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    I've had unconditional offers from all of these (did my A Levels last year!) and now I can't decide which to firm. I've visited them all and like all three, and even after making thousands of pro/con lists still can't choose!

    Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated
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    I thought Imperial would be the no.1 choice out of them.
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    UCL
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    Do you know what you want to do after graduation? Research, Banking, Law, Consulting etc?

    I would generally put them on the scale, that Imperial will give you the better degree, but a more limited social life.

    UCL will give you a respected degree (maybe not as good as Imperials for most careers) and a decent social life.

    Manchesters cheaper and will give you a degree that is still able to compete with Imperial and UCL on a level playing field except for the top corporate jobs (eg: banking); and you'll have a decent social life.

    It really depends on which university offers the experience that you want to have. If you have any questions about UCL, or why i chose UCL over Imperial, or how these unis line up against each other for graduate jobs and PHDs, then just quote me!
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    (Original post by orca92)
    Do you know what you want to do after graduation? Research, Banking, Law, Consulting etc?

    I would generally put them on the scale, that Imperial will give you the better degree, but a more limited social life.

    UCL will give you a respected degree (maybe not as good as Imperials for most careers) and a decent social life.

    Manchesters cheaper and will give you a degree that is still able to compete with Imperial and UCL on a level playing field except for the top corporate jobs (eg: banking); and you'll have a decent social life.

    It really depends on which university offers the experience that you want to have. If you have any questions about UCL, or why i chose UCL over Imperial, or how these unis line up against each other for graduate jobs and PHDs, then just quote me!
    I'm not sure quite what I want to do after uni yet, but I'm relatively sure it won't be research...maybe law/finance?

    The social side of UCL as well as being academically challenging is making me lean towards it...it seems to be a good sort of "middle ground" between hard work and enjoying yourself! Would you agree?

    Why did you choose UCL over imperial?

    Also are the lecturers any good? I've heard at some unis that they primarily want to do research and that their attitude is one of "teaching is an interruption to what we really want to do" type thing...is it like that at UCL?

    I need a real insight into UCL biological sciences life!! Thank you
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    I'm a final year Biology student at Manchester and can thoroughly recommend the course and institution. If you want any specifics, just ask.

    Whichever institution you decide upon, do so based on your gut feeling and desire to study there. Employment wise, you can rest assured that no institution (out of those three) will confer any advantage employment wise. I'm currently living with a chap who will be starting with Goldman Sachs later this year. I also know people who've secured TC's with top London law firms. Despite what you read, the institution is not the key to landing that dream job. Relevant work experience, good interview technique and strong grades for each year of study is what secures the job. Providing the institution you study at reaches a certain standard (Russell Group), then no employment doors will be closed to you.
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    (Original post by bcrock_92)
    I'm not sure quite what I want to do after uni yet, but I'm relatively sure it won't be research...maybe law/finance?

    The social side of UCL as well as being academically challenging is making me lean towards it...it seems to be a good sort of "middle ground" between hard work and enjoying yourself! Would you agree?

    Why did you choose UCL over imperial?

    Also are the lecturers any good? I've heard at some unis that they primarily want to do research and that their attitude is one of "teaching is an interruption to what we really want to do" type thing...is it like that at UCL?

    I need a real insight into UCL biological sciences life!! Thank you
    I'd go against what the poster above is saying. Being someone who's 100% committed to getting into the Investment Banking industry, i can tell you that university choice matters, a lot. 90% of Investment Bankers come from Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL and Warwick. So the other 10% is every other university in the Russell group etc, so Durham, Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, St Andrews, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leicester, Edinburgh, Southampton, Kings, Leeds, Sheffield, Loughborough, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bath....... all of those are top institutions, and if they make up 10% between them, then you can imagine how small Manchester's share is. Put simply, to get a top finance job, you can go to Imperial or UCL and be great, and get in; if you go to Manchester, you will have to be extraordinary; especially cause as soon as you study biology you're behind the economics, accounting and finance students etc for finance jobs. And to be honest, yes you could get into audit or accountancy from any of those unis relatively easily (and neither would give you an advantage over any other) but you have to realise that audit/accountancy are boring and pay less well than the better finance jobs (eg: banking/consultancy).

    So anyway, long story short, the fact that you're interested in a career in finance makes me feel that you should discount Manchester, although, i will accept that it was the most targetted university in the country by employers in 2010, for the top jobs, employers tend to look at Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Warwick, LSE and Imperial. (this is just for finance, i know cause i want to be a banker, but i reckon law will be similar to this).

    If you were looking at research then i would say go to the one that you like the most in terms of socially, city etc, cause none will put you above the others; however, if you're interested in a top finance job, then it's got to be UCL or Imperial for me.

    Now, Imperial is better than UCL for finance jobs; however, even though i'm 100% sure i want to go into finance, i still chose UCL. Basically, i just felt that i want to enjoy my years of uni as much as possible. I felt that i would be too stretched at Imperial and expected to just work and go out every now and then. Of course, i haven't studied at Imperial, but this judgement that i've made seems to be both right and wrong depending on who i talk to. Some people at Imperial seem to have an amazing social life, while others seem to really struggle to find the time, find people who are up for socialising etc etc.

    Anyway, UCL has been nothing like what my opinions of Imperial are. I feel as though the workload has been just the right amount honestly. The first month you have the time to go out every night (as long as you don't mind not revising lectures till the spring, this is my plan). Once the workload picks up you still have time, and although i think it's harder than when i did 4 A levels plus general studies, it is manageable and you can maintain a good social life; i still go out most weekends and sometimes midweek; i went out last night for example. The other good point on this subject, is that the workload tends to be easy for a few weeks, then manic for a few; one week, you might have a few lab reports in, then two weeks later, an essay deadline, 2 exams, and 4 lab reports; but i find this is good, cause in the easy weeks, we go out as a course at the weekends and it's just time to relax in between the manic weeks. So yeah, i'd say that it is a good middle ground personally.

    My reason for choosing UCL over Imperial, basically revolves around the fact that, both unis are pretty much as respected as each other; they're on the same level really; if you can make it into banking from biology at Imperial, then you can make it into banking from biology at UCL. Neither university really furthers you're career much past the other that will actually make a big difference. And at this point i will say, i genuinely think Imperial is the better uni; an Imperial degree is known all over the world and will always be valued in the UK, USA etc. However, the difference between this and UCL was not enough for me to go to Imperial over UCL; as i already said, UCL can and does compete with Imperial in terms of the unis graduates.

    In terms of lectures etc. Some of the modules here are really ****ed up. Some of our biochem exams for example have really gone off the content of lectures; i guess it might just be that we need to read around the subject area more, but still, complaints have been issued and it has got quite serious. Either way, yes the course isn't the best; i would say even with the cuts, Imperials modules on their own will be better than ours on their own (it's basically UCLs organisation that has let it down in my opinion; but to me that's not a huge problem, not enough to regret turning down Imperial). Having said this; i prefer the UCL course because we start from a very broad base, we do statistics, biochemistry, zoology, genetics, chemistry, microbiology, with optional units as broad as geography, languages, and sociology. I don't know the Imperial course, but i do love the modules we get here. Then in your second and third years (and fourth on the MSci) you can specialise quite deeply into genetics, human genetics, zoology, environmental biology, or you can stay very broad like i plan to. It's this range of options that i like; and i'm not sure if Imperial offers the same range. I guess ask someone from Imperial. As for the lecturers, they all seem good to me; they all seem to want to lecture students and all seem to be successful in their fields; you kind of realise this when they give you the module reading list, and you see half a dozen books on the subject written by your own lecturer. The only possible bad point, is that our tutorials are given by PHD students; but then having said that, can we really expect professors to give tutorials to groups of 10 when their module is being taken by 400-600 students, probably not i guess.

    So i'd basically sum UCL up as a uni that gives you a degree that can compete with the best unis, in the best jobs (eg: investment banking, the career where university choice matters more than any other career); but also, you can be sure that if you want it, you can have an amazing social life! Oh and also, speaking of social life, UCL has BioSoc; the society for biology students at UCL; we basically have some amazing social events to integrate everyone who studies biology at UCL in all years. With a department size of 4 times ours per year, i doubt Imperial can compete. This is the facebook group of BioSoc btw; http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7551850118 honestly such a good society.

    Any other questions just ask.
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    I still think you're overstating the importance of the university with regards to future career. The IBers I know who are earning £50k+ a year out of Uni went to St. Andrews, Manchester and Exeter (chap has an LLB). They work for Goldman, Merrill Lynch and Citi and by all accounts, are doing rather well for themselves.

    I've no doubt that IB's have a higher than average number of recruits from Oxbridge, LSE, et al. But that's because those institutions attract exceptional candidates. In other words, those candidates got the job because they were exceptional, not because it said 'LSE' on their application form. As is so often stated on a Biology degree, correlation does not equal causation.

    OP, if you want to get ahead employment wise, then I implore you to apply for as many vacation/summer/year-in-industry schemes as humanly possible - sooner the better. It's amazing how many solicitors/IBers were offered a TC/full time position after they spent the summer working with one of the big firms. Firms love recruiting this way as they're dealing with a known quantity. I can assure you that work experience and exceptional grades open infinitely more doors than an institution.

    Bear in mind that I'm not suggesting you should pick Manchester; I'm simply saying that you should pick the one you feel you'd fit in well at. Then, work your backside off to get good grades (including first year - top firms ask for module breakdowns, despite the fact first year "doesn't count") and apply for every bit of work experience under the sun.
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    Ok, whether OP goes to Manchester, Imperial or UCL; the quality of the degree will be roughly the same; she'll come out at roughly the same place whichever she goes to. However, she's in a better position with UCL and Imperial, because they are known by the banks for producing exceptional graduates. Now, i'm not saying that Manchester produces worse graduates at all; but it isn't targeted to the same extent as Imperial and UCL because it isn't as well known as being a uni that produces exceptional students to the banks. For example, looking at the 6 unis; i think it's self explanatory why Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial are targeted massively by IBs; 3 of the best unis with the best courses in the country, and pretty much any course at any of these unis is amazing (same can't be said for LSE, UCL and Warwick in my opinion). Now, i'd say the main attraction to IBs of UCL, Warwick and LSE is the economics courses at them all as well as the maths course at Warwick; they're amazing and on a par with Oxford and Cambridge; Manchester's economics course isn't as good, and hence doesn't attract the same calibre of student; IBs won't target it as much. So already, IBs are going to be more after these top 6 unis; they attract the best students, and the banks will go where the best students go. There's a reason why UCLU Investment Society and EFS get sponsored **** loads by JPMorgan, RBS, Barcap etc; it's because they want to increase the knowledge of their future graduate employees.

    Check out this thread: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1238731

    Yes, there are students from unis outside the top 6; for example, Herriott Watt; but these universities make up a much smaller number than the top 6. You don't see 5 students from Manchester. It's all 5 from the top 6, then 1 or 2 from the outside unis.

    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good the biology course is so much, but how good/targeted the university as a whole is. OP has a better chance at UCL or Imperial because they're known by the banks for producing exceptional graduates; you have to be exceptional to get into those unis and the banks know you have to be exceptional to come out with a good degree here. Manchester, although i would say is on the same level in terms of teaching quality, simply is not targeted as much as Imperial and UCL.

    However, having said all this; i'll echo the above, and say that you should go somewhere that you'll enjoy. The fact that you seem so undecided makes me think that because UCL offers the medium of good degree, targeted uni, good social life etc, and you seem as though you'd like to study here, it seems like the better choice. I mean, i'm guessing if you knew you'd hate any of these unis you wouldn't even be considering them all; you're so undecided that something as simple as 'more targeted by the banks' may swing you, and tbh, in your position, you kind of need a swing of opinion it seems.

    And then echoing above again. Institution is one piece of the puzzle; the biggest piece is work experience. If you had experience in a bank and Manchester Uni, you'd be in a better position then no experience in a bank and Imperial or UCL. So don't think the uni/degree does it for you; do what the above poster advises here and seek work experience and build up extra curriculars.

    Also, first year at UCL counts a ninth towards a BSc and something like a sixth towards a MSci.

    And i'm saying choose UCL or Imperial, because i would say that you should do everything you can to get into the best career, even if you still can make it from Manchester, i'm telling you, it's easier from UCL or Imperial.
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    (Original post by orca92)
    Ok, whether OP goes to Manchester, Imperial or UCL; the quality of the degree will be roughly the same; she'll come out at roughly the same place whichever she goes to. However, she's in a better position with UCL and Imperial, because they are known by the banks for producing exceptional graduates. Now, i'm not saying that Manchester produces worse graduates at all; but it isn't targeted to the same extent as Imperial and UCL because it isn't as well known as being a uni that produces exceptional students to the banks. For example, looking at the 6 unis; i think it's self explanatory why Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial are targeted massively by IBs; 3 of the best unis with the best courses in the country, and pretty much any course at any of these unis is amazing (same can't be said for LSE, UCL and Warwick in my opinion). Now, i'd say the main attraction to IBs of UCL, Warwick and LSE is the economics courses at them all as well as the maths course at Warwick; they're amazing and on a par with Oxford and Cambridge; Manchester's economics course isn't as good, and hence doesn't attract the same calibre of student; IBs won't target it as much. So already, IBs are going to be more after these top 6 unis; they attract the best students, and the banks will go where the best students go. There's a reason why UCLU Investment Society and EFS get sponsored **** loads by JPMorgan, RBS, Barcap etc; it's because they want to increase the knowledge of their future graduates.

    Check out this thread: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1238731

    Yes, there are students from unis outside the top 6; for example, Herriott Watt; but these universities make up a much smaller number than the top 6. You don't see 5 students from Manchester. It's all 5 from the top 6, then 1 or 2 from the outside unis.

    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good the biology course is so much, but how good/targeted the university as a whole is. OP has a better chance at UCL or Imperial because they're known by the banks for producing exceptional graduates; you have to be exceptional to get into those unis and the banks know you have to be exceptional to come out with a good degree here. Manchester, although i would say is on the same level in terms of teaching quality, simply is not targeted as much as Imperial and UCL.

    However, having said all this; i'll echo the above, and say that you should go somewhere that you'll enjoy. The fact that you seem so undecided makes me think that because UCL offers the medium of good degree, targeted uni, good social life etc, and you seem as though you'd like to study here, it seems like the better choice. I mean, i'm guessing if you knew you'd hate any of these unis you wouldn't even be considering them all; you're so undecided that something as simple as 'more targeted by the banks' may swing you, and tbh, in your position, you kind of need a swing of opinion it seems.

    And then echoing above again. Institution is one piece of the puzzle; the biggest piece is work experience. If you had experience in a bank and Manchester Uni, you'd be in a better position then no experience in a bank and Imperial or UCL. So don't think the uni/degree does it for you; do what the above poster advises here and seek work experience and build up extra curriculars.

    Also, first year at UCL counts a ninth towards a BSc and something like a sixth towards a MSci.

    And i'm saying choose UCL or Imperial, because i would say that you should do everything you can to get into the best career, even if you still can make it from Manchester, i'm telling you, it's easier from UCL or Imperial.
    Thank you guys so much for all of this information - it has been so useful. To be perfectly honest with you, I was leaning towards UCL even before you said all of this, since I think its a good balance between being pushed academically but also as you say having the chance to socialise etc. I like the campus, its position in london and felt comfortable when I visited there. And the fact that it is recognised world-wide is a bonus really. Imperial was beautiful too, but I want the chance to enjoy my time at university and I'm not willing to potentially put myself through hell to get relatively similar opportunities at the end of it all.

    So I will be firming UCL based on hours upon hours of deliberation....I have literally spent all day every day for about 2 months trying to come to a decision! But from hundreds of people's advice, as well as visits and looking through the course structure, UCL seems perfect. Thank you guys so much again for taking the time to fill me in from a student's perspective!
 
 
 
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