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ghilee
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Hi

I got accepted to my two top choices, Cambridge (UK) and University of Chicago (US). Now I have to actually choose ONE. I didn't know I would get into any of the two, let alone both!

I have made a mini pro and con list, and everything seems to point to UChicago's win, but I can't get it out of my head that I will be sacrificing Cambridge, the world's best school.

Can anyone maybe help me lengthen my pro-and-con list?

I plan on majoring in Biology, and I guess the biggest con for Cambridge is that I will only be studying Biology, nothing else, which is a really turn-off for me. But I think depth-wise, Cambridge will be better.

Another thing, Cambridge, internationally, is much more well-known. I plan on going to graduate school and my parents keep telling me that the Cambridge name on my resume will be a huge helping hand in life. Is that true? Is UChicago really that lesser-known? I mean, UChicago IS known for its intellectual community (which is a huge PRO for UChicago!).

Help, please??

EDIT: Why the negs? Jealous? (haha jk). But seriously.
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RocknRap
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Cambridge has the overall brand name and is extremely strong in the sciences, whereas UChicago is mainly only known for its economics, law and business departments...

I'd choose Cambridge in this case, though if you prefer UChicago go there of course.
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jcchr123
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There is no University that is more academic and intellectual than the University of Chicago, which has an excellent history in all fields since the day it was founded. This is why UChicago and Cambridge are basically tied for Nobel Prize Winners (ok, Cambridge has one more--88 to 87.)

OK, so you must be British. If you were American, this would be an easy decision. Absolutely no one in America has any interest in going to Oxford or Cambridge for college. (They will go to Oxford for grad school if a Rhodes Scholarship is involved.)

I am not knocking Cambridge but this is a simple truth. I live in California. If you look at one of the top elite prep schools in LA, over the past 4 years they sent dozens or perhaps hundreds of students to UChicago, Stanford, MIT, and the Ivies--and exactly 1 student to Cambridge--in 4 years. Mostly because no one applied there.

An American would always choose UChicago since it has a much better reputation in the U.S. and they don't want to study overseas.

Cambridge doesn’t even exist for Americans; it is simply not on their radar screen.
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MAchInE_hEAd
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^^^

That's a stupid thing to say, of course Cambridge is well known to Americans. Maybe not to the average high school grad, but to the graduate schools and the prestigious employers, Cambridge is one of the best.

To OP: Remember if you go to UChicago you'll graduate with something like 5 times more debt. Something worth acknowledging.
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lifeisgood.
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When making pro and con lists, understand that each pro and con has different weightings

For me personally, the Cambridge prestige is a big deal.

However, UChicago has the city.

But then again UChicago isn't really renowned for Biology or sciences.
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ghilee
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(Original post by jcchr123)
There is no University that is more academic and intellectual than the University of Chicago, which has an excellent history in all fields since the day it was founded. This is why UChicago and Cambridge are basically tied for Nobel Prize Winners (ok, Cambridge has one more--88 to 87.)

OK, so you must be British. If you were American, this would be an easy decision. Absolutely no one in America has any interest in going to Oxford or Cambridge for college. (They will go to Oxford for grad school if a Rhodes Scholarship is involved.)

I am not knocking Cambridge but this is a simple truth. I live in California. If you look at one of the top elite prep schools in LA, over the past 4 years they sent dozens or perhaps hundreds of students to UChicago, Stanford, MIT, and the Ivies--and exactly 1 student to Cambridge--in 4 years. Mostly because no one applied there.

An American would always choose UChicago since it has a much better reputation in the U.S. and they don't want to study overseas.

Cambridge doesn’t even exist for Americans; it is simply not on their radar screen.
No actually I'm an international student (well, yeah I am living in England but I have never ever been to America if that counts?)
Despite the negs, I guess you gave me a very honest opinion about the reputation of Cambridge in the US. However, do you know if this holds for employers too? I have heard many of my American friends tell me about the 'British Fantasy' of Cambridge that Americans hold... Is this true?
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ghilee
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(Original post by RocknRap)
Cambridge has the overall brand name and is extremely strong in the sciences, whereas UChicago is mainly only known for its economics, law and business departments...

I'd choose Cambridge in this case, though if you prefer UChicago go there of course.
This is another huge PRO for Cambridge. You just can't ignore that their natsci program is pretty much awesome. And I do prefer the Cambridge teaching system (have large lecture then discuss in very small supervision sessions)......

(Original post by MAchInE_hEAd)
^^^

That's a stupid thing to say, of course Cambridge is well known to Americans. Maybe not to the average high school grad, but to the graduate schools and the prestigious employers, Cambridge is one of the best.

To OP: Remember if you go to UChicago you'll graduate with something like 5 times more debt. Something worth acknowledging.
I'm an international student, so cost-wise, I think they are pretty much the same... I think. And another thing is it will be easier for me to get scholarships with the Cambridge name badge.
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RocknRap
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(Original post by ghilee)
This is another huge PRO for Cambridge. You just can't ignore that their natsci program is pretty much awesome. And I do prefer the Cambridge teaching system (have large lecture then discuss in very small supervision sessions)......

I'm an international student, so cost-wise, I think they are pretty much the same... I think. And another thing is it will be easier for me to get scholarships with the Cambridge name badge.
I have a mate doing NatSci (Biological) at Cambridge and he's already secured a research placement over the summer, and he's only a fresher (1st year) - I'm sure the Cambridge name played a part here. The colleges often have special networks and contacts through alumni that can hook students up with exclusive internships/work experience - I don't know if it was the case here but I wouldn't be surprised. I know a couple of people who have gotten summer internships at big insurance firms and mini-pupillages at law firms through this.

The Oxbridge undergrad system (tutorials, supervisions) is one of a kind in the world and it's definitely a plus point over the american undergrad system in my opinion. In fact in general I'd say the UK undergrad system is much better than the US undergrad system. The US dominates when it comes to postgrad study though.

And the person above saying that Chicago > Cambridge when it comes to reputation in the US is talking quite a lot of nonsense. Sure Chicago's up there, but in overall terms (and esp. with regard to the sciences), Cambridge is the clear winner, all over the world.
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ghilee
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(Original post by RocknRap)
I have a mate doing NatSci (Biological) at Cambridge and he's already secured a research placement over the summer, and he's only a fresher (1st year) - .....................
Oh my god. That is amazing! (I've actually posted a question on the Cambridge forum asking about the internship part of the deal, and they've pretty much said the same thing too) I was kind of scared that it would be harder to get summer jobs going to Cambridge, but apparently not!

So this is another Pro going down on my list Thank you.

(I have realized though, that my offer is conditional, so I should probably concentrate on getting the offer first )
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reallytired
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(Original post by ghilee)
No actually I'm an international student (well, yeah I am living in England but I have never ever been to America if that counts?)
Despite the negs, I guess you gave me a very honest opinion about the reputation of Cambridge in the US. However, do you know if this holds for employers too? I have heard many of my American friends tell me about the 'British Fantasy' of Cambridge that Americans hold... Is this true?
It's true that Oxbridge have a lot of hype, just like Havard and Yale. Don't get me wrong, they're great unis but do receive a disproportionate amount of publicity, given most who work on TV and for newspapers are Oxbridge grads themselves.

In the US, at least there's mention of Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc. but in the UK, it's Oxbridge and nothing else, especially in films.

Someone posted this article sometime ago about uni fees in London but features a picture of Oxford!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...uition-fees.do
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RocknRap
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(Original post by reallytired)
It's true that Oxbridge have a lot of hype, just like Havard and Yale. Don't get me wrong, they're great unis but do receive a disproportionate amount of publicity, given most who work on TV and for newspapers are Oxbridge grads themselves.

In the US, at least there's mention of Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc. but in the UK, it's Oxbridge and nothing else, especially in films.

Someone posted this article sometime ago about uni fees in London but features a picture of Oxford!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...uition-fees.do
Well that's a lie. I'm forever seeing UK universities other than Oxbridge mentioned in newspaper articles regarding research, academics etc, particularly the top London ones. If other uni's weren't mentioned in the media it'd suggest that all cutting edge research was carried out at Oxbridge which is obviously not true.

Though with regards to films Oxbridge does steal the limelight. TV-wise I'd say LSE features more heavily in the media than any other university due to it's presence in televised news. It's a London uni so professors can easily reach the recording studios and comment on things and it's a social science institution so pretty much anything newsworthy is relevant to their fields.
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AtomSmasher
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(Original post by ghilee)
I plan on majoring in Biology, and I guess the biggest con for Cambridge is that I will only be studying Biology, nothing else, which is a really turn-off for me. But I think depth-wise, Cambridge will be better.
At Cambridge you'll be doing the natural sciences course, which offers far from a narrow range of topics and, as you said, you'll be studying the field you're (presumably) most interested in in much greater depth than at U. Chicago. Doing your undergraduate at Cambridge will probably give you better post graduate opportunities as well and you can always go to Chicago (or even Ivy Legue/MIT) then.
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MirandaPanda
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(Original post by ghilee)
I have heard many of my American friends tell me about the 'British Fantasy' of Cambridge that Americans hold... Is this true?
Whilst I don't agree with jcchr123's post and think that you should thus attend Cambridge, as an American, I just want to dispel this nonsense above.

American students do not have a "British Fantasy" of going to Oxbridge and nor do we find British accents just nothing short of amazing etc (though of course there is nothing wrong with them either); its an over-exaggerated myth on these boards for reason, but it just doesn't hold true in actuality. It may be that your small selection of American friends may think differently (though even I'm not inclined to believe all of them do), but on the whole, there are no such "fantasies".

Also, if a British university is known in the US, its St Andrews; which having spent a ton on promotion here in the US over the past decade or so, has developed quite a name for itself. Of course, that doesn't mean to say Oxbridge isn't well recognised, given most see them as having a history of academic excellence and regularly tops tables.
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reallytired
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(Original post by RocknRap)
Well that's a lie. I'm forever seeing UK universities other than Oxbridge mentioned in newspaper articles regarding research, academics etc, particularly the top London ones. If other uni's weren't mentioned in the media it'd suggest that all cutting edge research was carried out at Oxbridge which is obviously not true.

Though with regards to films Oxbridge does steal the limelight. TV-wise I'd say LSE features more heavily in the media than any other university due to it's presence in televised news. It's a London uni so professors can easily reach the recording studios and comment on things and it's a social science institution so pretty much anything newsworthy is relevant to their fields.
I'm afraid it's not a lie.

How many times have you read the headline "Cambridge / Oxford graduate / student ..... "

If the person concerned graduated from another uni, it would read "Graudate / Student ..... "

Newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Times are particularly guilty of this practice.

Glad you agree with me re films, eg James Bond went to Cambridge, M talks about her Oxford days, etc.
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Mod Calm
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Sorry... Are you saying that there is really a decision between the #1 ranked university in the world and one that is... Well... Not rank #1.. 2... 3...4... Or even 5?!?

Sorry mate but a Cambridge degree will stand out much more than a Chicago degree. You'll also probably have a much more intimate experience with the collegiate system at Cambridge, instead of the huge number of Chicago students.

There is no University that is more academic and intellectual than the University of Chicago, which has an excellent history in all fields since the day it was founded. This is why UChicago and Cambridge are basically tied for Nobel Prize Winners (ok, Cambridge has one more--88 to 87.)

OK, so you must be British. If you were American, this would be an easy decision. Absolutely no one in America has any interest in going to Oxford or Cambridge for college. (They will go to Oxford for grad school if a Rhodes Scholarship is involved.)

I am not knocking Cambridge but this is a simple truth. I live in California. If you look at one of the top elite prep schools in LA, over the past 4 years they sent dozens or perhaps hundreds of students to UChicago, Stanford, MIT, and the Ivies--and exactly 1 student to Cambridge--in 4 years. Mostly because no one applied there.

An American would always choose UChicago since it has a much better reputation in the U.S. and they don't want to study overseas.

Cambridge doesn’t even exist for Americans; it is simply not on their radar screen.
No offence, but I've spent a great deal of time in the US, and around North American people/Students, and all of what you have said is complete and utter hogswash. While I respect that it is your opinion, and you are entitled to your opinion, the assertion that "Cambridge doesn't even exist for Americans" is untenable - Precisely because you, and presumably at least a few people in your school (ergo the applications to Cambridge), have heard of it, and the fact that it tops the 'World Rankings' which are mostly compiled by US companies/institutions.

I also doubt many of your fellow Americans would agree that Chicago tops the Ivies in being "the most academic and intellectual institution".
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RocknRap
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(Original post by reallytired)
I'm afraid it's not a lie.

How many times have you read the headline "Cambridge / Oxford graduate / student ..... "

If the person concerned graduated from another uni, it would read "Graudate / Student ..... "

Newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Times are particularly guilty of this practice.

Glad you agree with me re films, eg James Bond went to Cambridge, M talks about her Oxford days, etc.
I guess you're right with regards to the actions (whether good or bad) of Oxbridge students - popular media is fixated on topics such as high culture/elitism etc and Oxbridge provides a perfect target or context. Though my point about research still stands. I guess I tend to consume more 'intelligent' media and so my viewpoint is slightly skewed haha
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username839699
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(Original post by ghilee)
Hi

I got accepted to my two top choices, Cambridge (UK) and University of Chicago (US). Now I have to actually choose ONE. I didn't know I would get into any of the two, let alone both!

I have made a mini pro and con list, and everything seems to point to UChicago's win, but I can't get it out of my head that I will be sacrificing Cambridge, the world's best school.

Can anyone maybe help me lengthen my pro-and-con list?

I plan on majoring in Biology, and I guess the biggest con for Cambridge is that I will only be studying Biology, nothing else, which is a really turn-off for me. But I think depth-wise, Cambridge will be better.

Another thing, Cambridge, internationally, is much more well-known. I plan on going to graduate school and my parents keep telling me that the Cambridge name on my resume will be a huge helping hand in life. Is that true? Is UChicago really that lesser-known? I mean, UChicago IS known for its intellectual community (which is a huge PRO for UChicago!).

Help, please??
Have you received any financial aid or merit scholarships from UChicago? You mentioned not wanting to study solely biology. You will most definitely have to study something else at UChicago because of The Core, which looks like a very good experience. I'm of the opinion that such classes - i.e, those outside of your major, in philosophy, history, politics, literature etc - are very useful and will also serve as a nice break.

You've mentioned an interest in graduate school. Is that for biology? If it is, graduate school (everything that is post bachelor's degree, i.e, MS + PhD, although some schools don't award the MS at all) is funded. At least, it is in the sciences. One is awarded a tuition waiver and a living stipend, either in the form of a Teaching Assistantship, Research Assistantship, a fellowship or a combination of them. (TA+RA or RA+Fellowship, and so forth) It will be a hard 3-6 years (remember that one will have to take some courses for one to two years and then pass the quals before beginning research) and your stipend should usually be enough to cover the bare minimum costs.

The other thing with an American education is that if halfway through your degree, you find that you loved taking Calc 1-3 and differential equations and want to take more math, you can do it and still retain the credits for biology, which you can turn into a minor or perhaps go into applied mathematics with a focus on biology. That's just one example of things you could do if you were to suddenly change your mind. In the UK, you will have to start again from scratch.

Also, it is significantly easier to go to graduate school in the USA, if one has attended a US university. The admissions committee for graduate school is usually the department you will be applying to, in which case, biology departments. Foreigners have a harder time of getting into graduate school for a number of reasons. Some include these: at state schools, the money spent on them comes from taxes paid by Americans and as such, Americans are favoured; the respective departments are very familiar with the grading system in the USA and the coursework they take; recommendation letters will come from professors who work in the US system and as such, will write recommendation letters in a format which is more typical of them; foreigners are usually expected to score much higher grades on the GRE subject test than locals. You can take a look on the forums for Biology at TheGradCafe and see for yourself. If you go to mathematicsgre.com or physicsgre.com and look at the applicant profiles, you will see that students, domestic or international, who have studied in the States, have things much easier for them. There's also opportunities for undergraduate research at more universities or labs than you'd find in the UK, seeing as undergraduate research in general, is much more prevalent in the States. To get into graduate school and of course, to know if one will enjoy research, experience in it is vital.

I thought I'd try highlight some of the advantages of an American education, seeing as everyone here is talking about Cambridge. In any case, both are very good schools and I wish you the best of luck in making a decision. Personally, I'd go with UChicago for the reasons I mentioned above. I know for a fact that I'd get a good grounding in the sciences while also being able to explore my other interests. Further, UChicago don't admit too many international students *seeking financial aid* (only about 15-20) but when they do, they usually meet the financial need. If I were to get in (applying for fall '13!), it would actually end up being much cheaper than Cambridge as well. :-)
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ukmed108
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(Original post by ghilee)
Hi

I got accepted to my two top choices, Cambridge (UK) and University of Chicago (US). Now I have to actually choose ONE. I didn't know I would get into any of the two, let alone both!

I have made a mini pro and con list, and everything seems to point to UChicago's win, but I can't get it out of my head that I will be sacrificing Cambridge, the world's best school.

Can anyone maybe help me lengthen my pro-and-con list?

I plan on majoring in Biology, and I guess the biggest con for Cambridge is that I will only be studying Biology, nothing else, which is a really turn-off for me. But I think depth-wise, Cambridge will be better.

Another thing, Cambridge, internationally, is much more well-known. I plan on going to graduate school and my parents keep telling me that the Cambridge name on my resume will be a huge helping hand in life. Is that true? Is UChicago really that lesser-known? I mean, UChicago IS known for its intellectual community (which is a huge PRO for UChicago!).

Help, please??
As someone who has applied to schools in the U.S and the UK I would say go to Cambridge. Cambridge is well known in Canada and very likely the U.S. It is considered on the same level as the Ivy League + MIT, Stanford. U Chicago is a very good university in the U.S but it is on the 2nd tier, behind the Ivies. I would compare UChicago to KCL.
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RocknRap
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(Original post by ukmed108)
As someone who has applied to schools in the U.S and the UK I would say go to Cambridge. Cambridge is well known in Canada and very likely the U.S. It is considered on the same level as the Ivy League + MIT, Stanford. U Chicago is a very good university in the U.S but it is on the 2nd tier, behind the Ivies. I would compare UChicago to KCL.
UChicago on the same level as KCL? Are you outta your mind?

UChicago >>>>>>>>>>>>> KCL. KCL cannot compare... I know KCL has a reputation across the pond (for some reason I really can't figure out), but it's reputation is much greater than what it actually is - a diminishing figure in British higher education.
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ghilee
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Oh wow. Did I just create a fight?

(Original post by reallytired)
..... [/url]
(Original post by RocknRap)
.....
(Original post by MirandaPanda)
....
(Original post by reallytired)
....
Regarding the hype of Oxbridge, I must say it's not necessarily a bad thing. Such good reputation has allowed the top schools (Oxbridge, Ivies etc...) to have a student population that is on par with their reputation. It attracts the top students, so in a way, the hype can be seen as a good thing. So let's not fight about this!
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