St. Andrews vs Edinburgh

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johnmack
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Hi, I've been offered unconditional entry to both St Andrews and Edinburgh. These universities are my main two choices and I honestly wasn't expecting to receive an unconditional from both. Of course I am pleased with this but it leaves me in an annoying situation, I'm not sure which one to accept. They both have their pros and cons. The way I see it, St Andrews is the more prestigious university but it's expensive, small and sort of out of the way. Meanwhile, Edinburgh is still a great university and on top of that is located in a big city with a lot to do but it'd feel a shame to throw away an unconditional from St Andrews which is sort of seen as the top uni in Scotland. Honestly, I'm posting just to hear the thoughts of those currently in Edinburgh or St Andrews on my situation or even the thoughts of those in neither but maybe found themselves in a similar situation with different unis in the past. Thanks.

PS, this is my first ever post on the student room so go easy on me
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by johnmack)
Hi, I've been offered unconditional entry to both St Andrews and Edinburgh. These universities are my main two choices and I honestly wasn't expecting to receive an unconditional from both. Of course I am pleased with this but it leaves me in an annoying situation, I'm not sure which one to accept. They both have their pros and cons. The way I see it, St Andrews is the more prestigious university but it's expensive, small and sort of out of the way. Meanwhile, Edinburgh is still a great university and on top of that is located in a big city with a lot to do but it'd feel a shame to throw away an unconditional from St Andrews which is sort of seen as the top uni in Scotland. Honestly, I'm posting just to hear the thoughts of those currently in Edinburgh or St Andrews on my situation or even the thoughts of those in neither but maybe found themselves in a similar situation with different unis in the past. Thanks.

PS, this is my first ever post on the student room so go easy on me
The 'top' uni in Scotland goes to both Edinburgh AND St. Andrews depending where you look. You can always find a league table that supports either position. You won't be disadvantaged if you go to Edinburgh when it comes to job applications tbh (same for St Andrews).

It's going to be down to what type of city you want to live in at the end of the day (and the course).
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maths_tripos23
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Depends what you’re studying. For STEM Edinburgh is much better but for humanities st Andrews is good. Both of these universities are the best in Scotland but I’d probably go to Edinburgh if I wanted to work abroad as Edinburgh ranks very high internationally. Both are great though.
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johnmack
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(Original post by maths_tripos23)
Depends what you’re studying. For STEM Edinburgh is much better but for humanities st Andrews is good. Both of these universities are the best in Scotland but I’d probably go to Edinburgh if I wanted to work abroad as Edinburgh ranks very high internationally. Both are great though.
I should probably have said, I’m going for maths. Most uni rankings place St Andrews higher for maths though so I’m not sure how Edinburgh is much better for STEM. Could you also build on what you mean by Edinburgh ranking high internationally? I’m unsure on how it ranks higher than St Andrews internationally.
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by johnmack)
I should probably have said, I’m going for maths. Most uni rankings place St Andrews higher for maths though so I’m not sure how Edinburgh is much better for STEM. Could you also build on what you mean by Edinburgh ranking high internationally? I’m unsure on how it ranks higher than St Andrews internationally.
Edinburgh ranks in the Top 30s internationally on QS/THE. StA is Top 100.

This is largely irrelevant tbh. Both are great universities and it wouldn't surprise me if the reason for this difference is down to location and size rather than teaching.
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Heba helmy
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Hi everyone nice to meet you all
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johnmack
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
The 'top' uni in Scotland goes to both Edinburgh AND St. Andrews depending where you look. You can always find a league table that supports either position. You won't be disadvantaged if you go to Edinburgh when it comes to job applications tbh (same for St Andrews).

It's going to be down to what type of city you want to live in at the end of the day (and the course).
Honestly, I get that in the grand scheme of things the degree I’ll receive in the end won’t be that different in the eyes of employers etc wherever I go. I was more looking for people to share their actual experiences in their lives during university to try and gauge how much of a different experience each university has. St Andrews has a reputation of being a small town and a bit isolated almost but maybe somebody here has had experiences that show social life/night life can be just as good there if you just know where to look. Sort of thing I was looking for.
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johnmack
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
Edinburgh ranks in the Top 30s internationally on QS/THE. StA is Top 100.

This is largely irrelevant tbh. Both are great universities and it wouldn't surprise me if the reason for this difference is down to location and size rather than teaching.
But like yeah what does that actually mean, for a university to rank better internationally? How can St Andrews rank better domestically while Edinburgh ranks better internationally? Don’t really know much about this sort of thing.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by maths_tripos23)
Depends what you’re studying. For STEM Edinburgh is much better but for humanities st Andrews is good. Both of these universities are the best in Scotland but I’d probably go to Edinburgh if I wanted to work abroad as Edinburgh ranks very high internationally. Both are great though.
st andrews reigns supreme for undergrad, edinburgh for postgrad.

for undergrad: st andrews is practically #1 for student satisfaction and edinburgh practically bottom of the league tables, consistently in both cases.

for postgrad: edinburgh is a huge, research powerhouse which produces internationally renowned research output
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by johnmack)
But like yeah what does that actually mean, for a university to rank better internationally? How can St Andrews rank better domestically while Edinburgh ranks better internationally? Don’t really know much about this sort of thing.
Because different league tables weigh certain metrics differently. International league tables also have factors such as # of citations and how X university is seen by researchers. Both are irrelevant metrics for an undergraduate tbh.
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Heba helmy
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Any one is studying at UBC?
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by Heba helmy)
Any one is studying at UBC?
It'll be good for the OP and yourself if you made your own thread talking about UBC
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johnmack
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
Because different league tables weigh certain metrics differently. International league tables also have factors such as # of citations and how X university is seen by researchers. Both are irrelevant metrics for an undergraduate tbh.
Right I see, so not really something to worry about that much unless I wanted to go into research or do a postgrad? Honestly, I’m more worried about student life than anything. Despite the fact St Andrews is definitely a lot smaller I have heard it has better student satisfaction than Edinburgh so maybe a bigger city doesn’t necessarily mean for more things to do but idk, that’s why I was kind of wanting people in Edinburgh or St Andrews or somebody who was in a similar situation and overcame it.
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maths_tripos23
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Well Edinburgh ranks top 25 in the world and competes with all the top US unis and has faculty from places like Cambridge. Also maths at Edinburgh is top 8 in the UK on QS. If a computer science department is good (Edinburgh is like #4 in the UK for this) then a maths department will be good as theoretical computer science is maths. Also, for maths Edinburgh has great teaching from what I’ve heard and has x2 the amount of courses offered than st Andrews. This means you can pick from tons of maths courses. Also in my opinion living in Edinburgh >>>> St. Andrews for all 4 years. Job prospects will be similar from both. Also STEM at Edinburgh is generally better (physics, neuroscience, chemistry, biology, computer science/AI/robotics) not even sure if st Andrews has an engineering school. Although this could just be based on how good the post grad programs are at Edinburgh due to research.
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johnmack
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(Original post by maths_tripos23)
Well Edinburgh ranks top 25 in the world and competes with all the top US unis and has faculty from places like Cambridge. Also maths at Edinburgh is top 8 in the UK on QS. If a computer science department is good (Edinburgh is like #4 in the UK for this) then a maths department will be good as theoretical computer science is maths. Also, for maths Edinburgh has great teaching from what I’ve heard and has x2 the amount of courses offered than st Andrews. This means you can pick from tons of maths courses. Also in my opinion living in Edinburgh >>>> St. Andrews for all 4 years. Job prospects will be similar from both. Also STEM at Edinburgh is generally better (physics, neuroscience, chemistry, biology, computer science/AI/robotics) not even sure if st Andrews has an engineering school. Although this could just be based on how good the post grad programs are at Edinburgh due to research.
St Andrews does rank higher in student satisfaction though and honestly I don’t believe that the quality of the undergrad courses are that different. It’s really more about the tight-knit more university feeling community at St Andrews vs the city life at Edinburgh.
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screamer18
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Hi! was hoping i could join the discussion, I have offers from Edinburgh and from St. Andrews for medicine, they are both the same offer and both seem like amazing places to study. In desperate need of advice on which firm and if people that have either studied medicine at either or have lived in either id really appreciate hearing your advice.
Thank you! X
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by screamer18)
Hi! was hoping i could join the discussion, I have offers from Edinburgh and from St. Andrews for medicine, they are both the same offer and both seem like amazing places to study. In desperate need of advice on which firm and if people that have either studied medicine at either or have lived in either id really appreciate hearing your advice.
Thank you! X
That's a really tough choice - and well done on getting two medicine officers! :borat:
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screamer18
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Thanks! I was really shocked but super happy But yes, very tough choice, any advice?
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by screamer18)
Thanks! I was really shocked but super happy But yes, very tough choice, any advice?
You should really try and visit Edinburgh and StA.

If you want a quieter/sleepier life, StA would be perfect. If you're one for partying etc. then Edinburgh might be a better fit.
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screamer18
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
You should really try and visit Edinburgh and StA.

If you want a quieter/sleepier life, StA would be perfect. If you're one for partying etc. then Edinburgh might be a better fit.
I've actually been to both, I think they both seem really lovely. My issue is I can really see the appeal of both a small town, very traditional and tight-nit uni (St.A) and of being in a super cultural and buzzing city. Issue is, I just got an offer from Manchester - now i have no idea what to do! I was convinced I wouldn't be getting in this year I didn't even think about how hard making this decision would be!
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