Why do people obsess over getting firsts when most companies just want a 2:1? Watch

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CTLeafez
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#21
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#21
Aim for the stars and if you miss, you'll be drifting through the vacuum of space for all eternity.

Basically if you have the academic ability, why not push yourself and achieve your full potential. Also having a 1st may give you that slight upper hand against candidates with better extracurricular activities but a 2:1.
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RLinds
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#22
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(Original post by APersonYo)
Yeah that is good
Thank you
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RissaN
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#23
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1. You don't have to sacrifice everything else to get a First. You can get a First alongside part-time jobs, volunteering, societies etc. with good time-management skills and a dash of intelligence.

2. In the old days, only like 7% of people got Firsts. Nowadays, 25% do. So in my opinion, it's now necessary to get a First if you want to be competitive in the job market. I don't think it'll be long (maybe 3-4 years) before all the major graduate schemes require Firsts. That's just my personal theory.

3. On a personal level, why not strive to get the best grades possible?!
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gjd800
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#24
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PhD funding.
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Salostar
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#25
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(Original post by APersonYo)
Okay, but you will look terrible on your CV when you've done 0 volunteer work or societies and just spent all day studying.

Shows lack of interest and time management skills.
I'll be graduating with a first while also president of a society, entered competitions and worked while at university (both within the industry I'm interested in and for the university), and kept an active social life. It's also about time management skills and knowing when and what to prioritise.
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Alexnicklen96
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#26
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My master's that I'm starting this year would only cost me £3,700 if I had achieved a first at undergraduate. As it happened, I didn't, but I had a damn good go at achieving one for this reason and others.
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Realitysreflexx
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#27
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#27
Differentiation, with so many 2:1s being handed out. Saves some people either getting into their master, or being lazy and thinking i have a 1st i dont need one.
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Realitysreflexx
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#28
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(Original post by Salostar)
I'll be graduating with a first while also president of a society, entered competitions and worked while at university (both within the industry I'm interested in and for the university), and kept an active social life. It's also about time management skills and knowing when and what to prioritise.
But do you have a job? And if you do, dont take this attitude to the interview, you will walk out shicked and jobless. "But i had a first"
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Anagogic
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#29
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For the simple reason that a 1st > 2.1.
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NathLocke64
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#30
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Same reason people want to get an A instead of a C, they want to do their best
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BTAnonymous
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#31
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(Original post by APersonYo)
Okay, but you will look terrible on your CV when you've done 0 volunteer work or societies and just spent all day studying.

Shows lack of interest and time management skills.
You can get a first whilst doing all that stuff...
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MadamePompadour
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#32
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Really a 1st is only worth striving for if you want to go very far, very quickly into a high flying career or want to go on to do a masters or phd. In the everyday job market, which more than 75% of the population of the UK are emplyed within, the classification of degree will rarely matter, employers just want some evidence of the ability to learn at a higher level above GCSE. Most employers look for other skills and experiences plus good old fashioned personality. They will also usually offer training in your future job anyway so the actual classification of your degree doesnt mean much outside of your University experience. This is my personal experience anyway, Ive been working for over 25 years. I have also chosen people with a 2:2 over those with a 1st class degree because their personality and character is a better fit to the organisation. I am studying a degree now because my job, that Ive been doing perfectly well at an advanced level in for over 15 years and teaching others to do my role, now requires a degree to do it. Complete and utter madness that I can teach my role without a degree but to do it I need one
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LeaX
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#33
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I think the opposite, why pay £9000/year and only put in effort for a particular grade instead of putting your best in? If you worked hard and gave it your all and got a 3rd I respect you more than someone who only aimed for a 2.1 and was lazy.
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GeorgeAgdgdgwngo
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#34
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my thoughts on grade inflation are that the unis are under pressure to be more lenient cos of the cost of degrees. if degrees cost 50k and they were handing out 3rds and 2:2 willy nilly theyd get a **** tonne of complaints and student dissatisfactions and the like which could effect the number of applicants etc. i saw this in group work which is equivalent to dissertation. they knew no one wants to do it as it has such a massive impact on degree classification and i think they use it as a tool to boost classifications. for example the grade we got did not really represent our work i.e. it was way higher than expected and it saved our degrees e.g. i for example got a 2:1 instead of a 2:2 literally cos of that. but equally they are lenient in opposite direction imagine all the complaints and appeals if students got put in a group of strangers and did **** in it and it ruined their degree.

also we have acess to so much info it makes coursework questions so much easier to write than previous students. we got access to journals, books, websites at our fingertips and a lot of my essay questions were generic so you could google it and its all there all the info u could ever need and even may be example essays of it
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math42
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#35
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Well, in my case, a bunch of people get firsts on my course, and it isn't really difficult to do for anyone with reasonable aptitude and work ethic. Indeed, I'm trying to get a very high mark to boost PhD funding chances as much as possible, but I've still had time for multiple societies. Clearly a first is an advantage, regardless of the frequent sufficiency of a 2:1, and it doesn't have to be a matter of sacrificing other parts of your life.
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QuentinM
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#36
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I've experienced this twice, as I did a Masters too (there the grades are more simple-pass, merit (equivalent to a 2:1) or distinction (equivalent to 1st)).

Why wouldn't you want to aim for a 1st? I got a 1st at the end of my first year of my Bachelors, so I aimed for one overall. I didn't end up getting one, but it pushed me to do get really great results in a lot of my exams and coursework. Without those, I may not have got a 2:1 overall (I ended up messing up a few of my final exams big time).

Throughout my Masters, I had a friend who kept telling me "no point getting above 60% in any of your assignments anyway". Which is kinda true, but that doesn't mean im going to aim for 60%. I'm going write the best essay I can and try and get as high as possible
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Michiyo
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#37
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For a lot of reasons.

1. Academic ability
If someone is capable of getting a First, it makes sense for them to want a First. It is natural to want to do your best, and if your best is a First, why not do your best to get that First?

2. Competition
Most people have a 2:1 and there are plenty of people who have both work experience or volunteering experience and a First. Why have a 2:1 and some work/volunteering experience when you can have a First and the same experience? Obviously, a First and experience will look better than a 2:1 and experience.

3. Postgraduate education
Some people want to do a Master's degree after university. Perhaps the university they want to attend has a First as the entry requirement, not just a 2:1, and either way, getting a First makes it more likely for them to secure funding than if they got a 2:1.

4. Graduate schemes and jobs
The entry requirement for most graduate schemes and jobs might be a 2:1, but just how many people with a 2:1 or First do you think will apply for graduate schemes and jobs? A lot. Firsts are not that rare; about a fourth of all students get a First and almost three-quarters of all students get a 2:1 or higher. That means that in an average classroom with 20 people, 5 students will get a First, 10 students will get a 2:1, and 5 will get a 2:2 or Third. With a fourth of graduates getting a First (not to mention the half who graduates with a 2:1) and most likely getting work and volunteering experience as well, why would an employer pick someone with a 2:1 or lower, regardless of their experience? There are a few extremely competitive graduate schemes, as well, so a 2:1 might not be enough to secure your place.

5. Jobs that require postgraduate education
There are a few jobs which require or prefer that someone has at least a Master's degree. You can get into a Master's programme at almost any university with a 2:1, but once again, think of how many people graduate with a 2:1 or First and how many other people will have the same qualifications as you, just with better grades from more reputable universities. If both graduates have the same work experience and performed similarly in the interview/tests (if applicable), but one has a 2:1 from Anglia Ruskin University and a Merit in their Master's degree from the London Metropolitan University while the other one has a First from the University of Bristol and a Distinction in their Master's degree from Durham University, their grades could act as a way to decide which candidate to interview or give the job to. Even if they both went to the same university, the same thing would still apply.

6. Personal satisfaction/pride and preventing regrets
People like to feel good about themselves, and getting the best grade possible feels good! If you get a First, you will never look back on your university days and think that maybe, if you did this and that differently, you might have got a First. Sure, you might think you could have done something differently so you would have graduated with an 80% rather than 70% average, but a First is a First.

7. Increasing proportion of graduates
This links back to the point that a lot of people are getting Firsts and 2:1. More people are going to university and more people are getting Firsts. Hell, not even a 2:1 might be competitive enough for postgraduate courses and graduate jobs a decade or two from now.

8. Location of graduate opportunities
To exemplify, Imperial College London awarded a First to 45% of its students in 2016-2017. Other London universities like KCL, UCL, and LSE also award a high percentage of Firsts. For certain subjects like politics, most of the relevant work available is in London, where you will be going against most other London students and students who are applying for jobs in London, regardless of their alma mater. With such a huge pool of graduates with a First and who have a good chance of having gone to a great university, there are few reasons to hire someone with a 2:1, given that you can find someone with similar experience and interview performnace, but who has a First. A First from a university with a smaller proportion of Firsts awarded looks more impressive in comparison, but I highly doubt employers look that up.

Obviously, there are other more important factors in getting a job, such as work experience, but a good degree classification might help. Getting a First does not mean giving up on your social life or work experience and not doing anything but studying; on the contrary, most of the people I have met who are getting a First also happen to be the ones who do a lot of relevant work experience, volunteering, get involved in university opportunities and societies, and so forth. If those people can get a First and still have the time for work experience, then chances are that so can you! :grin: So why not aim for a First?
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Retired_Messiah
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#38
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Because a first is a better grade ya dingus.
(Original post by APersonYo)
Okay, but you will look terrible on your CV when you've done 0 volunteer work or societies and just spent all day studying.

Shows lack of interest and time management skills.
>implying people with firsts are incapable of multitasking. A lack of time management skills comes from not managing your time, not from getting a first in itself.
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CoolCavy
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#39
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Same reason i wanted (and got) A*AA even though my offer was unconditional, personal aspiration
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LunaAngelEclipse
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#40
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Now, I'm no employer or anything but here's my theory: imagine you apply with a 2:1 but someone with first applies too. If that person has good personal qualities, surely they will be picked over you 90% of the time. However, if you apply and the highest anyone has is a 2:1 and the employer only needs a 2:1, you have a much better chance.
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