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    Hi everyone!

    As this is my first post in this board I'd like to introduce myself. My name is ghassan, i am 18 years old and currently still attending highschool in a far too small german town

    As, in my opinion, I have been stuck in Germany way too long, after spending a year abroad in Beijing, I finally decided to study at a british university after graduating from highschool in 2008.

    So far so good.... now it was my problem, that I really did not know that much about where to start searching for the right university and the right course for me and apart from that there of course were other things that i had to think about like tuition fees and accomodation.
    As I want to study a course in the field of politics and international relations my first step was it to look at the university rankings of the guardian and the times to get a first hint where to start my search. After having narrowed down the number of possible universities and after ordering and reading roughly 100 undergraduate prospectuses of different universities( At some point I stopped counting ) I think that I have a clearer picture of which 5 courses I might choose in september but i am still really unsure, as I base my choice only on prospectuses and internet research. Fortunately I've found this board, where I already found some good advice from a real student's perspective, for what I want to thank all of you
    Coming to my question I would like to know your objective opinion on my current thoughts about which 5 courses I'd like to chose, as I think that as I said my choice might be based on a very unilateral point of view.

    So after this hopefully not too boring introduction here are my five choices and my reasons for choosing them:

    1st: Warwick: PPE // 2nd: Warwick: Economics,Politics and International Studied

    After having a look at the different university and subject rankings it seemed obvious to me that the University of Warwick always is to be found in the top ten of the overall and the league tables and the guardian even ranks it third both politics and economics after oxbridge. Also I begin to like the thought of adding economics to my degree as I think that although i had some kind of antipathy against economics in further times, it obviously is an important factor in our modern world and also in the case of job prospects a good choice. I chose PPE and EPAIS both as I definitely wanted to do a multidisciplinary degree, as it gives me a wide range of opportunities to specialize myself with a following master degree. I think I would prefer PPE over EPAIS as it might be more renowned and as I have also always been much into philosophy. But as I know that PPE is really competetive I think I would also put EPAIS at Warwick as my 2nd choice, as apart from academic quality I think also the idea of modern campus university and somehow living in a "bubble" for some time really appeals to me as I am not too much of an open person and I think that it might be easier for me on a real campus university to make new friends (if I am totally wrong with this please correct me )

    3rd choice: York: PPE

    In fact after having found out about the PPE course that really appealed to me I looked where else I could take the same course and after reading some threads here I think York might be a good alternative to Warwick, as it might not be that renowned as a university itself but also as its often said that the PPE course at York is more developed that in Warwick. As a university I dont really know what to think of York because for me it pretty much looks like a total "standard university"( whatever that exactly shall be its just my feel about it) and i guess from what Ive read that it might also not be that internationally renowned, what is not totally important for me but also have to be taken into account especially for me as an international student.

    4th: SOAS: Politics and Economics/ Development Studies /// Aberystwyth: International Relations

    For my 4th choice I am still unsure. On one hand from the first time when I've heard about SOAS I really had a positive feeling about it, as it is a small university with a really gread cultural diversity, what I would really like about my future university. Also its international reputation seems to be great and the fact that there are courses such as Development Studies that you cannot find at other universities. But I always have to consider the high living costs in London and I also think that SOAS might be a better place to do my postgraduate studies as it is a great place with many options to specialize with a masters degree but it seems to me that it is not such a good choice to do a basic undergraduate degree like I want it.
    On the other hand there is Aberystwyth, which I frankly spoken had never heard of before until I read about it here in the politics section, as it seems to be internationally renowned for its international relations degree . I began to think about it as a good insurance if my abitur wont be as good as i expect, but i still dont know if I would have the guts to go there , although it isnt ranked high in any overall or league tables i know.

    5th: LSE: International Relations/ Cambridge: SPS

    It may seem strange that i name this "top universities" at last and not at first, but what i read here in the board about those top universities and what i found out on the internet made me really hesitant, about whether or whether not those universites are right for me. As I mentioned of couse academic quality and also job prospects are really important for me, as I can not go and study abroad just for having fun:=) But the atmosphere of the place is also really important to me. And I really dont want to to get to a place where almost everyone is totally focussed on his or her career and on being the best of all as you find it in most places where only the best study. This might sound a little bit weird and might also be a prejudice but I have already experienced such a situation myself and I think(also from what I have read here ) that there is at least a little bit of truth in my thoughts. So there is the choice between on the one hand academic qualitiy which likely is best as those two universities and on the other hand atmosphere which might not fit for me. By the way you might be wondering why I am not considering Oxford for studying PPE, but in this case I think the atmosphere thing is even worse( what also could just be totally wrong its just how I see it at the moment )
    In fact I just want to take one of the top universities as my choice, so that I can also use my abitur grades if they are going to be optimal ( about what i can not say much at the moment as there is still one year to go). Of Course I know that even with best grades the top unis are still really competitive but from my point of view still worth giving it a try. Well all in all that is my opinion(which really is totally subjective and might be biased) about whether i should or should not apply for a top university and as you see I am really unsure and waiting for your advice

    So after this long explanation of my thoughts I am really curious to hear your opinion on the whole thing I want to thank you in common for every piece of advice you give me and I also apologize for my bad english



    All the universities you have chosen are quitehigh ranking, I would advise that you put at least one option of a university with lower grade boundries. Also, if you were wanting to go to Cambridge, I have heard that when you make your choices it can't be your insurance choice (not 100% on this, but have been told). Also, I think you need to look at where this is, as you seem to place some emphasis on the place (you comment on your town/village in which you live). These places are all quite different, so if it was at all possible I would advise coming to UK just to see these places (not necessarily on an open day), as I have always found York quite quiet. Would definitely encourage you applying to Cambridge and LSE though.
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