    (Original post by Ory)
    Economics or M Phil in EE studies - it doesn't much matter. GBP 90,000 is a lot of money to spend on something you can get at the public library for a buck fifty in late charges or on a Kindle.

    But you are an economics grad, MCL - so you should be able to work out whether it would be of value or not...

    Which demonstrates the futility of most of these degrees you mention...
    This sir does have a point, but the kind of learning that takes place at universities with the pressure to succeed makes people absorb the material to a much deeper extent than just reading a book on a kindle. And with all these Oxbridge grads making half a million quid a year in the City, the fees are not that expensive. Or at least they used to make this much...
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    TBH I am guessing you are already in debt from your undergrad degree, if not and you have that spare £90k to throw at Oxford then go for it!!

    If not, and you are already confident with Russian and Russian history then why waste £90k for a name and the same level of interest.

    You can always apply for a PHD at Oxford :-)
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    (Original post by fimblesocks)
    TBH I am guessing you are already in debt from your undergrad degree, if not and you have that spare £90k to throw at Oxford then go for it!!

    If not, and you are already confident with Russian and Russian history then why waste £90k for a name and the same level of interest.

    You can always apply for a PHD at Oxford :-)
    Two things to keep in mind:

    1) Student loans in the US can be paid based on income, if you make less than 20 000 dollars a year you do not pay anything and if you make more you only pay 15% of the balance, i.e. if you make 50 000 dollars a year you can pay 15% of 30 000 which is 4500 dollars a year, or about 400 a month, hardly a burden;
    - If you get a government job or a job for public university (as a professor) your remainder of the debt is FORGIVEN after 10 years, i.e. if you pay 4500 a year, as in this example, you can not pay more than 45 000 dollars total;
    - In any case you debt is forgiven after 25 years.

    2) You can not get into PhD program unless you did masters, whether you know Russian or not. Just knowing the language does not make you an expert. There are a lot of things they teach in Oxford - how to write well, how to express yourself, how to conduct research, how to use your knowledge wisely. Just knowing bunch of facts does not make you an expert, either.

    - MPhil cuts 2 years of PhD, after MPhil is done DPhil (PhD) can be done in 2 years. I.e. I will be doing PhD already.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    This sir does have a point, but the kind of learning that takes place at universities with the pressure to succeed makes people absorb the material to a much deeper extent than just reading a book on a kindle. And with all these Oxbridge grads making half a million quid a year in the City, the fees are not that expensive. Or at least they used to make this much...
    What percentage of Oxbridge EE study or econ grads make that much within the first 5 years, 10 years, ever?

    Not that many. Since '07, an even smaller number.

    By '17, when the new batch of 10,000 grads each month from Chennai can do twice the work for 1/10th the price, even fewer.
Updated: May 29, 2012
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