Should I do UCL Economics or Warwick PPE at uni? Watch

Mediokrity
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Hey everyone,

I'm currently facing a big decision over my future study at university. I've passed first year of UCL Economics at university. Obviously I'm very happy with this but over the year I just did not enjoy the course, or really the city of London. I thought I'd post here for advice.

In terms of the course, I knew there'd be maths and stats involved but I wasn't really aware of how much it'd be maths and stats (it's basically ALL maths and stats). I got 2 A*s at A level maths and further maths but the maths on my course isn't really how it was at A level. A level was mostly equation, this is just symbols and a whole new language. I don't know if I've hit a wall or something, I just found the main maths module really difficult to grasp, I passed with a 2:2 but I don't feel at all comfortable to go onto second year. Maybe it's because there's not the stacks of questions and past papers to do like at A level (I did literally hundreds) The departmental tutor says the maths content significantly increases in second year too.

I didn't put in as much work as at A level (although at A level I studied 9/10-7 every weekday for two years so it had to reduce at some point), I feel I could have put more work in. I'm not sure if it's that I didn't work enough because I wasn't interested in the content at all or I could have done better.

Central London itself is a bit overwhelming for me, it's always so so busy, the buildings are huge which kind of blocks direct sunlight, it brings me down a bit. It's quite trapping as well because London's so huge as an urban sprawl you have to go out about 20 miles to get to somewhere that's green, countryside esque (the royal parks don't cut it unfortunately).

Socially my first year was great, my halls was catered so I talked to loads of people every meal time, felt like I was regularly chatting and going out with around 100 people. A lot seem like they'll be acquaintances now we've left halls but I've got about a dozen or two friends which is definitely nothing to sniff at. I didn't make any course friends except one from halls (I just feel quite out of place because I'm pretty working class & everyone's quite upper class in economics) or join any societies (tried a few in freshers but they weren't for me) which was poor long term planning now everyone from halls has scattered across London. It'd be a shame to leave my friends there though, I'd definitely visit however.

So, I applied with UCAS in December for PPE and now have an unconditional from Warwick. I do enjoy economics, & I've been interested in politics since primary, not so sure about philosophy but it looks decent. The main thing is with PPE is it feels like the economic theory we'll be learning will be more grounded in reality (like A level economics, which I enjoyed), instead of just symbols & stats. Warwick PPE has a bridge model too so the subjects overlap more than say Oxford. I'd have to start from first year. This past year I've found the optional modules which involve reading and essays (world economy, history of economic thought) the most interesting by far over the maths, stats modules.

Maybe PPE isn't more interesting & it's just how university is, Most people I know are doing subjects that are their biggest interest but still don't enjoy their course.

I'm worried that it could be a mistake to switch course. Maybe I should push through and continue with economics. I also worry about the employability and prospects of both degrees, will PPE be lesser?

However, I've looked into the possible jobs for economics and the main ones seem to be accountancy, consultancy, finance, these things don't speak to me and I don't want to be caught up in a job I hate. PPE seems a lot more versatile, I just don't know what I want to be yet.

Lastly, maybe another first year would be good, I kind of fell through the past year without joining societies, spring weeks, I don't feel ready to go on to second year and by extension maybe employment in less than 2 years.

Also there's the worry I don't get on great socially next year, self catered halls and all, I mean I could improve on the course and societies aspects so there's room to improve. In terms of the class thing I know PPE will also have a lack of working class. I mean at halls I got on with loads of affluent people so I think it wouldn't be a huge issue, it's just nice to have others from a similar background to yourself.

If you read this essay thank you and any advice will be appreciated!!

TL;DR: Passed 1st year economics at UCL but didn't the course at all. Have an offer for PPE at warwick (1st year start) which hopefully'd be more interesting. Worried about economics being significantly more employable, but PPE significantly more versatile? Should I switch?
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TeeEff
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(Original post by Mediokrity)
Hey everyone,

I'm currently facing a big decision over my future study at university. I've passed first year of UCL Economics at university. Obviously I'm very happy with this but over the year I just did not enjoy the course, or really the city of London. I thought I'd post here for advice.

In terms of the course, I knew there'd be maths and stats involved but I wasn't really aware of how much it'd be maths and stats (it's basically ALL maths and stats). I got 2 A*s at A level maths and further maths but the maths on my course isn't really how it was at A level. A level was mostly equation, this is just symbols and a whole new language. I don't know if I've hit a wall or something, I just found the main maths module really difficult to grasp, I passed with a 2:2 but I don't feel at all comfortable to go onto second year. Maybe it's because there's not the stacks of questions and past papers to do like at A level (I did literally hundreds) The departmental tutor says the maths content significantly increases in second year too.

I didn't put in as much work as at A level (although at A level I studied 9/10-7 every weekday for two years so it had to reduce at some point), I feel I could have put more work in. I'm not sure if it's that I didn't work enough because I wasn't interested in the content at all or I could have done better.

Central London itself is a bit overwhelming for me, it's always so so busy, the buildings are huge which kind of blocks direct sunlight, it brings me down a bit. It's quite trapping as well because London's so huge as an urban sprawl you have to go out about 20 miles to get to somewhere that's green, countryside esque (the royal parks don't cut it unfortunately).

Socially my first year was great, my halls was catered so I talked to loads of people every meal time, felt like I was regularly chatting and going out with around 100 people. A lot seem like they'll be acquaintances now we've left halls but I've got about a dozen or two friends which is definitely nothing to sniff at. I didn't make any course friends except one from halls (I just feel quite out of place because I'm pretty working class & everyone's quite upper class in economics) or join any societies (tried a few in freshers but they weren't for me) which was poor long term planning now everyone from halls has scattered across London. It'd be a shame to leave my friends there though, I'd definitely visit however.

So, I applied with UCAS in December for PPE and now have an unconditional from Warwick. I do enjoy economics, & I've been interested in politics since primary, not so sure about philosophy but it looks decent. The main thing is with PPE is it feels like the economic theory we'll be learning will be more grounded in reality (like A level economics, which I enjoyed), instead of just symbols & stats. Warwick PPE has a bridge model too so the subjects overlap more than say Oxford. I'd have to start from first year. This past year I've found the optional modules which involve reading and essays (world economy, history of economic thought) the most interesting by far over the maths, stats modules.

Maybe PPE isn't more interesting & it's just how university is, Most people I know are doing subjects that are their biggest interest but still don't enjoy their course.

I'm worried that it could be a mistake to switch course. Maybe I should push through and continue with economics. I also worry about the employability and prospects of both degrees, will PPE be lesser?

However, I've looked into the possible jobs for economics and the main ones seem to be accountancy, consultancy, finance, these things don't speak to me and I don't want to be caught up in a job I hate. PPE seems a lot more versatile, I just don't know what I want to be yet.

Lastly, maybe another first year would be good, I kind of fell through the past year without joining societies, spring weeks, I don't feel ready to go on to second year and by extension maybe employment in less than 2 years.

Also there's the worry I don't get on great socially next year, self catered halls and all, I mean I could improve on the course and societies aspects so there's room to improve. In terms of the class thing I know PPE will also have a lack of working class. I mean at halls I got on with loads of affluent people so I think it wouldn't be a huge issue, it's just nice to have others from a similar background to yourself.

If you read this essay thank you and any advice will be appreciated!!

TL;DR: Passed 1st year economics at UCL but didn't the course at all. Have an offer for PPE at warwick (1st year start) which hopefully'd be more interesting. Worried about economics being significantly more employable, but PPE significantly more versatile? Should I switch?
Looking at the PPE course briefly, I doubt the Economics modules at Warwick will be that much easier than your current course at UCL. It might cover less Econ but the foundations of modern micro and macro remain rooted in mathematics and statistics. You'll be covering partial differential equations, econometrics and the likes at this level simply because it's necessary for the preferred course structure at this level of study. In theory though, this shouldn't be much of a jump and I suspect your issues may stem from the content being taught in a way that doesn't enable you to take advantage of your A-Level Maths knowledge. I had this issue myself where in first year my course covered S1/S2 content in such a convoluted way that I didn't realise that I was just going over stuff I already know.

A PPE degree is still respected, especially from a Russell Group/Top 20 university. It's a pathway to many careers, some considered to be unnatural (i.e. a career in politics) . Ultimately, your degree is viewed less for the subject content and more for the skillset and mentality you develop from three years of studying that subject.

Your worries of social life, change in degree respectability etc. are standard worries for someone looking to switch degrees. I have a couple of friends who have successfully done it with no impact on the amount of friends they make, equally I have some who couldn't quite fit in. It's always going to be a risk to try something different and only you can judge whether it's necessary or worthwhile to take it.
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Mediokrity
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(Original post by TeeEff)
Looking at the PPE course briefly, I doubt the Economics modules at Warwick will be that much easier than your current course at UCL. It might cover less Econ but the foundations of modern micro and macro remain rooted in mathematics and statistics. You'll be covering partial differential equations, econometrics and the likes at this level simply because it's necessary for the preferred course structure at this level of study. In theory though, this shouldn't be much of a jump and I suspect your issues may stem from the content being taught in a way that doesn't enable you to take advantage of your A-Level Maths knowledge. I had this issue myself where in first year my course covered S1/S2 content in such a convoluted way that I didn't realise that I was just going over stuff I already know.

A PPE degree is still respected, especially from a Russell Group/Top 20 university. It's a pathway to many careers, some considered to be unnatural (i.e. a career in politics) . Ultimately, your degree is viewed less for the subject content and more for the skillset and mentality you develop from three years of studying that subject.

Your worries of social life, change in degree respectability etc. are standard worries for someone looking to switch degrees. I have a couple of friends who have successfully done it with no impact on the amount of friends they make, equally I have some who couldn't quite fit in. It's always going to be a risk to try something different and only you can judge whether it's necessary or worthwhile to take it.
Thanks for the response! I'm not exactly sure how it works but with the PPE course would the economics course be less advanced (especially over the 3 years) than pure economics because it's a third of the degree? & yes the content is taught in a difficult way to use my previous A level knowledge. I think a plus would be with PPE though that the economics (even if it's all maths and stats) wouldn't be the only thing I'm studying, if I'm getting sick of it and I want to still study I can switch to politics or philosophy which'd be more reading based, variety is the spice of life of course.

It's good to here that it's respected, if it's less so I guess it's a trade off for more pathways :/. Don't judge me too much but when I was a id I did aspire for the unnatural career of a politician but now I don't think I'd want it, maybe a civil servant or advisor involved in the policy making but being a politician seems to have so much scrutiny, so much unrealistic expectation where any normal person would be vilified in the media and whatnot, just seems too much, I'd be allowed no missteps through my whole life.

& yeah, change is scary so I'm still thinking of staying because obviously UCL economics is a great asset to have. There are other issues with staying one being where I'd actually live. I should remember though how much I actually disliked my course at the time last year, it seems the further I get from it the less I feel how much I didn't like it haha.
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