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    Hi! I am an international applicant for India. I was hoping I could get adequate information on this forum with tons of queries I had! I have received offers from Oxford, LSE, UCL and SOAS for Master's in Social Anthropology to commence in 2013. While LSE & SOAS have made unconditonal offers, UCL and Oxford have made conditional offers (not hard to meet. standard procedure).

    For me it is extremely important to secure a scholarship, without which I will be forced to forego all offers. I haven't received any yet, but I have applied to several and am waiting to hear from them. Usually, from what I have learnt, one knows scholarship statuses best by June.

    1) I wish to know if one can accept offers from all universities to protect one's place, apply to scholarships and on basis of scholarships provided, decline others politely and use the final CAS for immigration. Or, does one have to pick, choose one university right at the beginning and doggedly pursue scholarships. I spoke to the local British Council and they said the former could be done, but I just wanted more opinions on this one.

    2) In terms of scholarships, I heard UCL and SOAS are not the best. I spoke to a UCL rep at a local college fair and they were upfront about having inadequate funds or even on campus jobs for maintenance, let along tuition. The scholarships mentioned on their website too are meagre, barely covering even part of tuition fees. Oxford has the most potential, according to what people say, when it comes to getting good funding. As for SOAS, I do believe it is pretty late for me to apply to the single scholarship available there, as I do not have ample time to get my referees to write in by the deadlines next week. Plus, I am not keen on SOAS that much. Am i right in wanting to decline SOAS and prioritising LSE, UCL and Oxford?

    3) Studying abroad for me is not just an opportunity to gain world class education, but to also experience the place. This would be a one time opportunity for me to be abroad before returning to India and pursuing my future career. So, extra curriculars, a good support system, a decent social life are equally important to a good department, faculty etc. I also hear London is dead expensive and accomodation, living costs are over the top. Plus, about LSE I hear the coursework takes up all one's time. Oxford I hear is great for a good mix of academics and life. Is it true? What about UCL?

    4) Speaking of a good department and faculty, which of these options are good for Social Anthrop? Would anyone be able to provide better info? On league table rankings (Guardian, good university guide), they narrowly jostle for space and are close to each other. I have a strong background in environmental sciences career wise, and I wanted to choose a college which has leanings towards this side. I understand UCL has envt anthrop, but I didn't want to specialise in it, because I can easily mould a SocAnth degree into diverse fields during the course of a career. But both UCL & Oxford have excellent faculty who have worked in envt anthrop related subjects. I basically intend to use my degree in India towards independent research in environment and social sciences through journalism or working in public policy or no profits. Both LSE & Oxford are big names here. I am not big on branding, but I do want the best for my education and career. I have worked terribly hard to get to this stage and my dream of good education is really important to me.

    5) Last, one university asks for an "original transcript" as part of its condition. From how I understand it, it means the original which I have to show when I reach there in October, right? Do they mean a photocopy attested by my undergrad university authorities that has to be airmailed beforehand to meet the condition? Because it is impossible to get a duplicate original and I don't want to risk air mailing my original certificates.

    I would appreciate it greatly if you could help me with these queries. Especially picking out universities!


    The answer to 1 is yes.

    The answer to 5 is usually yes you can send a an autheticated copy, though I believe that some unis insist on an original. It should be possible to get a duplicate original from the uni if you need, at a charge and probably a waiting period. I don't think you can just show them your original when you arrive, because it is a condition of your offer and you can't get a CAS until you have fulfilled all your conditions. Definitely do NOT send them your only copy as you will most probably not get it back.

    Can't help with the other questions.
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks! Guess, I have to sit down and take a decision on my own about the colleges.

    But about the original hard copy of my transcript (Oxford demands it), my university provides only one copy. They provide a second copy only if the first one is lost or has been damaged severely. While there are elite colleges which do give multiple copies, state owned universities here give only authenticated photocopies after a waiting period.I have written back to the department, asking if an authenticated copy in a sealed package works, but haven't yet heard from them. I will try looking for other sub forums on original transcripts for Oxford and ask at my university too about this situation.


    In regards to LSE (I have a conditional for MSc in Soc. Anth.), they also allocate GSS grants from the University itself, have you applied to that yet? As I understand it, when you apply to the GSS they automatically consider you for scholarship affiliated with the University, though they are processed later.

    In terms of your interests, I know there is a Dr. Banerjee currently teaching at LSE (you can find her under staff on the website). Her studies are related to democracy in India.

    Are you going to pursue a PhD after the Msc? LSE has 59 fully funded scholarships so not guaranteed, but there's a chance.



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