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    Well it's certainly not terrible, but mathematics and physical sciences is most definitely not UCL's strongest suit-- it's better in the humanities. The science departments tend to lack funding, great teaching, quite scrambled and more. I thought I was the only one who noticed this during open day, but after seeing some TSR reviews, I guess I wasn't the only one who did hm.

    (Original post by Frantichinos)
    what makes its maths department not good?
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    Overrated: Warwick
    Underrated: Aston, Lancaster

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    (Original post by frognation22)
    Yes good point. I've seen some subjects that will accept you with AAB, but what I've also found interesting is that for its more competitive subjects-sometimes it requires higher entry requirements than Oxbridge does.
    The lowest Entry requirement at UCL is ABB (Education/Urban Planning/Urban Studies/Project Management for Construction/Fine art/East European History/Scandinavian/Dutch/Jewish etc. also there are many courses with AAB-ABB requirements). It's a huge university with 5,500+ undergraduate students every year. The range of academic achievement is vary.

    UCL had better reduce its undergraduate students (and increase postgraduate students instead), just like
    Columbia university with 8,410 undergraduates and 19,532 postgraduates, that I found very wise in terms of brand strategies.
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    (Original post by TeaAndTextbooks)
    Overrated: Warwick
    Underrated: Aston, Lancaster

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    (Original post by bj1)
    Imperial. I was having second thoughts for not applying there, because of its reputation, £5000 bursary and for the course I was interested in, 'Environmental Biology and Ecology', it had lower requirements than Natural Sciences which I had applied for elsewhere. However upon looking at the employment figures for that course, only ~75% were employed/further study after 6 months which is worrying since it was a decent sample size, too (~100), this figure is usually over 85-90%. I can only guess that it's because it may be a new course or they specialise quite a lot in the maths/physics/engineering side of things which they are known for, but not so much biology.

    This UCL bashing is quite worrying too, I have an offer from them for natural sciences and from Durham too, my top two choices. I wonder what is wrong exactly (except for the extortionate rent which I have heard about) or are they students from a 'rival' university by any chance?

    I'd say Nottingham and Manchester for being underrated. I think the only reason for their lower ranking is because they have so many students and such a wide range of courses, but they deserve more recognition.

    Warwick is an interesting one... I didn't apply there but the people I know who did apply got offers from them within a few weeks, but seem to have written them off completely, for various reasons including 'it's too modern', 'ugly', 'prison-like, terrible accommodation'. Perhaps its underrated in some regard? It claims to have always been in the top 10 since records began but I don't know many who have it as a first choice.
    UCL are fine for natural sciences and even subjects like CivEng dw, They are just much better in humanities and arts than they are in sciences.

    People bash UCL likely because students, and the university itself go on like they're the best thing since sliced bread and just behind oxbridge for everything, when in reality they're mediocre in most science based subjects. I pushed my sibling to firm UCL but had they been pursuing something like Engineering i'd have advised them to avoid that university like its the plague.

    Also if you ever want to go into banking UCL is a target.
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    (Original post by bj1)
    However upon looking at the employment figures for that course, only ~75% were employed/further study after 6 months which is worrying since it was a decent sample size, too (~100), this figure is usually over 85-90%.
    Though I'm not familiar with this subject, it seems Graduate Prospect score in Biological studies is low in general. According to CUG, aside from Cambridge and Robert Gordon, all universities are below 80% (Imperial 79%, Oxford 78%, Durham 76%, UCL 73%). Plus it's not so accurate index as CUG says "A relatively low score on this measure does not mean that many graduates were unemployed. It may be that some had low-level jobs such as shop assistants, which do not normally recruit graduates. Some universities recruit a high proportion of local students and so if they are located in an area where graduate jobs are hard to come by this can depress the outcome".

    (Original post by bj1)
    This UCL bashing is quite worrying too, I have an offer from them for natural sciences and from Durham too, my top two choices. I wonder what is wrong exactly (except for the extortionate rent which I have heard about) or are they students from a 'rival' university by any chance?
    Like I posted before and some other people also mentioned, It's simply not as selective as its prestige. I guess that's basically the main reason. It's a large university with over 35,000+ students ranging from A*A*A* to ABB, so unlikely Oxbridge/Imperial, being a UCL student doesn't automatically prove you are a master race of academics. But I don't think STEM students at UCL are disrespected in most cases. Mostly people (and recruiters perhaps) will show some respect like "you must be smart" if they know you are studying some natural science at UCL.

    (Original post by Oilfreak1)
    UCL are fine for natural sciences and even subjects like CivEng dw, They are just much better in humanities and arts than they are in sciences.

    People bash UCL likely because students, and the university itself go on like they're the best thing since sliced bread and just behind oxbridge for everything, when in reality they're mediocre in most science based subjects. I pushed my sibling to firm UCL but had they been pursuing something like Engineering i'd have advised them to avoid that university like its the plague.
    UCL is also excellent in Medical studies. For example, the percentage of papers published in top 20% journals of Medical fields is 97%, which is even higher than Harvard(96.9%) and Johns Hopkins(91.4%) according to ARWU (and 8th best in the world in terms of total research outputs). Without a doubt it's the strongest field at UCL.

    UCL reminds me NYU a lot. Both universities are located in hearts of nations' economy, target unis for City/Wall street. Some subjects/departments are one of the best(Law/Econ/Med at UCL and Phil/Math/Econ/Business at NYU) but some are not(Engineering at both unis). not as highly selective as other top universities on average because of their "size", but very popular nationwide. Famous for quality of social life and rich extracurricular activities easily making students feel their universities have unique and special values that other top universities don't have.
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    (Original post by RussellG)
    Though I'm not familiar with this subject, it seems Graduate Prospect score in Biological studies seem to low in general. According to CUG, aside from Cambridge and Robert Gordon, all universities are below 80% (Imperial 79%, Oxford 78%, Durham 76%, UCL 73%). Plus it's not so accurate index as CUG says "A relatively low score on this measure does not mean that many graduates were unemployed. It may be that some had low-level jobs such as shop assistants, which do not normally recruit graduates. Some universities recruit a high proportion of local students and so if they are located in an area where graduate jobs are hard to come by this can depress the outcome".
    The user pinched that data from the UniStats website for that specific course, not from CUG's grad prospects metric. I believe they give a breakdown of graduate level vs non-graduate level on top of the career fields students end up in.

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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    The user pinched that data from the UniStats website for that specific course, not from CUG's grad prospects metric. I believe they give a breakdown of graduate level vs non-graduate level on top of the career fields students end up in.
    Yeah, it seems you are right. it looks much more useful data than CUG's one.

    Although employment rate of this course at Imperial is indeed oddly bad, I noticed the average salary six months after the course(£25,000) is much higher than biology courses at other rival universities(Oxford(£21,000),UC L(£22,000),Durham(£16,000)). So maybe they are aiming higher than students at other universities...?
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    (Original post by RussellG)
    Though I'm not familiar with this subject, it seems Graduate Prospect score in Biological studies is low in general. According to CUG, aside from Cambridge and Robert Gordon, all universities are below 80% (Imperial 79%, Oxford 78%, Durham 76%, UCL 73%). [/i]".

    Like I posted before and some other people also mentioned, It's simply not as selective as its prestige. I guess that's basically the main reason. It's a large university with over 35,000+ students ranging from A*A*A* to ABB, so unlikely Oxbridge/Imperial, being a UCL student doesn't automatically prove you are a master race of academics. But I don't think STEM students at UCL are disrespected in most cases. Mostly people (and recruiters perhaps) will show some respect like "you must be smart" if they know you are studying some natural science at UCL.
    Thanks for such a detailed reply! As Princepieman correctly stated I got the info from Unistats.

    The selectivity issue doesn't apply as much since Natural sciences requires A*AA (!) however I wanted to know more about the student experience and what the staff are like. It seems like a research powerhouse for science, you hear of UCL quite a lot on all kinds of research but the impression I have got on here so far is that perhaps this has an impact on the quality of undergraduate teaching? There didn't seem to be a 'centralised' organisation when I visited (someone did mention earlier), so I worried about making friends other than in halls, hard to meet up with people,etc...
    Many say that if you don't enjoy it, you won't do well, others say choose a better course/place and suffer a bit and it'll be better long term!

    Referring to your later post... Perhaps Imperial's salary is higher because they decide to stay in London - e.g. research positions available, etc? While Durham's biology salary is low in comparison, like you say it depends on what the students go for, AFAIK it is just as targeted by employers than other top unis for 'graduate' jobs. Also, I have applied for Natural sciences which is higher than the single science.

    To be quite honest the reason why I ask is because parental (and their friends) pressure (but not peer pressure) is leaning towards UCL because they have 'heard of it' and that in the news it always pops up (I.e. Research) and as for Durham* they say outside this country 'nobody has heard of it'. However after visiting both I just felt more comfortable in the closer college atmosphere at Durham and the academic departments seemed decently 'rigorous' enough, particularly for Earth science which I plan to do alongside Biology in Nat,Sci. I wanted to know if UCL was academically miles superior but interestingly it doesn't seem to have cracked up to be. Which is a shame really.

    (*of course as well as Durham I'd say this similarly applies to other good universities not in big cities e.g. Exeter, York, Bath, etc, (but not St Andrews thanks to two famous alumni :rolleyes:)
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    (Original post by RussellG)
    The lowest Entry requirement at UCL is ABB (Education/Urban Planning/Urban Studies/Project Management for Construction/Fine art/East European History/Scandinavian/Dutch/Jewish etc. also there are many courses with AAB-ABB requirements). It's a huge university with 5,500+ undergraduate students every year. The range of academic achievement is vary.

    UCL had better reduce its undergraduate students (and increase postgraduate students instead), just like
    Columbia university with 8,410 undergraduates and 19,532 postgraduates, that I found very wise in terms of brand strategies.
    Yes I very much agree with you! I quite like how American private universities have a small undergraduate population and a large graduate population/how the academic achievement in these universities does not vary like it would at a school like UCL or LSE. There's such a wide level of academic achievement at our universities (Oxbridge and Imperial being exceptions) because our admissions isn't central. As a result, sometimes its harder to generalise them like many would when it comes to North American schools in my opinion

    I actually think this is one of the reasons why I was reluctant to stay in the UK for uni- I quite like being in an environment where there is less variety when it comes to academic achievement- yet strangely enough, I never tried to apply to Oxbridge and Imperial and frankly, I'm now regretting it indeed. -sigh-
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    [QUOTE=bj1;63939737]Thanks for such a detailed reply! As Princepieman correctly stated I got the info from Unistats.

    The selectivity issue doesn't apply as much since Natural sciences requires A*AA (!) however I wanted to know more about the student experience and what the staff are like. It seems like a research powerhouse for science, you hear of UCL quite a lot on all kinds of research but the impression I have got on here so far is that perhaps this has an impact on the quality of undergraduate teaching? There didn't seem to be a 'centralised' organisation when I visited (someone did mention earlier), so I worried about making friends other than in halls, hard to meet up with people,etc...
    Many say that if you don't enjoy it, you won't do well, others say choose a better course/place and suffer a bit and it'll be better long term!

    Referring to your later post... Perhaps Imperial's salary is higher because they decide to stay in London - e.g. research positions available, etc? While Durham's biology salary is low in comparison, like you say it depends on what the students go for, AFAIK it is just as targeted by employers than other top unis for 'graduate' jobs. Also, I have applied for Natural sciences which is higher than the single science.

    To be quite honest the reason why I ask is because parental (and their friends) pressure (but not peer pressure) is leaning towards UCL because they have 'heard of it' and that in the news it always pops up (I.e. Research) and as for Durham* they say outside this country 'nobody has heard of it'. However after visiting both I just felt more comfortable in the closer college atmosphere at Durham and the academic departments seemed decently 'rigorous' enough, particularly for Earth science which I plan to do alongside Biology in Nat,Sci. I wanted to know if UCL was academically miles superior but interestingly it doesn't seem to have cracked up to be. Which is a shame really.

    (*of course as well as Durham I'd say this similarly applies to other good universities not in big cities e.g. Exeter, York, Bath, etc, (but not St Andrews thanks to two

    What did you like about Durham Earth Science? As for UCL I visited recently and it does seem like a good uni academically but I was disappointed with the accommodation especially with the price of living in London, seems to be higher on the international leaderboards than it does on the national ones
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    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    It seems like a research powerhouse for science, you hear of UCL quite a lot on all kinds of research but the impression I have got on here so far is that perhaps this has an impact on the quality of undergraduate teaching?
    IMHO, The research standards and rich facilities talk a lot for postgraduate studies obviously, but not so much for undergraduates. Making a concrete and unbroken foundation of advance knowledge in science and math is up to how enthusiastic for teaching lecturers are, and how close relations between lecturers/tutors and students are. And as you can imagine, good researchers don't mean good teachers. Often good researchers are bad teachers tbh. Though they definitely know recent trends of their fields and lots of technique for how to make their papers being accepted by top journals, which is extremely important and useful for postgraduate especially doctoral students, but aside from some prodigies, they are irrelevant topics for most undergraduate students.


    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    There didn't seem to be a 'centralised' organisation when I visited (someone did mention earlier), so I worried about making friends other than in halls, hard to meet up with people,etc...
    Many say that if you don't enjoy it, you won't do well, others say choose a better course/place and suffer a bit and it'll be better long term!
    Mostly, you will get your friends from your course and your hall. But it's located in London, so you can find any social relations from anywhere if you are active. And all UoL colleges share their libraries and sports facilities. So I think it's quite hard to avoid knowing students from other colleges.

    I think the anxious part is more about cost and budget. London is anyway much more expensive than any other cities in the UK, in addition, there are tons of rich students (especially oversea students) who use their parents' credit cards just like paper napkins, asking you to go out to posh places in the weekend.

    At the end, all up to you if you can enjoy somewhere or not. I think it's nearly impossible to generalise where is the better place for fun.

    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    Referring to your later post... Perhaps Imperial's salary is higher because they decide to stay in London - e.g. research positions available, etc? While Durham's biology salary is low in comparison, like you say it depends on what the students go for, AFAIK it is just as targeted by employers than other top unis for 'graduate' jobs. Also, I have applied for Natural sciences which is higher than the single science.
    I think so too. Though if you want to apply for some specific jobs, there are universities culturally and traditionally preferred.


    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    To be quite honest the reason why I ask is because parental (and their friends) pressure (but not peer pressure) is leaning towards UCL because they have 'heard of it' and that in the news it always pops up (I.e. Research) and as for Durham* they say outside this country 'nobody has heard of it'.
    If you are planning to work abroad, the name recognition may be better to be considered. Although you can definitely have a chance to use your mouth and pen to justify how good your institution and university is academically. So it won't be too much trouble from my point of view.


    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    However after visiting both I just felt more comfortable in the closer college atmosphere at Durham and the academic departments seemed decently 'rigorous' enough, particularly for Earth science which I plan to do alongside Biology in Nat,Sci.
    Your impression is actually correct. Aside from reputation issues, Durham's research standards in natural science fields are more or less the same level of UCL.



    Not only UCL, but also Bristol, Warwick, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, OSU, ENS Paris, Tech Munich, and ANU have similar research standards of Durham in natural science fields (you may not have heard of some, but all are research powerhouses in STEM fields.). So Durham is actually much more decent than its name recognition in those subjects. The percentage of papers published in top 20% journals of natural science fields at Durham is 91.5% meaning the vast majority of the scholars are first class researchers (This percentage is 83.5% at UCL, Although I want to be fair to mention that natural science is not the strongest part of UCL, once again.)


    (Original post by BradEvenden)
    I wanted to know if UCL was academically miles superior but interestingly it doesn't seem to have cracked up to be. Which is a shame really.

    What did you like about Durham Earth Science? As for UCL I visited recently and it does seem like a good uni academically but I was disappointed with the accommodation especially with the price of living in London, seems to be higher on the international leaderboards than it does on the national ones
    UCL as a whole research institution, it is much better than Durham. It has 4 times more scholars, 4 times more postgraduate students, as a result 5 times more research grants. If you think this is the important factor for you, I think you had better choose UCL. But if you prefer college education, caring environment and smaller universities, then perhaps Durham is the place to go. It's a matter of who you are like, and what you like about.
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    Sorry I missed your post. Somehow I want to encourage you by the following additional explanation.

    (Original post by frognation22)
    Yes I very much agree with you! I quite like how American private universities have a small undergraduate population and a large graduate population/how the academic achievement in these universities does not vary like it would at a school like UCL or LSE.
    This basically is a bit wrong interpretation. Top american private universities are smaller and have low acceptance rate usually 20% or lower compared to UK counterparts (Though LSE is about the same size and similar acceptance rate).

    However, because of unclear admission criteria and massive weight to extracurricular activities, academic achievements of students are interestingly vary. Take a look at the following admission results of Caltech, Harvard, Pennsylvania, NYU, and UC Berkeley.

    California Institute of Technology


    Harvard University


    University of Pennsylvania


    New York University


    UC Berkeley



    As you may notice, academic achievements are strangely vary in US top universities. Unlike Oxbirdge, there is no university in the US accepting only academic high achievers. Caltech is academically most rigorous, but still there are some who are accepted with ABB equivalent (and didn't attend, wise decision). Harvard is accepting quite significant numbers of BBB equivalent students, some are even CCC or lower. It comes from an unique US admission system. In the US, the bottom 24.9% of Students' academic profiles are unreported, so normally US universities use this black box for their legacy admissions, specially wealthy students, and college sports purposes.

    And can those people graduate? Mostly yes, according to reported graduation rates for top universities. US schools are liberal arts, so if you intend to choose mickey mouse subjects and avoid to attend infamous classes, graduation mission itself is easy.

    In addition, there are so-called "group work" composing 50% of markings. Quite often student athletes are useless but can gain high marks because of paired students' extra efforts.

    So US universities clearly have their own problems. Steven Pinker, a professor at Harvard, actually warned about academically unserious admissions at US top universities damaging US societies and higher education (The following article is the one he claimed).

    The Trouble With Harvard - The Ivy league is broken and only standardized tests can fix it

    I personally prefer and respect academically rigorous European universities. If you want to study Quantum mechanics deeply for instance, Cambridge would be a better place than Harvard (of course a risk of dropout at Cambridge will be higher on the other hand). Though European universities aren't good when it comes to bring up good leaders perhaps (showing strong leadership and knowing broad knowledge perfectly fit liberal art education rather than European universities, targeting to launch specialists). All systems have pros and cons.

    ,I think you don't have to feel sad about UCL. It's a decent university providing decent education with high reputation. I only don't agree with its strategy to increase its size every year (merging IoE, launching new Olympic park campus with extra few thousand students), which may harm their reputation in future. And unlike US, it's difficult to reduce sizes of universities because sacking academic staffs is not easy under UK labor law. So increasing size is basically a one-way street.

    But being a highly selective smaller institution is not everything. NYU is doing the same (merging NYU poly, launching satellite campuses to expand its size). And still keeping its prestige in its own way. same goes for UCL.
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    (Original post by RussellG)
    Sorry I missed your post. Somehow I want to encourage you by the following additional explanation.


    This basically is a bit wrong interpretation. Top american private universities are smaller and have low acceptance rate usually 20% or lower compared to UK counterparts (Though LSE is about the same size and similar acceptance rate).

    As you may notice, academic achievements are strangely vary in US top universities. Unlike Oxbirdge, there is no university in the US accepting only academic high achievers. Caltech is academically most rigorous, but still there are some who are accepted with ABB equivalent (and didn't attend, wise decision). Harvard is accepting quite significant numbers of BBB equivalent students, some are even CCC or lower. It comes from an unique US admission system. In the US, the bottom 24.9% of Students' academic profiles are unreported, so normally US universities use this black box for their legacy admissions, specially wealthy students, and college sports purposes.

    And can those people graduate? Mostly yes, according to reported graduation rates for top universities. US schools are liberal arts, so if you intend to choose mickey mouse subjects and avoid to attend infamous classes, graduation mission itself is easy.

    In addition, there are so-called "group work" composing 50% of markings. Quite often student athletes are useless but can gain high marks because of paired students' extra efforts.

    So US universities clearly have their own problems. Steven Pinker, a professor at Harvard, actually warned about academically unserious admissions at US top universities damaging US societies and higher education (The following article is the one he claimed).

    The Trouble With Harvard - The Ivy league is broken and only standardized tests can fix it

    I personally prefer and respect academically rigorous European universities. If you want to study Quantum mechanics deeply for instance, Cambridge would be a better place than Harvard (of course a risk of dropout at Cambridge will be higher on the other hand). Though European universities aren't good when it comes to bring up good leaders perhaps (showing strong leadership and knowing broad knowledge perfectly fit liberal art education rather than European universities, targeting to launch specialists). All systems have pros and cons.

    ,I think you don't have to feel sad about UCL. It's a decent university providing decent education with high reputation. I only don't agree with its strategy to increase its size every year (merging IoE, launching new Olympic park campus with extra few thousand students), which may harm their reputation in future. And unlike US, it's difficult to reduce sizes of universities because sacking academic staffs is not easy under UK labor law. So increasing size is basically a one-way street.

    But being a highly selective smaller institution is not everything. NYU is doing the same (merging NYU poly, launching satellite campuses to expand its size). And still keeping its prestige in its own way. same goes for UCL.
    Ah yes I most certainly see where you are coming from. However, the chances are quite (if not incredibly) high that those who have BBB or even lower are either legacy students or recruited athletes, and honestly, I'd place quite a few bets that there's still a much smaller concentration of not-so genius students at a HYPSM school, compared to LSE or UCL- even with Harvard accepting around a quarter of legacy students.

    Hell, I attend an international school here--took various SAT Subject Exams (even took AP exams after self-studying extensively), did extremely well on the ACT, have great marks, great extracurriculars and yet, I was flat-out rejected to Stanford, MIT, and Columbia

    Of course not bragging about my applicant profile in any way (because after all i did get rejected), but as a result, I find it extremely difficult to believe that it would be easier, majority-speaking, for a low-achieving applicant to have a higher chance of getting accepted into a HYPSM school than he/she would for a UK university.

    I also have to disagree with the group work component I frequently see TSR members talk about...it really is not as commonly practiced as many on here make it seem--I know its quite different at large public universities where group work is more heavily valued and its easier to graduate, but at private universities?

    I've actually heard the opposite from my USA friends and brother (he's at UChicago, and in all of his years there, has come across almost no classes that value group work- all of his first year exams were in-class papers. He had 10-15% dedicated to participation in seminar during his first year). if there's one thing that they're notorious for, its the practice of grade deflation (obviously there are private schools that also inflate like Brown), which makes it extremely difficult to receive high marks-as you probably already know its extremely common at Chicago, MIT, Columbia to name a few.

    Any input on USA admissions? (Sorry for dragging you into this heh) ivybridge
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    (Original post by frognation22)
    I really feel sorry for your admission results. And it must be painful.

    I'm quite sure you will get over it once you start your university course.And it doesn't deny you are intellectual really! It seems you are smart enough to be successful for your future study and career for sure .

    I don't want to pour salt into your wound, but I want to respond a bit, if you don't mind.

    (Original post by frognation22)
    Hell, I attend an international school here--took various SAT Subject Exams (even took AP exams after self-studying extensively), did extremely well on the ACT, have great marks, great extracurriculars and yet, I was flat-out rejected to Stanford, MIT, and Columbia

    Of course not bragging about my applicant profile in any way (because after all i did get rejected), but as a result, I find it extremely difficult to believe that it would be easier, majority-speaking, for a low-achieving applicant to have a higher chance of getting accepted into a HYPSM school than he/she would for a UK university.
    Although I don't know your profile at all, if you are British, applied to US top schools, and expected to be assessed based on purely academic merit, then the chance will be ridiculously tiny.

    Let's take Harvard as the example of US admission. Roughly speaking, Harvard gives 2000 offers every year, and about 11 percent are international students. As you may know, International students will be assessed independently in a different pool for international applicants, so the number of seats for them is only 220.

    Though it's not clear what exact ratio is, based on world population, 10% of the international students' seats are likely provided for European students (Though I think this number is much higher than 10% in reality). In this case, 22 places are for European applicants.

    Furthermore, like Dr. Pinker mentioned above I linked, only 10% (or even less) of Harvard students are selected based on academic merit. For European candidates, this means 2 seats.

    So 22 seats for European candidates will be likely divided as follows: 2 seats for academic prodigies, 5-6 seats for exceptional cases like legacy or sports, and 14-15 seats for students with mixed profiles of excellent academic merit and excellent extracurricular activities.

    If you don't have interesting extracurricular background enough to grab their attention, then you will be forced to compete with other British/German/French etc applicants for one of 2 seats. Even among top 10 universities, there are only 20ish seats in total for British academic experts. This is one reason why often international students complain that perfect SAT with GPA above 4.0 is even not close to US top schools.

    But the situation is quite different when it comes to domestic students aiming to get one of 1800 seats (still very hard, but not as much as the one for internationals). In fact, the acceptance rate in early action cycle for example is 16.5% for Harvard, which is much more realistic than regular decision acceptance rate with 3.2%. The highest percentage in the early action cycle among IVY is 27.2% for Cornell (composing 41% of new entrants).

    Even the situation is completely different for internationals from a country with fewer applicants to US universities. 3 people for example apply to Harvard from some area where not many people go to US colleges. This will be a much higher chance to be accepted, that you may feel unfair. But this is how US admission works AFAIK.

    So I can say, British applicants are forced to be into the theoretically fiercest competition pool along with candidates from China and India.

    But I think applying to US top schools as Americans are comparable difficulties with applying to British top schools as British. (I mean for example UK top 2 admissions are comparable with American top 10 universities and equivalent LACs, if I consider that US is 5 times more populated than UK.)


    (Original post by frognation22)
    Ah yes I most certainly see where you are coming from. However, the chances are quite (if not incredibly) high that those who have BBB or even lower are either legacy students or recruited athletes, and honestly, I'd place quite a few bets that there's still a much smaller concentration of not-so genius students at a HYPSM school, compared to LSE or UCL- even with Harvard accepting around a quarter of legacy students.
    I think so too. UK counterpart for HYPSM is Cambridge. LSE and UCL are more comparable with US top 20 to top 30. And if you compare UCL to NYU(32nd) for example, NYU's distribution map above shows more variety of academic backgrounds than UCL (acceptance rate of 31% at NYU is also similar to UCL's one(36% in total and 31% for Home students, according to the following page)).

    Breakdown of Undergraduate Admission Statistics - University College London


    (Original post by frognation22)
    I've actually heard the opposite from my USA friends and brother (he's at UChicago, and in all of his years there, has come across almost no classes that value group work- all of his first year exams were in-class papers. He had 10-15% dedicated to participation in seminar during his first year). if there's one thing that they're notorious for, its the practice of grade deflation (obviously there are private schools that also inflate like Brown), which makes it extremely difficult to receive high marks-as you probably already know its extremely common at Chicago, MIT, Columbia to name a few.
    I think it highly depends on which school. And yes Chicago is famous for its stricter assessments. Though I heard the grade deflation there has been much improved compared to its past, and not too different from other schools any more.

    Anyway, let's see how things will go after your entrance. Everything may go well there. Most likely university life and study are very different from what we imagine before our attendance. You can find nice friends/gf, study hard, go to a graduate course in some US top school or Oxbridge, and get a highly paid job in wall street or city . The past is the past, there is always a chance to be successful at any point in your life, if you don't forget to be positive .
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    (Original post by RussellG)
    I really feel sorry for your admission results. And it must be painful.

    I'm quite sure you will get over it once you start your university course.And it doesn't deny you are intellectual really! It seems you are smart enough to be successful for your future study and career for sure .

    I don't want to pour salt into your wound, but I want to respond a bit, if you don't mind.



    Although I don't know your profile at all, if you are British, applied to US top schools, and expected to be assessed based on purely academic merit, then the chance will be ridiculously tiny.

    Let's take Harvard as the example of US admission. Roughly speaking, Harvard gives 2000 offers every year, and about 11 percent are international students. As you may know, International students will be assessed independently in a different pool for international applicants, so the number of seats for them is only 220.

    Though it's not clear what exact ratio is, based on world population, 10% of the international students' seats are likely provided for European students (Though I think this number is much higher than 10% in reality). In this case, 22 places are for European applicants.

    Furthermore, like Dr. Pinker mentioned above I linked, only 10% (or even less) of Harvard students are selected based on academic merit. For European candidates, this means 2 seats.

    So 22 seats for European candidates will be likely divided as follows: 2 seats for academic prodigies, 5-6 seats for exceptional cases like legacy or sports, and 14-15 seats for students with mixed profiles of excellent academic merit and excellent extracurricular activities.

    If you don't have interesting extracurricular background enough to grab their attention, then you will be forced to compete with other British/German/French etc applicants for one of 2 seats. Even among top 10 universities, there are only 20ish seats in total for British academic experts. This is one reason why often international students complain that perfect SAT with GPA above 4.0 is even not close to US top schools.

    But the situation is quite different when it comes to domestic students aiming to get one of 1800 seats (still very hard, but not as much as the one for internationals). In fact, the acceptance rate in early action cycle for example is 16.5% for Harvard, which is much more realistic than regular decision acceptance rate with 3.2%. The highest percentage in the early action cycle among IVY is 27.2% for Cornell (composing 41% of new entrants).

    Even the situation is completely different for internationals from a country with fewer applicants to US universities. 3 people for example apply to Harvard from some area where not many people go to US colleges. This will be a much higher chance to be accepted, that you may feel unfair. But this is how US admission works AFAIK.

    So I can say, British applicants are forced to be into the theoretically fiercest competition pool along with candidates from China and India.

    But I think applying to US top schools as Americans are comparable difficulties with applying to British top schools as British. (I mean for example UK top 2 admissions are comparable with American top 10 universities and equivalent LACs, if I consider that US is 5 times more populated than UK.)




    I think so too. UK counterpart for HYPSM is Cambridge. LSE and UCL are more comparable with US top 20 to top 30. And if you compare UCL to NYU(32nd) for example, NYU's distribution map above shows more variety of academic backgrounds than UCL (acceptance rate of 31% at NYU is also similar to UCL's one(36% in total and 31% for Home students, according to the following page)).

    Breakdown of Undergraduate Admission Statistics - University College London




    I think it highly depends on which school. And yes Chicago is famous for its stricter assessments. Though I heard the grade deflation there has been much improved compared to its past, and not too different from other schools any more.

    Anyway, let's see how things will go after your entrance. Everything may go well there. Most likely university life and study are very different from what we imagine before our attendance. You can find nice friends/gf, study hard, go to a graduate course in some US top school or Oxbridge, and get a highly paid job in wall street or city . The past is the past, there is always a chance to be successful at any point in your life, if you don't forget to be positive .
    Ah no don't worry you're not really pouring any salt on my wound! I think I had terrific extracurriculars, but at the end of the day I know I can't beat myself up for it too much all of the other applicants had equally great (and obviously better) applications than mine, and well you have to pick the best of the best don't you? It's just what it is I suppose.

    I actually was not sure if I was considered a domestic or international student? (My father is an American so I have dual citizenship even though I grew up here in London) I think I was qualified to be a domestic student, but I kind of wonder if me living outside the USA still might have affected the application decision!

    And I agree Early Action/Decision is nice because they accept more applicants from that pool, but we also have to put it into perspective and realise that those who apply ED are even more serious applicants and the applicant pool has even more overachieving highly qualified/prepared students than RD-- thus highly contributing to the large acceptance rate.

    I applied ED to Columbia haha didn't even get deferred to regular decision. Oh well. I appreciate the holistic admissions process in the United States regardless, and how they really value good academic records and a personality to match (I mean technically they would also have to take into consideration a lot of things besides academics because there's more competition due to population size in the USA, and they can't admit just based on academic merit or else the schools would be flooded lol!). It's just that my dream to do undergraduate in the United States has gotten pretty slim :P

    I'm alright with UCL and LSE. I think UCL is vastly overrated (and like you said, I would equate it to NYU which is still of course a fine school), and in no way do I see how it is ranked number 5 in league tables ha. It just comes off as such bogus, and I've seen so many UCL students let these superficial rankings get into their head and choose the school for such reasons meh.

    I most certainly am sad about this...I don't know maybe I'll take a gap year-- I just don't think a UK university can meet my undergraduate expectations, and I felt like my brother got a great educational experience at a USA uni I don't think I will get at LSE or UCL. (And frankly, I am a bit tired of living here in London) Sorry for being a negative nancy ahha I'm still dwelling over this all a bit as you can see!
    (BTW I'm a girl lol I think I've made a lot of people on here into thinking I'm a guy ha! :P )
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    (Original post by frognation22)
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    I knew your gender, I just thought you are not straight because of your twisted emotion :P

    Anyway... I have an idea. Just think of it.

    Why not contacting course directors at UCL and LSE, then express your concerns about educational environment honestly? Also you can ask them about how much practically different study environment they have, and as a result how different students' average academic achievements (and average thickness of the knowledge of your field) will be, compared to top US private universities.

    If you are dissatisfied with their answers, then there are 2 options.

    (1) ask UCL to switch your course to its Liberal arts degree that is designed like US Liberal Arts, and possibly more suitable for you.

    (2) think about re-applying to US colleges. But in this case, you should either visit/contact some prep school or educational organisation helping students applying to US universities, and ask statistic odds of your success rate based on past applicants' database having similar backgrounds, or resister yourself here, and input your sat/gpa data and check your odds of getting in several universities which you are interested in. Then only if the chance seems realistic, then maybe you can challenge one more time.

    And this time, you had better (1) design your extracurricular activities and practice them wisely in next few months to make yourself look unique, compassionate, useful, and gifted enough to be successful in your future. (2) apply as many schools as possible from tier 1 to tier 3 colleges. The acceptance rate at Columbia is only 7%, but the acceptance rate at any one of top 10 if you apply all is theoretically 46.3% (sorry if I miscalculated, but you can get what I mean). All universities have different admission policies, so you are rejected by Columbia doesn't mean you will be rejected by the rest of them.

    In addition, although most of the top 10 universities have extremely low acceptance rate, top 20 are much less competitive. Cornell(14.2%), WUSTL(17.1%), Notre Dame(21.1%) for instance are much much easier to be accepted compared to Columbia(7%), Stanford(5.1%), and MIT(7.9%). Top 30 are like Carnegie Mellon(24.6%), Wake Forest(34.4%), Boston College(33.9%) and so on. And since all of them are US private colleges, they have a same format of US higher education that you really want to have.

    So apply all tier 1 universities, pick some you like from tier 2 and tier 3 as your insurance. Because your SAT and GPA are very good, at least you will get some offers from tier 2 and tier 3 in the worst case.

    I'm sure you know all what i said above. I just want to push your back to move on to next step.
    Good luck!
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    Overrated: Manchester for sure (this refers to the way university puts itself out there - makes it sound as if it's amazing when it really is a piece of ****)

    Underrated: SOAS especially in the last few years.

    I went to Manchester and I highly regret it today. I wish I had gone to SOAS instead. Not only is the amazing for law, the faculty is brilliant it has ties with Columbia university so they have exchanges of students and faculty all the time.

    I am super jealous of people who have gone to or are going to SOAS now. And my advice yo anyone thinking of going to Manchester - DONT DO IT!!

    I applied for uni in 2008 (old!) but my a level grades weren't good enough so I decided to take the foundation route. I wish I had known at that point that SOAS does foundation courses as well. I would have definitely applied. Biggest regret of my life!!!
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    (Original post by RussellG)

    Why not contacting course directors at UCL and LSE, then express your concerns about educational environment honestly? Also you can ask them about how much practically different study environment they have, and as a result how different students' average academic achievements (and average thickness of the knowledge of your field) will be, compared to top US private universities.

    I'm sure you know all what i said above. I just want to push your back to move on to next step.
    Good luck!
    Ah I haven't really talked to the course directors at LSE..I did at UCL during Open Day and whilst they were all kind and respectful, it was rather clear that maths (and just sciences in general) was definitely not its strongest suit (especially teaching quality which I value very much) and lacked great funding in that area

    I still have a few weeks to decide what to do, but admittedly, I'm 80% leaning towards taking a gap year, reapplying, and really showing the passion I have for my extracurricular activities. I would consider doing liberal arts here, but my main goal is to have a rigorous liberal arts education on top of specialising in maths, and we can't really do that here

    In a way, I've come to terms that the UK isn't right for me higher education-wise. I just find too many cons about it (many of which I would never have the power to change as a lot of it is just how our system works in general) But I guess it's okay for me to feel this way and recognise that maybe something's not right for me, and I should give one more shot at pursuing the one thing I have tried to pursue my entire life. Originally, I was quite happy to have gotten into UCL and LSE of course, and definitely was considering firming one of the two and giving them a try. However again, at this point, I know our uni system, as a whole, doesn't fit me, and I don't think it's beneficial for me to give it a chance any more sadly. I hate sounding ungrateful because I should be very lucky I have gotten an education in the first place but yeah :3
    I certainly wish I had applied to more schools this year, but it is what it is and I need to focus on achieving my future goals instead of dwelling on my past mistakes definitely.

    Thanks for the advice though, and keeping up with my overly negative attitude haha I know I've bombarded you the past few days with quite a bit of ranting so thanks for being so patient as I really do appreciate it!
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    (Original post by frognation22)
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    So, if the situation called for it would you take a larger state school in the US (like top 30-40) over UCL/LSE? In case it's bad news from the uber top ones again.

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