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Cambridge or UCL ?

Hi, I have offers for Economics at Cambridge and UCL and whilst its nice to have the Cambridge offer I really dislike the whole place. Supervisions, the place etc. its just not for me. I like economics but am no means passionate about it... prefer to get the work done then relax..I'll shamefully admit I rarely read around the subject

I much prefer UCL but the problem is will UCL get me a job in finance ?
And its pretty likely having a degree from Cambridge will earn a higher starting salary but does anyone have an idea of how much of a headstart this is ? (looked online but found little)

I guess I'm really asking what the 'value' of an Oxbridge degree is ..
Reply 1
Posted this on the Cambridge forum and got a bit of stick :frown:
University College London, University of London
University College London
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Reply 2
The worth of the Oxbridge degree doesn't matter, if you go to Cambridge and hate it you might find yourself dropping out and not getting into finance at all! Enjoy your student years! UCL is still a top class Uni!


Posted from TSR Mobile
Reply 3
I'd go wherever you think you'll thrive best as a student. Think about the way you'll be taught at each university. Cambridge's teaching system is pretty distinctive, but that doesn't mean that you'll necessarily enjoy it! The course content is super important too: have a good look at what each university is offering in terms of modules, how these modules are taught and examined. At the end of the day, you want to go somewhere that you think you'll be the best that you can be. If you think that's Cambridge, and that college life, the course there and the supervision system appeal to you best, then pick Cambridge. If you feel you're more suited to a a massive university in the heart of a metropolis, and that the wealth of opportunities that London can offer you outweigh the considerable prestige of a Cambridge degree, then UCL's the place for you.

I did hear someone else on TSR suggest a really good way of deciding which one actually! Flip a coin, if it lands on UCL and you feel relieved, then perhaps UCL is for you. If you get UCL and you feel like you should flip again, perhaps that's you being called to Cambridge!

I know that people who have Oxbridge offers are under considerable pressure to firm them, simply because of prestige. While Oxbridge certainly does open a lot of doors, it isn't for everyone. The best way to decide I suppose is to go around each university on a day that's not an open day or anything and see which one you can imagine being part of for the next few years.

I know people who go to Cambridge and absolutely love it there, and I know people who rejected Oxbridge offers to study UCL and haven't regretted it at all.
It's completely your call. Have a look around both - it's not wrong to go with your gut.

UCL is an absolutely fantastic university. It might not have the same degree of prestige as Cambridge done, but as with any other university, UCL can offer you things that no where else can :smile:
Well done on both your offers!! xxxx
(edited 10 years ago)
Well if you want simply a job in Finance and not investment banking/consulting, there is very little between the two that would sway your way in terms of prestige.

If you think your dislike of Cambridge would likely result in a lower degree class, go for UCL. A 1st at UCL would be good/better than a 2:1 at Cambridge, AND you would've had much more fun at uni. University is a special time you won't get back - go wherever makes you the happiest.

That said, if the choice had been something like KCL vs Cambridge, or York vs Cambridge or something...my answer would have been different. But the UCL vs Cambridge difference when it comes to finance is negligible.
Reply 5
Original post by TaiGunner
Hi, I have offers for Economics at Cambridge and UCL and whilst its nice to have the Cambridge offer I really dislike the whole place. Supervisions, the place etc. its just not for me. I like economics but am no means passionate about it... prefer to get the work done then relax..I'll shamefully admit I rarely read around the subject

I much prefer UCL but the problem is will UCL get me a job in finance ?
And its pretty likely having a degree from Cambridge will earn a higher starting salary but does anyone have an idea of how much of a headstart this is ? (looked online but found little)

I guess I'm really asking what the 'value' of an Oxbridge degree is ..


Even when it comes to investment banking, you'll be absolutely fine with UCL, provided you're a strong candidate.
Reply 6
Original post by TaiGunner
Hi, I have offers for Economics at Cambridge and UCL and whilst its nice to have the Cambridge offer I really dislike the whole place. Supervisions, the place etc. its just not for me. I like economics but am no means passionate about it... prefer to get the work done then relax..I'll shamefully admit I rarely read around the subject

I much prefer UCL but the problem is will UCL get me a job in finance ?
And its pretty likely having a degree from Cambridge will earn a higher starting salary but does anyone have an idea of how much of a headstart this is ? (looked online but found little)

I guess I'm really asking what the 'value' of an Oxbridge degree is ..


Job prospects: You'll be able to get a great job from UCL, and will compete for pretty much the same jobs as Cambridge graduates. The only exception will be elite areas of hedge fund management, investment banking, law, management consultancy and sectors of that sort, where it's normal for firms to remain at 50-100% Oxbridge.

Course: If you're not passionate about Economics, you'd probably end up hating studying it at the UK #4 as well. It's not going to be easy at UCL, given that it'll be filled with Oxbridge rejects who still have to work hard to get their 2.1/1st. Why did you apply for it?

Support: What Cambridge will provide you with, however, is a very high 2.1 rate, *extremely* low drop-out rates, and personal support like no other university (except the Other University full of Oxen). The supervisions may not seem like they're for you, but you'll have tutorials at other unis too (just with more people, like 6-7 rather than 1:1 or 2:1) and this will ensure that you can't hide away and fall behind. Cambridge will also be perfectly happy for you to pitch up and switch to a different course either at the start of your degree, or at the start of each year. Remember that it won't matter too much what degree you did, and if you ended up switching to, say, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science etc. then you'd still enjoy the same job prospects in finance, to be honest. At UCL, on the other hand, you'd probably be stuck with Economics for all three years with no option but to drop out, and the teaching ratios mean that you won't get the same support.

Good luck.
(edited 10 years ago)
Reply 7
UCL, I strongly recommend our cousins as an LSE student.
Original post by TaiGunner
Hi, I have offers for Economics at Cambridge and UCL and whilst its nice to have the Cambridge offer I really dislike the whole place. Supervisions, the place etc. its just not for me. I like economics but am no means passionate about it... prefer to get the work done then relax..I'll shamefully admit I rarely read around the subject

I much prefer UCL but the problem is will UCL get me a job in finance ?
And its pretty likely having a degree from Cambridge will earn a higher starting salary but does anyone have an idea of how much of a headstart this is ? (looked online but found little)

I guess I'm really asking what the 'value' of an Oxbridge degree is ..


Hey, I am in a similar sort of position this year as I have an offer for Law from UCL and Cambridge - I was wondering which uni you went to in the end and what you think about it?
Reply 9
UCL and Imperial have a higher average starting salary for graduates than Oxford or Cambridge.
Reply 10
Original post by Electricblue157
Hey, I am in a similar sort of position this year as I have an offer for Law from UCL and Cambridge - I was wondering which uni you went to in the end and what you think about it?


I can't remember the source exactly, but a study a couple of years back showed that almost 38% of Magic Circle lawyers came from Oxbridge. Having said that, UCL's Law Department is seen as pretty amazing, and they are very heavily recruited (encouraged to apply) by Law firms from what I've read. It does depend on what you want to do with degree as well though.
Original post by Blayze
I can't remember the source exactly, but a study a couple of years back showed that almost 38% of Magic Circle lawyers came from Oxbridge. Having said that, UCL's Law Department is seen as pretty amazing, and they are very heavily recruited (encouraged to apply) by Law firms from what I've read. It does depend on what you want to do with degree as well though.


Wow, that's a high percentage! I am not yet sure if I want to become a lawyer (I have done some work experience and enjoyed it but apparently it was not much like what lawyers really do) but I want to have the option to become one so that's definitely a positive.

I think my issue is more with the rest of university life as opposed to the academic side though - as you said they are both great unis academically. I'm just worried I won't like the atmosphere at Cambridge - it seems like it is quite pressurized. I'm not afraid of working hard, I just also like time to relax- sometimes its nice to procrastinate!

I'm going to see my college this week so it might be interesting to see if it has that atmosphere or not (apparently its one of the more relaxed colleges).
This is late but may help anyone else applying. If you do not read around the subject and do not enjoy it, chances are you won’t get in, and if you do, you will not enjoy your course at all. Don’t go to uni for the purpose of getting a job, almost any course relating somehow to maths will get you a good job in finance and any course will get you a good job in general.
Reply 13
Original post by Electricblue157
Wow, that's a high percentage! I am not yet sure if I want to become a lawyer (I have done some work experience and enjoyed it but apparently it was not much like what lawyers really do) but I want to have the option to become one so that's definitely a positive.

I think my issue is more with the rest of university life as opposed to the academic side though - as you said they are both great unis academically. I'm just worried I won't like the atmosphere at Cambridge - it seems like it is quite pressurized. I'm not afraid of working hard, I just also like time to relax- sometimes its nice to procrastinate!

I'm going to see my college this week so it might be interesting to see if it has that atmosphere or not (apparently its one of the more relaxed colleges).

hi! i don’t know if you’ll see this, but i was wondering what you chose in the end and was it right for you?
i’m in a similar position right now, with a law offer from cambridge but i really don’t know if it’s what i want compared to ucl/kcl if i get an offer. i do work hard and everyone says u can manage at cam, but i don’t want to just ‘manage’ i want to enjoy it and have good time to relax like u said. maybe i’m being naive tho and somewhere like ucl or kcl would be almost as intense?
Original post by kritivr
hi! i don’t know if you’ll see this, but i was wondering what you chose in the end and was it right for you?
i’m in a similar position right now, with a law offer from cambridge but i really don’t know if it’s what i want compared to ucl/kcl if i get an offer. i do work hard and everyone says u can manage at cam, but i don’t want to just ‘manage’ i want to enjoy it and have good time to relax like u said. maybe i’m being naive tho and somewhere like ucl or kcl would be almost as intense?


The user you are quoting hasn't been online in 8 years :frown:

Please don't bump old threads for this reason - make a new thread and then all the currently active people can provide advice :h:
Reply 15
Original post by artful_lounger
The user you are quoting hasn't been online in 8 years :frown:

Please don't bump old threads for this reason - make a new thread and then all the currently active people can provide advice :h:


apologies i didn’t realise that you could even check that