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    I am aiming to get onto this course once i have done my undergraduate, do you think it matters what uni you went to (thinking of doing zoology at exeter) or is it just about experience and what you came out with at uni? Cheers.

    Hi, I've never been to St. Andrews but I know someone who did. She did marine biology. She told me that because that department gets a lot of applications, they will strongly consider anyone with experience in marine research/experience with researching marine mammals. This can be easy to get - look up ORCA and MarineLIFE (something you must do if you want to do marine mammal research as they offer marine mammal observer (MMO) qualifications and the chance to take part in cetacean surveys on ferries and cruise ships). Also there are a number of whale-watching companies in the UK and Ireland that offer internships/work experience with them all collecting data and valuable research. If you have the money there is a research company in the Falklands that studies elephant seals, orca and skua (accommodation and food is free, the flights are very expensive - you either fly to South America then have to transfer and fly to the Falklands, or you pay double the price and fly direct from the Oxford RAF base to the Falklands). If you are interested in these I can help - I have volunteered twice with a whale-watching company in Scotland and it's fantastic! You learn a lot, develop your ID skills, learn how the animals behave, etc. Nowadays it's all to with experience and your final grade - the uni's reputation matters not so much. It's how much practical stuff you do on your course, etc. Another thing I'll say is that if you can ID wildlife you will stand out because so many biology students graduate and can't ID something like a greenfinch which is shocking.

    I wish you luck with Exeter! I tried applying but was rejected because I was one grade short. Also try and make anything on your course about marine mammals and ecosystems. Whilst it's great to show a passion for marine mammals, remember to also show a passion for kelp, jellyfish, invertebrates, etc. And make sure you keep up to date with the latest journals/discoveries. And a Year in Industry will also set you apart.

    Regarding uni reputations - some people graduate top unis and can't get jobs because their course and uni is percieved as too academic and not having enough practical content. (there was a similar thing when my dad graduated - a few decades ago you couldn't get a job if you had a first or 2:1 as you were seen as too academic and not social. I am not joking. So my dad made sure to get a 2:2) Reputation is a fickle thing. Again experience is something I cannot emphasise enough, - my friend said that she wish she'd been told about getting experience as she left uni with virtually none (academic unis do not emphasise it enough).
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