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Is Edinburgh University exceedingly competitive?

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    Hello everyone,

    I would be really grateful if someone could enlighten me about how competitive Edinburgh University is (I know that on their website they say that a typical offer is about AAA, but basically all the universities that I've looked at say that so it's difficult to judge which ones are more competitive than others). I want to study English Literature, so does anyone have any idea about how difficult it is to get in?

    I'm completely aware that it's not going to be easy to get in, as I am not an international student (in fact, I live in England ).

    Any replies would be great; thanks!
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    You can find the admission statistics for the University of Edinburgh from a year ago right here. They might give you an idea whether the course you want to apply to is competitive or not Although I'm guessing that English Lit is a rather popular one.
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    (Original post by adieu)
    Hello everyone,

    I would be really grateful if someone could enlighten me about how competitive Edinburgh University is (I know that on their website they say that a typical offer is about AAA, but basically all the universities that I've looked at say that so it's difficult to judge which ones are more competitive than others). I want to study English Literature, so does anyone have any idea about how difficult it is to get in?

    I'm completely aware that it's not going to be easy to get in, as I am not an international student (in fact, I live in England ).

    Any replies would be great; thanks!

    Having seen my daughter apply and her boyfriend also apply I can confirm it is difficult. It helps if you are Scottish and living there as the entry requirements are much lower. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to who they pick. My daughter was offered for maths AAA ( Predicted A*A*A) and her boyfriend - French rejected. He is predicted 3A* They are both state school pupils.

    I think you just have to put it as one of your high risks and cross your fingers.
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    I've had a conditional offer recently to study for an MSc at Edinburgh.

    I have terrible A-levels (C,D,E - and an additional C at 'AS' level), in irrelevant subjects, and I'm looking at a 2.1 for my BSc result from a quite average university. I don't think my academic history had a massive amount of influence on the university's decision as to whether I warranted an offer, I genuinely believe that it had more to do with my personal statement (I think this had a big part to play in my even getting onto my undergraduate degree, given my A-levels!)

    I guess the point is that you really need to sell yourself to them in relation to why you deserve a place there...what is it about the course (and university possibly) that makes you believe you would be a good candidate for them.

    I asked one of my tutors to take a look at my personal statement and they told me that it was good because it explained specifically what my interests are and why I want to study the MSc, whereas a lot of the applications that my current university have received have had a vibe about them suggestive of the candidate not really knowing what they wanted to do, but feeling they need to do 'something'.

    In the end, I suspect grades aren't always necessarily the absolute be all and end all of the process in many institutions (as suggested by squeaky squirrels experience)... Maybe it's all very different for Postgrad admissions and I'm talking nonsense...either way I wish you luck and hope you get the outcome you want the most!
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    (Original post by squeakysquirrel)
    Having seen my daughter apply and her boyfriend also apply I can confirm it is difficult. It helps if you are Scottish and living there as the entry requirements are much lower. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to who they pick. My daughter was offered for maths AAA ( Predicted A*A*A) and her boyfriend - French rejected. He is predicted 3A* They are both state school pupils.

    I think you just have to put it as one of your high risks and cross your fingers.
    Please don't believe all of the Daily Mail esque junk about Edinburgh admissions - getting an offer at Edinburgh has nothing to do with whether your Scottish or whether you go to an independent/private school. The entry requirements are not lower for Scottish students, why would they be? At the end of the day all of the students have still got to sit in the same classes when they get to university - what would be the point of accepting an average ability Scot and putting them in a class of higher ability students from the rest of the UK? It is in every university's interest to attract the highest performing students and Edinburgh is no different. It's hardly like an English university is going to go "well we'll accept everyone from England with BBB because they're English, but if you're from Wales we're definitely going to require AAA" - that would be stupid and it works the same way in Scotland too.

    The vast majority of people applying to Edinburgh have a string of A*s at A level and GCSE as standard. Having good predicted grades doesn't mean anything if EVERYONE has the same grades as you, it just means you're normal and puts you on the pile for consideration rather than on the auto reject pile. The thing which distinguishes these applicants is the personal statement and Edinburgh is one of the most competitive universities in the UK, and interestingly, one of the few that saw an increase in applications for 2012 entry. For whatever reason, it was deemed that your daughter's application was worthy of an offer whereas her boyfriend's application was not. It's as simple as that.

    I am very sorry that your daughter's boyfriend was rejected as that is always difficult, but it has nothing to do with where they are from or what qualifications they have studied. Please don't give space to rumours which simply aren't true as it isn't helpful to anyone.
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    Please don't believe all of the Daily Mail esque junk about Edinburgh admissions - getting an offer at Edinburgh has nothing to do with whether your Scottish or whether you go to an independent/private school. The entry requirements are not lower for Scottish students, why would they be? At the end of the day all of the students have still got to sit in the same classes when they get to university - what would be the point of accepting an average ability Scot and putting them in a class of higher ability students from the rest of the UK? It is in every university's interest to attract the highest performing students and Edinburgh is no different. It's hardly like an English university is going to go "well we'll accept everyone from England with BBB because they're English, but if you're from Wales we're definitely going to require AAA" - that would be stupid and it works the same way in Scotland too.

    The vast majority of people applying to Edinburgh have a string of A*s at A level and GCSE as standard. Having good predicted grades doesn't mean anything if EVERYONE has the same grades as you, it just means you're normal and puts you on the pile for consideration rather than on the auto reject pile. The thing which distinguishes these applicants is the personal statement and Edinburgh is one of the most competitive universities in the UK, and interestingly, one of the few that saw an increase in applications for 2012 entry. For whatever reason, it was deemed that your daughter's application was worthy of an offer whereas her boyfriend's application was not. It's as simple as that.

    I am very sorry that your daughter's boyfriend was rejected as that is always difficult, but it has nothing to do with where they are from or what qualifications they have studied. Please don't give space to rumours which simply aren't true as it isn't helpful to anyone.
    actually, Edinburgh's Scottish offers are generally in Higher grades, (as this is the standard) and are roughly equivalent to AS levels, although they may put a couple of Advanced Highers in the offer if you're studying them.

    The A level offers are in A2s, as this is again the standard that university offers are usually done by.

    The reason for this is that the Scottish university system is designed so that pupils go after their Highers and study for four years, as opposed to studying for A2s and going to university for three years. Advanced Highers were largely for specialisation (many scottish unis require an Advanced higher in the subject you're studying) or for if you wanted to study in England or internationally.
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    (Original post by seanfromtheblock)
    actually, Edinburgh's Scottish offers are generally in Higher grades, (as this is the standard) and are roughly equivalent to AS levels, although they may put a couple of Advanced Highers in the offer if you're studying them.

    The A level offers are in A2s, as this is again the standard that university offers are usually done by.

    The reason for this is that the Scottish university system is designed so that pupils go after their Highers and study for four years, as opposed to studying for A2s and going to university for three years. Advanced Highers were largely for specialisation (many scottish unis require an Advanced higher in the subject you're studying) or for if you wanted to study in England or internationally.
    I am aware of this...

    However, a student with Highers is expected to have achieved the highest possible grades in the same way that someone with A levels is expected to have achieved the highest possible grades. As I said, it isn't as though a student is given an offer of BBCC if they're Scottish but AAA if they've taken A levels which is what the implication was in the post. That is quite simply not true and repeating such untruths does nothing to support widening access or dispel the ridiculous rumours that people from the rest of the UK feel the need to make up to understand why they were rejected from a Scottish university. Yes, there is a difference in the qualifications used for admission, however, students are expected to have achieved the highest possible grades. A student offering predictions of AAA at A level should have achieved AAAA at AS level, meaning even if you compare the qualifications like for like, students are expected to have attained the same high grades.

    Arguably, it is Scottish students going to elsewhere in the UK who are penalised more than a student with A levels coming to Scotland. Many Scottish students simply can not apply to university in the rest of the UK as the universities don't really understand the Scottish system so require 3 As at AH as though as you have said it is not comparable with A levels. Many students can't even take 3 AHs because it isn't something that their school offers and even if they can, it will often involve travelling to other schools to be taught there. One of the few English universities which seems to understand the Scottish system is Oxford - they actually ask for lower grades at AH than a number of the other English universities even when the standard Oxford A level offer is higher than these other universities give out.

    The qualification you study or where you're from in the UK will not affect whether you get an offer from Edinburgh or any other Scottish university. End of discussion.
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    Yes the competition if fierce and a lot of emphasis goes towards grades and the ps. An average successful candidate has 470 UCAS points, roughly equivalent to grades AAAA at A level.

    Good luck (:


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    Please don't believe all of the Daily Mail esque junk about Edinburgh admissions - getting an offer at Edinburgh has nothing to do with whether your Scottish or whether you go to an independent/private school. The entry requirements are not lower for Scottish students, why would they be? At the end of the day all of the students have still got to sit in the same classes when they get to university - what would be the point of accepting an average ability Scot and putting them in a class of higher ability students from the rest of the UK? It is in every university's interest to attract the highest performing students and Edinburgh is no different. It's hardly like an English university is going to go "well we'll accept everyone from England with BBB because they're English, but if you're from Wales we're definitely going to require AAA" - that would be stupid and it works the same way in Scotland too.

    The vast majority of people applying to Edinburgh have a string of A*s at A level and GCSE as standard. Having good predicted grades doesn't mean anything if EVERYONE has the same grades as you, it just means you're normal and puts you on the pile for consideration rather than on the auto reject pile. The thing which distinguishes these applicants is the personal statement and Edinburgh is one of the most competitive universities in the UK, and interestingly, one of the few that saw an increase in applications for 2012 entry. For whatever reason, it was deemed that your daughter's application was worthy of an offer whereas her boyfriend's application was not. It's as simple as that.

    I am very sorry that your daughter's boyfriend was rejected as that is always difficult, but it has nothing to do with where they are from or what qualifications they have studied. Please don't give space to rumours which simply aren't true as it isn't helpful to anyone.


    I would like to hope that you are right - apart from the fact that my son has a friend doing physics at Edinburgh and she says that virtually all the Scottish students in her year had lower offers than her - they can't all be from tougher schools in poorer areas.

    And I am pretty sure this was covered in the press last year - no not the Daily Mail although I am sure it foamed at the mouth - I think it was the Times but I may be wrong
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    (Original post by squeakysquirrel)
    I would like to hope that you are right - apart from the fact that my son has a friend doing physics at Edinburgh and she says that virtually all the Scottish students in her year had lower offers than her - they can't all be from tougher schools in poorer areas.

    And I am pretty sure this was covered in the press last year - no not the Daily Mail although I am sure it foamed at the mouth - I think it was the Times but I may be wrong
    The press in general was pretty ludicrous about the Edinburgh story. These was (and may still be, I don't know) a slight weighting to local students, but only in absolute tiebreaker situations. This wasn't just Scotland, but included the North of England too. The papers decided this meant that Edinburgh was rejecting English students willy-nilly and threw a fit. They then went around schools, professing to be shocked that only 30% of pupils got an offer. In truth, Edinburgh is simply very competitive, and around 70% of applicants every year will not be made an offer.

    As for your son's friend - you can't compare Scottish and English offers, because the exams are completely different. It's not possible to say that a Higher is equivalent to 'X' at A level. Similarly, you can't compare offers to Scottish and English students and say one is lower or higher. Different systems, different offers.

    On a totally personal note, Edinburgh University has always been full of English students. If the University is actively trying to exclude them, they're doing a very bad job.
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    Until recently, the biggest supplier of undergraduates to the University of Edinburgh was Eton College, an English school. Hope this helps to show that they are fair.

    They do not favor Scots over the English. Scottish Advanced Highers are worth slightly more than A levels, hence Scots receive lower offers.

    Other universities such as Oxford also gives lower offers to Scots.


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by AviG123)
    Until recently, the biggest supplier of undergraduates to the University of Edinburgh was Eton College, an English school. Hope this helps to show that they are fair.

    They do not favor Scots over the English. Scottish Advanced Highers are worth slightly more than A levels, hence Scots receive lower offers.

    Other universities such as Oxford also gives lower offers to Scots.


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Er how can this be fair - "the biggest supplier of undergraduates to UofE was Eton" - how does this help the vast majority of the great unwashed who are not privileged to go to the top private school in the country and the 50% of applicants who are of the xx variety ( as opposed to the xy)
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    (Original post by squeakysquirrel)
    Er how can this be fair - "the biggest supplier of undergraduates to UofE was Eton" - how does this help the vast majority of the great unwashed who are not privileged to go to the top private school in the country and the 50% of applicants who are of the xx variety ( as opposed to the xy)
    The point being that Edinburgh is not biased against public schools, private schools or English pupils.
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    Actually, I do know that most universities are at least slightly biased towards public schools (by the way, public schools and private schools are the same thing, at least in England: state and grammar schools are schools which you don't pay fees for). It is arguable that this is justified (or not), but Edinburgh does state on its website that they take into consideration whether one's parents have been to university, whether they have special consideration or whether one has been to a public school or not.

    It is up for debate as to whether Scottish universities are prejudice against English students, however it can be seen that racism towards English people has become increasingly acceptable in Scotland as a whole, so it might be likely in some cases.
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    From what's been said at the university and in various threads on here, Edinburgh places a lot of emphasis on the personal statement and you have to have high predicted grades to be considered. The only way you can guarantee not getting in is if you don't apply so it's worth a shot! The university can't discriminate towards you just because of where you live and your background - I think there's a quota of something like 1/3 Scottish and EU, 1/3 International and 1/3 RUK?
    If your A2 predictions meet the entry requirements for your course (high demand subjects tend to require AAA predictions) and you submit a strong personal statement and reference then you have as good a chance as anyone of getting in
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    To add to some of the comments below about Scottish and English exam systems...

    I was at an admissions day the other day and they higlighted that an enormous proportion of people get 3 As at A-level (I believe over 30%) compared to a much smaller percentage who get straight As at Scottish higher (I believe it's usually about 5%). Therefore to cut the equivelent academic ability from the top of each population you must demand what appear to be higher A-level results.

    Also, almost all university applicants in Scotland do stay on to complete Advanced Highers which are equivelent to A-levels. I don't know about other subjects, but advanced higher maths has apparently got quite a bit more content than A-level.

    The Scottish education system is in fact vey good! That's why it has been the blue-print for countless other countries accross the world... I believe there are also proposals just now to make the English system more similar with uni-entrance exams being brought before UCAS applications an a reduction in 'course-work' to adopt a more exam-weighted assessment like there is in Scotland....

    Just my penny-worth!! :-)
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    I don't know, but I do know that Mr Kipling's make exceedingly good cakes.
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    What about postgraduate admissions?

    I only saw statistics about undergraduate courses but nothing related to postgraduate ones.

    Thanks in advance!
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    (Original post by glaesel)
    I was at an admissions day the other day and they higlighted that an enormous proportion of people get 3 As at A-level (I believe over 30%) compared to a much smaller percentage who get straight As at Scottish higher (I believe it's usually about 5%). Therefore to cut the equivelent academic ability from the top of each population you must demand what appear to be higher A-level results.

    Also, almost all university applicants in Scotland do stay on to complete Advanced Highers which are equivelent to A-levels. I don't know about other subjects, but advanced higher maths has apparently got quite a bit more content than A-level.

    Just my penny-worth!! :-)
    Very true what you say, out of around 140 people in my penultimate year, 4 achieved AAAAA Highers. It's worth mentioning that since on average English school students are somehow 1 year older than us scots when they leave school, this would mean achieving AAAAA at AS at 16 years old, for most people.

    And yes, advanced higher maths is ****ing impossible. Inhumane.

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