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    Hello.

    I'm in Year 12 studying four AS Levels in History, English Literature, Biology and Philosophy & Ethics. I would really like some advice in where to start for looking into universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. We have to have some research done by the time we return on the 5th January.

    I have looked into some universities good for my course, looked at fees and the types of aid on offer (US universities), and I have looked generally at the course.

    I want some good tips to help me make proper choices. I achieved all As and Bs at GCSE with two C grades in irrelevant courses but I was unwell with pneumonia twice in my GCSE years that resulted in me being absent from school for over a month and unwell during the time in which I sat my exams. It's also good to point out that my school was rubbish, parading the fact that 99% got at least 1 GCSE anywhere in the pass bracket (so, below C's if applicable).

    I am studying A-Levels at an independent college in Cambridge and have a lot more opportunities and amazing tuition; I'm currently achieving mainly A grades.

    I'll be thankful for any advice!

    P.S. The universities I have an interest in, including a few in Canada, are (those highlighted are the ones I am the most interested in):

    1. McGill
    2. Toronto
    3. Alberta
    4. Oxford or Cambridge (?)
    5. Bristol
    6. Edinburgh
    7. UCL
    8. Birkbeck
    9. Leeds
    10. Yale
    11. Stanford
    12. Brown
    13. Princeton

    I'm sitting 3 SATs in June or May this coming year in Molecular Biology (?), Literature and the SAT.
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    Hello.

    I'm in Year 12 studying four AS Levels in History, English Literature, Biology and Philosophy & Ethics. I would really like some advice in where to start for looking into universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. We have to have some research done by the time we return on the 5th January.

    I have looked into some universities good for my course, looked at fees and the types of aid on offer (US universities), and I have looked generally at the course.

    I want some good tips to help me make proper choices. I achieved all As and Bs at GCSE with two C grades in irrelevant courses but I was unwell with pneumonia twice in my GCSE years that resulted in me being absent from school for over a month and unwell during the time in which I sat my exams. It's also good to point out that my school was rubbish, parading the fact that 99% got at least 1 GCSE anywhere in the pass bracket (so, below C's if applicable).

    I am studying A-Levels at an independent college in Cambridge and have a lot more opportunities and amazing tuition; I'm currently achieving mainly A grades.

    I'll be thankful for any advice!

    P.S. The universities I have an interest in, including a few in Canada, are (those highlighted are the ones I am the most interested in):

    1. McGill
    2. Toronto
    3. Alberta
    4. Oxford or Cambridge (?)
    5. Bristol
    6. Edinburgh
    7. UCL
    8. Birkbeck
    9. Leeds
    10. Yale
    11. Stanford
    12. Brown
    13. Princeton

    I'm sitting 3 SATs in June or May this coming year in Molecular Biology (?), Literature and the SAT.
    I can't help with the US side.

    UK - some things to think about - check UCAS course search for V100 to get info on your five selected UK university history courses, and consider whether you want to do straight history, or a joint degree, or a more specialised course. Note that the entry requirements are likely to be AAA-A*AA for those universities, have a look at what was typically achieved by others at your college in August 2014, and ask your teachers what they reckon your predicted AS and A2 grades might be, to confirm that you are on target for these universities. Have a look at the detailed modules for each year of the university course on the history department's webpage at each university.

    Use the Unistats website to look at, for instance:
    • the typical UCAS points achieved by others taking your chosen courses;
    • split of assessment methods between coursework and exams;
    • what degree classifications were achieved;
    • typical accommodation costs; and
    • job prospects.

    These can vary between the universities quite significantly.

    Have a look at the History forums on this website for each university to see what others have said about taking the course - for instance, for History, the amount of contact time can be quite low (compared to say engineering or medicine), and so lectures/library/tutor resources are likely to be important.

    Also - finance - will you qualify for Student Finance Loans (three years' UK residence required, for purposes other than solely educational), and if so for grants? What total loan/grant finance is likely to be available to you? Will you be able to get employment during the holidays (some of these universities ban term time employment)? Will your parents be able to supply any financial support? UCL is likely to be quite an expensive choice for accommodation and maintenance.
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    (Original post by Holmstock)
    I can't help with the US side.

    UK - some things to think about - check UCAS course search for V100 to get info on your five selected UK university history courses, and consider whether you want to do straight history, or a joint degree, or a more specialised course. Note that the entry requirements are likely to be AAA-A*AA for those universities, have a look at what was typically achieved by others at your college in August 2014, and ask your teachers what they reckon your predicted AS and A2 grades might be, to confirm that you are on target for these universities. Have a look at the detailed modules for each year of the university course on the history department's webpage at each university.

    Use the Unistats website to look at, for instance:
    • the typical UCAS points achieved by others taking your chosen courses;
    • split of assessment methods between coursework and exams;
    • what degree classifications were achieved;
    • typical accommodation costs; and
    • job prospects.

    These can vary between the universities quite significantly.

    Have a look at the History forums on this website for each university to see what others have said about taking the course - for instance, for History, the amount of contact time can be quite low (compared to say engineering or medicine), and so lectures/library/tutor resources are likely to be important.

    Also - finance - will you qualify for Student Finance Loans (three years' UK residence required, for purposes other than solely educational), and if so for grants? What total loan/grant finance is likely to be available to you? Will you be able to get employment during the holidays (some of these universities ban term time employment)? Will your parents be able to supply any financial support? UCL is likely to be quite an expensive choice for accommodation and maintenance.
    Thanks for the help. We won't have any issues with the UK fees at all and I have lived here all my life.

    Thank you again.
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    Look at the course modules very carefully. History degrees vary widely in content and different unis specialise in different subject areas and periods. Also, some courses have more compulsory modules than others.

    By the way, why Birkbeck? Of you choices lifted above, it seems a little strange.
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    (Original post by ageshallnot)
    Look at the course modules very carefully. History degrees vary widely in content and different unis specialise in different subject areas and periods. Also, some courses have more compulsory modules than others.

    By the way, why Birkbeck? Of you choices lifted above, it seems a little strange.
    My uncle is a lecturer for history there and the course seems good and it's a safety option really... I don't have any intention of attending there if I can help it.
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    My uncle is a lecturer for history there and the course seems good and it's a safety option really... I don't have any intention of attending there if I can help it.
    Hmmm.... I will try to put thoughts of nepotism out of my head!

    Instead I will suggest that you are suffering from a logic failure here.

    If you have no intention of studying at Birkbeck (or any uni) then there is no point in applying there, or even wasting much time considering doing so.

    OK, let's agree you need a lower option. However, if you have even a halfway reasonable chance of getting into Oxford, Bristol, UCL, Princeton, Yale etc, then tbh Birkbeck with its requirement of 260 Ucas points is well below where you should be looking for a safe insurance choice.
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    (Original post by ageshallnot)
    Hmmm.... I will try to put thoughts of nepotism out of my head!

    Instead I will suggest that you are suffering from a logic failure here.

    If you have no intention of studying at Birkbeck (or any uni) then there is no point in applying there, or even wasting much time considering doing so.

    OK, let's agree you need a lower option. However, if you have even a halfway reasonable chance of getting into Oxford, Bristol, UCL, Princeton, Yale etc, then tbh Birkbeck with its requirement of 260 Ucas points is well below where you should be looking for a safe insurance choice.
    If you say so
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    If you say so
    I do, quite seriously.
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    (Original post by ageshallnot)
    I do, quite seriously.
    Where would you advise looking into? I'm not even sure if I'm going to go for Oxbridge. I'm more inclined towards Edinburgh and then Exeter (just recently looked into) and UCL.
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    Where would you advise looking into? I'm not even sure if I'm going to go for Oxbridge. I'm more inclined towards Edinburgh and then Exeter (just recently looked into) and UCL.
    If you have aspirations of at least AAA (which is what you would need for the likes of Oxbridge, Exeter, UCL etc) then I would suggest that ABB should be fine for an insurance.

    http://www.whatuni.com/degrees/cours...e.html?nd&rf=g is a search for History courses requiring a minimum of ABB though it's a bit rough and ready. Note that if a uni gives entry requirements as e.g. ABB-AAA the lower offer is usually 'contextual' i.e. for applicants who are socially or educationally disadvantaged.

    However, as with all History degrees you should look very carefully at the course content. With any uni you are considering, look at what is on offer for each term/semester of the three years. List them out and see if some unis look particularly attractive or particularly dull. Consider such factors as whether you have to study a minimum number of modules from different eras, or how many modules are compulsory.

    BTW note that Oxford are known to value excellent GCSEs. Cambridge prefer high marks at AS/A2 but the change in A-levels is going to bring about a change in the way they evaluate pre-A2 applicants.
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    (Original post by ageshallnot)
    If you have aspirations of at least AAA (which is what you would need for the likes of Oxbridge, Exeter, UCL etc) then I would suggest that ABB should be fine for an insurance.

    http://www.whatuni.com/degrees/cours...e.html?nd&rf=g is a search for History courses requiring a minimum of ABB though it's a bit rough and ready. Note that if a uni gives entry requirements as e.g. ABB-AAA the lower offer is usually 'contextual' i.e. for applicants who are socially or educationally disadvantaged.

    However, as with all History degrees you should look very carefully at the course content. With any uni you are considering, look at what is on offer for each term/semester of the three years. List them out and see if some unis look particularly attractive or particularly dull. Consider such factors as whether you have to study a minimum number of modules from different eras, or how many modules are compulsory.

    BTW note that Oxford are known to value excellent GCSEs. Cambridge prefer high marks at AS/A2 but the change in A-levels is going to bring about a change in the way they evaluate pre-A2 applicants.
    Yeah, I knew about the GCSEs and Oxford - thank you though. See the thing is, everyone jumps when I say the US Universities but people don't realise that they look at SO much more than the UK ones do. Grades aren't everything to them.

    I just thought I'd say that before people start feeding me rubbish about them.
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    Yeah, I knew about the GCSEs and Oxford - thank you though. See the thing is, everyone jumps when I say the US Universities but people don't realise that they look at SO much more than the UK ones do. Grades aren't everything to them.

    I just thought I'd say that before people start feeding me rubbish about them.
    True, though they are likely to cost a lot more unless you qualify for the financial support which many of them offer. That would seem unlikely given you are studying A-levels at a private college.

    You also need to look carefully at the structure of US and Canadian degrees. I believe you study several subjects initially and only specialise later on, but I could be wrong.
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    (Original post by ageshallnot)
    True, though they are likely to cost a lot more unless you qualify for the financial support which many of them offer. That would seem unlikely given you are studying A-levels at a private college.

    You also need to look carefully at the structure of US and Canadian degrees. I believe you study several subjects initially and only specialise later on, but I could be wrong.
    You are not wrong but it varies from college to college. I would qualify for substantial aid; I am at my private college on scholarship.
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    I am concerned that you are looking largely at the very top unis and this increases the risk of getting all rejections. Exeter for example have bee making offers of A*A*A this year. You certainly should include 2 unis of AAB or ABB to cover yourself. as far as the likes of Yale and Princeton are concerned good luck is needed as they are vastly oversubsribed
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    (Original post by swanseajack1)
    I am concerned that you are looking largely at the very top unis and this increases the risk of getting all rejections. Exeter for example have bee making offers of A*A*A this year. You certainly should include 2 unis of AAB or ABB to cover yourself. as far as the likes of Yale and Princeton are concerned good luck is needed as they are vastly oversubsribed
    Yeah but I'm in a sort of unlucky situation here... most of the unis that offer ABB or whatever, for history, are either pretty poor in reputation, dont offer the exact course i want to do, or have an incredibly rubbish course for history in terms of what is studied.

    So, I'm sort of stuck.
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    (Original post by DelReyRevolution)
    Yeah but I'm in a sort of unlucky situation here... most of the unis that offer ABB or whatever, for history, are either pretty poor in reputation, dont offer the exact course i want to do, or have an incredibly rubbish course for history in terms of what is studied.

    So, I'm sort of stuck.
    Birmingham Cardiff kent Lancaster queen mary and royal Holloway are certainly not rubbish. you need to start living in the real world otherwise you might end up falling flat on your face. stop just trying to live up to just the most reputed unis and put down different types of uni to ensure you get something rather than possibly ending up with all rejections
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    (Original post by swanseajack1)
    I am concerned that you are looking largely at the very top unis and this increases the risk of getting all rejections. Exeter for example have bee making offers of A*A*A this year. You certainly should include 2 unis of AAB or ABB to cover yourself. as far as the likes of Yale and Princeton are concerned good luck is needed as they are vastly oversubsribed
    (Original post by swanseajack1)
    Birmingham Cardiff kent Lancaster queen mary and royal Holloway are certainly not rubbish. you need to start living in the real world otherwise you might end up falling flat on your face. stop just trying to live up to just the most reputed unis and put down different types of uni to ensure you get something rather than possibly ending up with all rejections
    You are correct that the unis you quoted are all good and all offer History around the AAB/ABB mark - I would suggest that Royal Holloway's ABB represents a 'bargain', for example.

    While your advice is generally excellent - and I have repped you for it - sometimes you go a little over the top. The OP is well aware of the need for a safety net, hence his comments about Birkbeck. He is also in the early stages of research, and should be commended for thinking outside the box in considering studying overseas if it makes financial as well as educational sense.

    The OP did not describe all courses around ABB as rubbish. He said they were rubbish 'in terms of what is studied', which is very different and dependent on personal interests. I believe you would agree that the course content is extremely important in a History degree and if university X does not offer the type of history the OP wishes to study, then he should not apply there. (FWIW I studied History a long time ago, but the course has changed so much in the interim that I would not apply there nowadays even though the uni has an excellent reputation for the subject.)

    I would also point out that applying to 5 'top' unis is a perfectly valid approach if the applicant 1) is prepared to receive 5 rejections and/or out-of-reach offers, 2) has come to the logical decision that they are the only universities which satisfy their ambitions at that point in time given the cost commitment, and 3) is prepared either to go through clearing or reapply the following year with their achieved A2 grades. Berating someone in the manner and tone of your second post is not always the most helpful way forward.
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    Oxford do look at GCSE results carefully, so bear this in mind, especially for a competitive course like History. And you do know that you study a range of subjects in your first year at college in America?

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    (Original post by swanseajack1)
    Birmingham Cardiff kent Lancaster queen mary and royal Holloway are certainly not rubbish. you need to start living in the real world otherwise you might end up falling flat on your face. stop just trying to live up to just the most reputed unis and put down different types of uni to ensure you get something rather than possibly ending up with all rejections
    I'm sorry but you've actually just tried to have some freak go at me. I don't think those universities are poor. You need to actually read what I wrote before commenting.
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    you have chosen unis as follows 1,3 and 4 rated in usa.1, 3 and 6 in Canada. 2,3,7,8,10 and 13 in uk. outside of this you have only looked at 1 uni in uk. all these unis have loads of the very best students applying there and are extremely difficult to get into. most of the applicants will have better gcse results and many will have exceptional a level very often in excess of AAA. There is a very strong possibility of rejection from these unis yet the only other uni is a far lower rated uni. it is obvious looking at this that you have only looked at the very top unis and have rejected everything else. it is your choice to do this and if you get rejected you will be the one to blame. to suggest there is no suitable uni offering AAB or ABB shows total disrespect to all the excellent unis doing that and highlights your way of thinking
 
 
 
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