Is university status or individual achievement more important? Watch

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Hello

I'm a first year student at Aston University in Birmingham studying Politics and International Relations. I don't like Aston, and I have the option of transferring to Surrey for the second year. I applied there because I nearly adjusted up to it on results day last year, and I've been to the place and it seems pretty good. Regardless of my short term instincts, I'm interested to know what my employment prospects are following graduation from either of these universities. Here is what I know so far:

Surrey is a higher ranking university, so presumably my prospects are better.

On the other hand, I would be throwing away some opportunities by bailing out on Aston. I can potentially be in charge of a society next year if I stay, I can be a Peer Mentor and be a Student Ambassador. At Surrey I'd be new and therefore I probably wouldn't be able to stride in and do stuff like that.

I think this boils down to one question - is the status of a university or individual achievement more important?

Thanks
Rob
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Thanks for your advice, that's interesting. How much weight do you think the three things I mentioned (in charge of a society, peer mentor and student ambassador) will hold?
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SmaugTheTerrible
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(Original post by RobB)
Hello

I'm a first year student at Aston University in Birmingham studying Politics and International Relations. I don't like Aston, and I have the option of transferring to Surrey for the second year. I applied there because I nearly adjusted up to it on results day last year, and I've been to the place and it seems pretty good. Regardless of my short term instincts, I'm interested to know what my employment prospects are following graduation from either of these universities. Here is what I know so far:

Surrey is a higher ranking university, so presumably my prospects are better.

On the other hand, I would be throwing away some opportunities by bailing out on Aston. I can potentially be in charge of a society next year if I stay, I can be a Peer Mentor and be a Student Ambassador. At Surrey I'd be new and therefore I probably wouldn't be able to stride in and do stuff like that.

I think this boils down to one question - is the status of a university or individual achievement more important?

Thanks
Rob
Depends on the career path you want to follow. For example for something like law the University you go to does make a difference but even that is debatable. The reason say a SOAS/LSE/UCL/QMUL law student will get a job will be less to do with the University they went to (although that does help) but because they will more often than not have a better academic record at A-level and at degree level. If you come out of Aston with a 1st you will be more employable than a person with a 2.1 from surrey.

University makes a difference to an extent but it's mostly to do with your achievements.
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Hedgeman49
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(Original post by RobB)
Hello

I'm a first year student at Aston University in Birmingham studying Politics and International Relations. I don't like Aston, and I have the option of transferring to Surrey for the second year. I applied there because I nearly adjusted up to it on results day last year, and I've been to the place and it seems pretty good. Regardless of my short term instincts, I'm interested to know what my employment prospects are following graduation from either of these universities. Here is what I know so far:

Surrey is a higher ranking university, so presumably my prospects are better.

On the other hand, I would be throwing away some opportunities by bailing out on Aston. I can potentially be in charge of a society next year if I stay, I can be a Peer Mentor and be a Student Ambassador. At Surrey I'd be new and therefore I probably wouldn't be able to stride in and do stuff like that.

I think this boils down to one question - is the status of a university or individual achievement more important?

Thanks
Rob
Both are important but honestly, Aston to Surrey is not such a huge leap so you'd probably be better to stay at Aston with lots of ECs.

If you had a chance to go to Oxbridge/LSE etc then the reputation is probably enough to sway the decision that way.
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wanderlust.xx
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Individual achievement is what ultimately gets you a job, not your degree. The fact that people graduating from Oxbridge do go onto great careers is not thanks to the institutions, but rather their difficulty and therefore, the relative strength of the graduate.

In real world terms, the reason why you have interviews for graduates is because there's a huge difference between people who have a 2:1. In maths, for example, from the same uni, you might have two people with a 2:1, where one worked long hours to understand the material and never saw the merit in talking to people, and another who barely worked and liked doing things with others.

Who would be the better candidate for, say, a pricing analyst, or perhaps a business analyst? On the face of it they seem like similar roles, but a pricing analyst would have quite numerically technical work that requires strong willpower, whereas the business analyst might get client focused issues that require phone calls and good people skills.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it depends on the person, not the uni they came from.
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beerbaitedballs
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I'd agree with what has been said.

If the leap is big enough it can be beneficial to move, I can see your dilemma as Surrey does rank higher, certainly in politics. However Aston isn't the bottom 5 or anything extreme nor is Surrey top 5. Your individual achievements will help separate you and give you a tick in the box.

I remember a telephone interview with HP for one of their graduate schemes, she seemed more interested in me being a class rep and on the student representative council than any other aspect of my studies. However you don't need to be head cheese of a society, just being an active member can be enough.

I'd think about what you don't like at Aston and if these issues would be eradicated at Surrey, does the Surrey department provide the resources for you to obtain a better degree? I'd be inclined to stay at Aston but it's worth considering how the move would impact you for better or worse.
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TeaAndSugar
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I think another thing to consider is that Aston offers a placement year; a year in a graduate level job will give you a definite advantage post-university (and a few are paid!).
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M1011
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(Original post by RobB)
Thanks for your advice, that's interesting. How much weight do you think the three things I mentioned (in charge of a society, peer mentor and student ambassador) will hold?
When it comes to the inevitable competency interviews, this is exactly the kind of stuff that'll be crucial. Also as below poster mentions, when considering employment prospects the placement year is a great opportunity and heavily supported at Aston.

To repeat what some of the above posters have said, if this was a chance at Oxbridge or something along those lines, fair enough. But to move between two universities separated by a handful of places in the league tables, seems a bit extreme. That said, hat is it that you dislike about Aston? Will it genuinely be improved by a move to Surrey?

(Original post by TeaAndSugar)
I think another thing to consider is that Aston offers a placement year; a year in a graduate level job will give you a definite advantage post-university (and a few are paid!).
+1 on this. The majority are paid.
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JaiiStarh
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Before I went to University and I relied on these student forums for a lot of information I thought that the institution that you attended was more important but over the last couple of years I have seen a lot of graduates from average and even below average institutions land themselves into great graduate (and non graduate) positions and I have seen some people from 'better' Universities struggle to secure a job.

In my opinion it comes down to the sector you want to work in, work experience and the passion you show in the interview when/if you get to that stage.
By all means consider transferring if you feel another University can offer you a better course, but the ranking of the Uni should not be the top priority.
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Thank you all very much for your advice - after a few weeks of indecision and deliberation I've decided to stay at Aston. It's been six days since I made a decision and I'm still happy with it, which can only be a good thing.

Rob
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Thank you all very much for your advice - after a few weeks of indecision and deliberation I've decided to stay at Aston. It's been six days since I made a decision and I'm still happy with it, which can only be a good thing.

Rob
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