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    Hi!

    I’m an international student looking to study in the UK in 2015. Haven’t quite heard in from all my ucas colleges yet, but given my current acceptances I’m basically torn between studying Environment and Development at LSE and Sustainable Development at St. Andrews. People in my personal life tend to be pushing me towards LSE, I suppose mainly because of the “branding”, but given what people say here on TSR, it seems as though the environment at LSE is cutthroat, hypercompetitive, and just generally unpleasant. I am very career-oriented, and would like to end up working for a thinktank or NGO soon after university, but I really don’t want give up on the idea of friends for the next three years of my life.

    How would you guys describe the student experience at St. Andrews, and the academics? (Especially compared to LSE).
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    Well, I haven't been to LSE so i can't compare but academics wise I would say St Andrews is average, it was lower than I expected however my expectations were high considering St Andrews rankings (at the time St Andrews was ranked 4th/6th so I kind of expected a strongly ambitious, nerdy bunch studying at the library often).

    I feel like career wise, people in St Andrews don't seem as ambitious. I say this because I just don't see much news about St Andrews students winning competitions, participating in global events, winning major scholarships etc. I don't hear much about major companies coming to St Andrews to recruit either. This may be in part due to the type of student who comes to St Andrews but it doesn't have the cutthroat competition that I came to expect. This is a good thing in my opinion, but it depends on what you are looking for.

    I don't know about LSE, but for my experience going to an ultra-competitive high school in a major city, I feel like LSE will be more cutthroat as its definitely going to attract more ambitious types. St Andrews the town also seems to lead people to a more relaxing time (i've certainly become much more study focused and have done fewer extracurriculars), it is a small town far from London, you will make friends and have a good time, but if you have big plans for your career I would recommend LSE.

    Hope this helps.
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    (Original post by Okorange)
    Well, I haven't been to LSE so i can't compare but academics wise I would say St Andrews is average, it was lower than I expected however my expectations were high considering St Andrews rankings (at the time St Andrews was ranked 4th/6th so I kind of expected a strongly ambitious, nerdy bunch studying at the library often).

    Hi! Thanks its good to hear an opinion. What did you study specifically there? I thought they were quite renowned for their international relations/geography/sustainable development programs?
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    (Original post by Lech)
    Hi! Thanks its good to hear an opinion. What did you study specifically there? I thought they were quite renowned for their international relations/geography/sustainable development programs?
    I studied medicine there
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    (Original post by Lech)

    I really don’t want give up on the idea of friends for the next three years of my life.
    You know it's a 4-year course rather than 3, right? And in the Scottish system you normally take additional subjects?
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    (Original post by oldlady)
    You know it's a 4-year course rather than 3, right? And in the Scottish system you normally take additional subjects?
    I do know that
    There I was refering to LSE. People at St. Andrews seem quite friendly.
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    (Original post by Lech)
    I do know that
    There I was refering to LSE. People at St. Andrews seem quite friendly.
    Oh good, sorry for checking - sometimes people are a bit surprised to discover the Scottish system is different. I know every year there's a total panic when people discover they are expecte to arrive at the BEGINING of September, for example. Yes, it's friendly, mainly because it's so small and you can't help bumping into people you know on the street. My sons have both made plenty of friends, through societies, sports and people they met in first year hall; one of them admittedly makes friends like falling off a log, but the other doesn't and he has still found a good niche with firm friends. You do hear a few people say they struggle and that the close-knit friendships which form quite quickly can feel excluding if you're unlucky enough not to find a niche quickly. What I'd say, though, is that some people will find it hard to make friends wherever they are; at least St Andrews provides a more conducive/facilitative environment for those who are shy than, say, London. (I spent some time at LSE and it can feel quite a disparate big city community. But of course it's also a great and lively university!)
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    (Original post by oldlady)
    Oh good, sorry for checking - sometimes people are a bit surprised to discover the Scottish system is different.

    Yes, it's friendly, mainly because it's so small and you can't help bumping into people you know on the street. My sons have both made plenty of friends, through societies, sports and people they met in first year hall; one of them admittedly makes friends like falling off a log, but the other doesn't and he has still found a good niche with firm friends. You do hear a few people say they struggle and that the close-knit friendships which form quite quickly can feel excluding if you're unlucky enough not to find a niche quickly. What I'd say, though, is that some people will find it hard to make friends wherever they are; at least St Andrews provides a more conducive/facilitative environment for those who are shy than, say, London. !)
    Oh dear. Yes I guess if one doesn't read the prospectus at all they could come across some potentially unfortunate surprises xD

    I definitely like the sound of the closeness and friendliness of social life at St. Andrews, it makes it seem like a bit more of a community than the one at LSE. I wouldn't describe myself as shy but as an international student I can predict that I might have a bit of trouble adjusting at first so perhaps the conducive/facilitative environment you describe is better for me. (Then again, LSE is great too. Its such a difficult decision that at this rate I think I may just choose based on the courses alone)
    Thanks for the insight!
 
 
 
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