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Choosing between 2 PhD scholarships, one with a high requirement. watch

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    I have been offered 2 PhD scholarships, one at the University of Bristol (where I am doing my MEng course) and one at Imperial college.

    The imperial offer is a 1st across my 4 years and 75% in my final individual project. I am concerned about meeting the 75% requirement (not so much the first overall). Has anyone else been in this situation? I would like to go Imperial, but I wouldnt want to end up with nothing if I miss the requirement.
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    Damn, 75% in dissertation? That seems a tad unfair to me, as you could just have an unfair marker and there goes your place...

    As a very smart person you already probably know your options, go safe with Bristol or take a risk with Imperial. If you take the risk and get less than 75% then they may not take you, or they will.

    I was in a very similar boat so can only say my side of events. I had two offers for an MRes+PhD scheme, one at where I am which wanted 60% and then 60% in the MRes to proceed to the PhD, and the other was Warwick, who needed 70% in my degree and 65% in the MRes and then go on to the PhD. Going into my Masters (4 year course) I had 70.4%, so it was a risk. Warwick had the edge in prestige, and I know I am someone who is a better producer of work outside of anxiety filled exams so could have still done well at Warwick, but the doubt of not getting the first, then still needing to get 65% the next year (doable, but not certain) was just too much of a risk. There would also have been the expectation to perform as well as I had at undergrad, and the other would still give me the qualification for less stress. Plus I liked the location and feel of the other better.

    I did ask Warwick if there was wiggle room on the 70% at interview (because we all have bad days with exams) and they said they would look at between 66-70% and consider special considerations. I think there would have been wiggle room, which might be the case for Imperial, but for me, too much risk.

    In the end I got up to 73% overall so I would have got into Warwick, but I am still very happy with my choice.

    Big question for you, is it worth taking a year out if you don't get in to reapply? Would you regret not moving to somewhere new for 3 years?

    Good luck
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    (Original post by bestbarbar)
    Damn, 75% in dissertation? That seems a tad unfair to me, as you could just have an unfair marker and there goes your place...

    As a very smart person you already probably know your options, go safe with Bristol or take a risk with Imperial. If you take the risk and get less than 75% then they may not take you, or they will.

    I was in a very similar boat so can only say my side of events. I had two offers for an MRes+PhD scheme, one at where I am which wanted 60% and then 60% in the MRes to proceed to the PhD, and the other was Warwick, who needed 70% in my degree and 65% in the MRes and then go on to the PhD. Going into my Masters (4 year course) I had 70.4%, so it was a risk. Warwick had the edge in prestige, and I know I am someone who is a better producer of work outside of anxiety filled exams so could have still done well at Warwick, but the doubt of not getting the first, then still needing to get 65% the next year (doable, but not certain) was just too much of a risk. There would also have been the expectation to perform as well as I had at undergrad, and the other would still give me the qualification for less stress. Plus I liked the location and feel of the other better.

    I did ask Warwick if there was wiggle room on the 70% at interview (because we all have bad days with exams) and they said they would look at between 66-70% and consider special considerations. I think there would have been wiggle room, which might be the case for Imperial, but for me, too much risk.

    In the end I got up to 73% overall so I would have got into Warwick, but I am still very happy with my choice.

    Big question for you, is it worth taking a year out if you don't get in to reapply? Would you regret not moving to somewhere new for 3 years?

    Good luck
    Thanks for the reply! I really do appreciate it as I am getting a bit stressed at the moment.

    Yeah, you seem to have been in the exact situation I am in right now. It's good that you're happy with your choice looking back but I worry I may feel a bit disappointed if I reach the Imperial offer after choosing Bristol (although I am probably overthinking it).

    I might ask Imperial about the offer and if there is an wiggle room, as I know most examiners on my course rarely ever give above 75% in the individual project thesis/poster etc.

    It is quite frustrating because you'd think that a 1st requirement is usually hard enough and 75% in the individual project is achieved like once every year on my course D:

    With regards to taking a year out and re-applying. I'd prefer to have just chosen Bristol in the first place and be a year into my PhD. Although I guess I could re-apply and join early on (not necessarily a whole year later). And, yes, I do think it would be good for my personal and academic development if I try an experience a new environment/department.
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    (Original post by iyop45)
    I have been offered 2 PhD scholarships, one at the University of Bristol (where I am doing my MEng course) and one at Imperial college.

    The imperial offer is a 1st across my 4 years and 75% in my final individual project. I am concerned about meeting the 75% requirement (not so much the first overall). Has anyone else been in this situation? I would like to go Imperial, but I wouldnt want to end up with nothing if I miss the requirement.
    Well-done on having the two opportunities at the end of your study -you make it sound very casual but it must have come from hardwork!
    I know of someone who was in that situation, quite similar, and he almost missed it.

    He almost missed it as he was told to achieve a 79% in his final individual project in the scholarship he went for. It was a top, top ranked University. He made a 1st and a 77% in that research project. It was a close call- it was given to someone who made an 82% score in his/her dissertation. He was lucky to have had the choice of the second offer waiting for him.

    His error was simple: the offer made to him was advertised to a few other people. Hence, he was not just competing against the scholarship requirements, but against other students as well. Your offer at Imperial, I suspect, might be the same, as Imperial is a top University.

    You know your strengths! On the basis of what I know to be a PhD programme (I'm completing mine at the moment), I do not see what Imperial will give you that Bristol is incapable of giving you, academically. At this stage, I would advise the "less risk" option- but, like I mentioned, you know your strengths.

    All the best!

    Kind Regards,
    Cranfield TSR Rep.
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    University "prestige" is largely irrelevant in terms of getting a PhD, as department/supervisor "prestige" matters a lot more in academia, and outside of that having a PhD is sufficient in most circumstances...

    More than that though, there's no point doing a PhD in a "top" university if you actually don't like the project and it's in an area you don't want to stay in...so choose the project you want more (or if you aren't applying to a specific project, choose the one with the projects/supervisors you want to work with).
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    University "prestige" is largely irrelevant in terms of getting a PhD, as department/supervisor "prestige" matters a lot more in academia, and outside of that having a PhD is sufficient in most circumstances...

    More than that though, there's no point doing a PhD in a "top" university if you actually don't like the project and it's in an area you don't want to stay in...so choose the project you want more (or if you aren't applying to a specific project, choose the one with the projects/supervisors you want to work with).
    True. Potential/ intending PhDs should realize that the choice of supervisor/ department/ research area is of a greater importance than the "prestige" of the University.
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    Thanks for all your replies.

    I decided to go with the Bristol PhD and I think I am happy with my choice. I realised that the 75% requirement should not be my influencing factor, as then I would have regrets if I miss the offer, or reach the requirement despite choosing Bristol.

    Some of the main factors that influenced my choice:
    - Cheaper living cost and familiar city, so I can focus on my research as well as possible.
    - Friendly and helpful supervisor. He also setup a 6 month placement during my research, which will be really useful.
    - Easier to keep my cycling hobby
    - Lots of others

    I'm hoping to get some extra support/funding and work opportunities with industry during my PhD. Most of these companies are located in Bristol. The Bristol PhD is with a new department, so it won't have any significant "reputation". However, this will probably mean I will get more support from the group.

    I realised it is easy to get blinded by the "prestige" of the university, but for a PhD I will be judged on my results and so the resources and support available to me is much more significant than the results of others. That being said, Bristol still has a great department and is well renowned in the area I am focusing in.
 
 
 

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