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Studying an MA at better (top-tier) university? What chances have I got? Watch

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    Hi all.

    After attending a 'low-tier' (in the lower half of the tables, with low entry requirements) university, can one attend (and is there a likelihood of being accepted into) a more prestigious institution (top 10 ranked university, or even Oxford/Cambridge)?

    When I did my A Levels, I underperformed due to not having any academic ambitions at the time. Since then, I decided I wanted to attend university and so went to Manchester Metropoliton. I've just started my 3rd year, am aiming for a First Hons, and am now looking at doing a Masters next year.

    Is it possible for me to get into a top-tier university (UCL, Durham, Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford etc.) to study for the MA, despite having a attended a lower ranked uni with low entry requirements, and having poor A Level results? Or is it all down to what I graduate my degree with?

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Oblong123)
    Hi all.

    After attending a 'low-tier' (in the lower half of the tables, with low entry requirements) university, can one attend (and is there a likelihood of being accepted into) a more prestigious institution (top 10 ranked university, or even Oxford/Cambridge)?

    When I did my A Levels, I underperformed due to not having any academic ambitions at the time. Since then, I decided I wanted to attend university and so went to Manchester Metropoliton. I've just started my 3rd year, am aiming for a First Hons, and am now looking at doing a Masters next year.

    Is it possible for me to get into a top-tier university (UCL, Durham, Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford etc.) to study for the MA, despite having a attended a lower ranked uni with low entry requirements, and having poor A Level results? Or is it all down to what I graduate my degree with?

    Thanks!
    "UCL, Durham, Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford etc."
    One of these things is not like the others (Lancaster). By top-tier do you mean Russell group-ish level or do you consider the five you've named to be part of the top 10 you call top-tier?
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    The MA at Oxford and Cambridge is not a master's degree.

    After a certain amount of time (7 years after matriculating for Oxford or 2 years after graduation for Cambridge), BAs can be "upgraded" to MAs by paying a nominal fee to the college.
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    (Original post by Oblong123)
    Is it possible for me to get into a top-tier university (UCL, Durham, Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford etc.) to study for the MA, despite having a attended a lower ranked uni with low entry requirements, and having poor A Level results? Or is it all down to what I graduate my degree with?
    Due to the high levels of competition for jobs, any jobs, in most academic fields the standard of the academics at lower ranked institutions can often be good, and universities use external marking and auditing to try to keep at least rough continuity across their assessment so a first from Manchester Met is worth something. (You could argue that in some ways it's more impressive than getting a first at an institution which resources its students much more.)

    So if you do well on your first degree, write a good application and have strong references then yeah, you have a chance. That's not necessarily a high chance: it's impossible to judge on a pseudonymous internet forum.
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    For the vast majority of postgrad courses, uni rankings are pretty much irrelevant. The course content should be the deciding factor. Those 'top tier' universities will not be the best choice for every subject. Employers won't care where the degree is from. What subject are we talking about here?
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    (Original post by Oblong123)
    Hi all.

    After attending a 'low-tier' (in the lower half of the tables, with low entry requirements) university, can one attend (and is there a likelihood of being accepted into) a more prestigious institution (top 10 ranked university, or even Oxford/Cambridge)?

    When I did my A Levels, I underperformed due to not having any academic ambitions at the time. Since then, I decided I wanted to attend university and so went to Manchester Metropoliton. I've just started my 3rd year, am aiming for a First Hons, and am now looking at doing a Masters next year.

    Is it possible for me to get into a top-tier university (UCL, Durham, Lancaster, Cambridge, Oxford etc.) to study for the MA, despite having a attended a lower ranked uni with low entry requirements, and having poor A Level results? Or is it all down to what I graduate my degree with?

    Thanks!
    The short answer is: yes. I went from one of the lowest ranked universities in the country to one of the highest between my BA and Masters, having done badly in my A levels. Your A levels are highly unlikely to have any bearing on postgraduate admissions.
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    Its only school-leavers who are obsessed with league-tables and rankings. Most employers (outside some up-themselves law firms and merchant banks) dont give a monkeys where your degree is from - and the same goes within academia. If you have a solid 2i or First, two supportive references and can write a sensible personal statement, where you did you first degree will not be an issue.

    Apply.
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    It doesnt matter just get a First. You Know you can check the entry requirements for Masters Courses for your course. Top Unis Normally ask for a 2.1 or First A levels arent relevant too much.https://digital.ucas.com/search
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    I graduated from an obscure university in the United States, one that is all but invisible in league tables. I had a 2.1, but amazing references and most importantly, a stellar writing sample. I was accepted at several top 10 schools in the UK including Warwick, Durham, and Exeter. I never applied to Oxford or Cambridge, but I encourage you to present yourself with credibility and skill, and you will be surprised at the doors that open up.
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    (Original post by Bhishma)
    I graduated from an obscure university in the United States, one that is all but invisible in league tables. I had a 2.1, but amazing references and most importantly, a stellar writing sample. I was accepted at several top 10 schools in the UK including Warwick, Durham, and Exeter. I never applied to Oxford or Cambridge, but I encourage you to present yourself with credibility and skill, and you will be surprised at the doors that open up.
    I needed to hear this. I didn't go to an obscure US uni, but I did graduate in 2011 and I have been anxious about the gap in between my undergraduate education and my application to graduate programs. I'm going to shoot you a PM so as not to spam the thread...
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    (Original post by etoile89)
    I needed to hear this. I didn't go to an obscure US uni, but I did graduate in 2011 and I have been anxious about the gap in between my undergraduate education and my application to graduate programs. I'm going to shoot you a PM so as not to spam the thread...
    I had 15 years between my undergrad and my PG, and got into Cambridge. They assess your application on it's standalone quality, not on judgements about external conditions.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    I had 15 years between my undergrad and my PG, and got into Cambridge. They assess your application on it's standalone quality, not on judgements about external conditions.
    THANK YOU. It's really easy to talk yourself down when it comes to particular institutions, especially if you don't come from an Ivy League background, have time gaps in your education where you had to work, and haven't published anything (because you've been working outside of academia). Reading this is very helpful.

    What course did you go on to study at Cambridge?
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    (Original post by etoile89)
    THANK YOU. It's really easy to talk yourself down when it comes to particular institutions, especially if you don't come from an Ivy League background, have time gaps in your education where you had to work, and haven't published anything (because you've been working outside of academia). Reading this is very helpful.

    What course did you go on to study at Cambridge?
    I did the MSt in IR on the basis of professional experience alone, a 15 year old 2.2 in Geography being my best previous academic endeavour. I went on to do a PhD after the MSt.
 
 
 
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