Should I take an academic course at uni or something I’m more likely to enjoy?

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amberrxc
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I’m going into year 13 and I know I want to go to uni next year for definite but I’m really stressed as I don’t know what course to take and write my personal statement for. I was going to take history and politics as I do them both for a level and so have a lot of experience to write on my personal statement and I am good at them however, I worry that another 3 Years of them after this intense year will be too much? I’ve always been interested in journalism but have been told journalists don’t study it at undergrad, and I’ve also recently become interested in marketing possibly with management as well but I’ve been told again that marketing jobs don’t want marketing degrees?!? Please help!
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artful_lounger
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It's not so much that they don't want students who have studied that before, and more that generally, you don't need to have studied those subjects as a degree to go into that sector, and the transferable skills necessary can be gained from any degree - and some may be better developed on a more academic course. Additionally, the more "prestigious" or at least popular graduate roles will, due to competition, end up more likely to recruit from correspondingly more "prestigious" universities - and universities in general, as you go "up" with respect to league tables etc, tend to have more academic courses and fewer less academic or vocational degrees.

But it depends somewhat on where you want to go and what you want to do. Yes, if you want to get a high flying role in London when you graduate, you should realistically aim for the best university you are likely to get into - this may not then offer the course you have in mind. However if you are perfectly happy pursuing a regional role or looking more broadly at things related to your area of interest but potentially not immediately in it, then it matters a great deal less. However, it is important to bear in mind, the above is working under the assumption you would get the same classification in either degree. This is not necessarily true; if you really dislike your course and/or struggle in it (be it an academic course or otherwise) then you may find you do more poorly in exams and hence fail to get the requisite 2:1/1st required for all those city jobs. In fact if you get a 2:2 or 3rd, you may even find it harder getting into some regional roles, depending on which university you go to and what jobs you're applying to...so you should also choose based on the one realistically you're going to have enough sustained interest in to actually get a good degree result.

As something of an aside, if you're interested in the more practical elements of media production, but want to do a more "academic" degree to keep your options open, you may want to consider Anthropology. Quite a few courses have ethnographic film options or scope to pursue that even if it's not the absolute aim, which may be of interest if you want to pursue something in journalism. Additionally the cultural sensitvity engendered by that course may be less apparent in a History and/or Politics degree, at least if you don't make a specific effort yourself to pursue that line of analysis/enquiry. In terms of ethical journalism and indeed even just, accurate journalism, actually having a greater sense of non-Western social/cultural perspectives might help in that...as far as individual courses go, I'm aware UCL has film pretty well integrated into their course if you so choose, from year 1 even. I believe SOAS has options to study the critical side of that, and possibly use those methods in a dissertation as well.
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amberrxc
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's not so much that they don't want students who have studied that before, and more that generally, you don't need to have studied those subjects as a degree to go into that sector, and the transferable skills necessary can be gained from any degree - and some may be better developed on a more academic course. Additionally, the more "prestigious" or at least popular graduate roles will, due to competition, end up more likely to recruit from correspondingly more "prestigious" universities - and universities in general, as you go "up" with respect to league tables etc, tend to have more academic courses and fewer less academic or vocational degrees.

But it depends somewhat on where you want to go and what you want to do. Yes, if you want to get a high flying role in London when you graduate, you should realistically aim for the best university you are likely to get into - this may not then offer the course you have in mind. However if you are perfectly happy pursuing a regional role or looking more broadly at things related to your area of interest but potentially not immediately in it, then it matters a great deal less. However, it is important to bear in mind, the above is working under the assumption you would get the same classification in either degree. This is not necessarily true; if you really dislike your course and/or struggle in it (be it an academic course or otherwise) then you may find you do more poorly in exams and hence fail to get the requisite 2:1/1st required for all those city jobs. In fact if you get a 2:2 or 3rd, you may even find it harder getting into some regional roles, depending on which university you go to and what jobs you're applying to...so you should also choose based on the one realistically you're going to have enough sustained interest in to actually get a good degree result.

As something of an aside, if you're interested in the more practical elements of media production, but want to do a more "academic" degree to keep your options open, you may want to consider Anthropology. Quite a few courses have ethnographic film options or scope to pursue that even if it's not the absolute aim, which may be of interest if you want to pursue something in journalism. Additionally the cultural sensitvity engendered by that course may be less apparent in a History and/or Politics degree, at least if you don't make a specific effort yourself to pursue that line of analysis/enquiry. In terms of ethical journalism and indeed even just, accurate journalism, actually having a greater sense of non-Western social/cultural perspectives might help in that...as far as individual courses go, I'm aware UCL has film pretty well integrated into their course if you so choose, from year 1 even. I believe SOAS has options to study the critical side of that, and possibly use those methods in a dissertation as well.
Thank you so much!! This is so detailed and helpful. I’ve been looking at marketing and management courses at a lot of top Russell group unis like Exeter, Bristol, warwick, Southampton - would you say it’s better to go somewhere in London maybe like city university so I’m already where the jobs are? I know I definitely want to work in London hopefully doing some sort of marketing/advertising job or talent management but I feel as though the top unis might be more likely to help me get a 1st or 2:1. I’ll look into anthropology as well thank you for the reccommendation, it’s so difficult because I know I want to go down some sort of marketing route but I don’t want to take it as a degree and not get the career I want out of it.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by amberrxc)
Thank you so much!! This is so detailed and helpful. I’ve been looking at marketing and management courses at a lot of top Russell group unis like Exeter, Bristol, warwick, Southampton - would you say it’s better to go somewhere in London maybe like city university so I’m already where the jobs are? I know I definitely want to work in London hopefully doing some sort of marketing/advertising job or talent management but I feel as though the top unis might be more likely to help me get a 1st or 2:1. I’ll look into anthropology as well thank you for the reccommendation, it’s so difficult because I know I want to go down some sort of marketing route but I don’t want to take it as a degree and not get the career I want out of it.
If you're definitely interested in the marketing route, then any degree will suffice - my mum has worked in marketing since shortly after I was born, and she did her degree in Russian Literature and History. There is really no particular benefit in doing some business degree for that, unless you are actually specifically interested in the content of the degree - e.g. the business economics, statistics, management studies and so on.

City has an excellent business school and is very highly regarded as far as I'm aware, and as you noted, has the benefit of being in London already. This isn't essential, but it makes going to networking events and so on much easier (which is essential). Having to spend 4+ hours on the train from Exeter (or spend a lot more on a flight to LCY) any time you want to go to such an event isn't ideal...Southampton is somewhat more convenient, as it has a direct link to Waterloo and as I recall is slightly more than 2 hours. Not sure how easy it is to get to/from Warwick, although Warwick is considerably more "prestigious" in that realm than the other two and so probably attracts more campus based networking events (the careers fairs at Exeter were somewhat generic when I was there). Bristol is about halfway from Exe I think, so I guess work from that; I think it's probably about the same distance as Southampton, although it goes to Paddington I believe on the main line.

Ultimately you should, in the first instance, choose the course you'll actually enjoy doing - if it doesn't seem to match up with your current "plans", then you may find that route wouldn't be something you enjoyed as much as a result, and you may find the degree in the other area leads to something entirely different you hadn't thought of. As far as marketing goes as well, as anything will be acceptable, you aren't exactly losing anything. If you like the course, that's more likely to sustain you through the degree to getting a good classification than anything else. After that consider the "soft" variables of how much you like the are you'll be living in, how much it costs to live there, how easy it is to travel home or to events etc. These things can also greatly impact on your ultimate performance and shouldn't be discounted.
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Lancaster University Student Ambassador
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(Original post by amberrxc)
I’m going into year 13 and I know I want to go to uni next year for definite but I’m really stressed as I don’t know what course to take and write my personal statement for. I was going to take history and politics as I do them both for a level and so have a lot of experience to write on my personal statement and I am good at them however, I worry that another 3 Years of them after this intense year will be too much? I’ve always been interested in journalism but have been told journalists don’t study it at undergrad, and I’ve also recently become interested in marketing possibly with management as well but I’ve been told again that marketing jobs don’t want marketing degrees?!? Please help!
Hi Amber, :wavey:

I am Rebecca, one of the Student Ambassadors at Lancaster University where I study Marketing Management - a course I am thoroughly enjoying!

It is great to hear you are considering all of your options and are interested in studying Marketing. For Marketing at Lancaster University we are ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects and 3rd in the UK overall in the latest Complete Uni Guide rankings 2019, showing that Marketing degrees can be a great course to enable you to apply for the Marketing roles you have mentioned. As I mentioned, I have really enjoyed my first year at Lancaster University and the support you get is fantastic. We have our own Careers Coach, specifically for Marketing who provides fantastic advice in searching for placements or graduate positions and we have had numerous employers visit campus, giving me the chance to network with potential recruiters.

As you mentioned you have taken History and Politics and if this is something you are interested in continuing then our minor scheme at Lancaster University would be perfect! You could have the opportunity to study modules in History or Politics alongside a degree in Marketing Management if that is a path that you decide to take.

Have you attended any Open Days yet? If not, I would highly recommend going to various Universities where you will be able to engage in talks in History, Politics, Marketing and Management for example, talk to current students on those courses and ask about career prospects and links with employers. This is something I found incredibly useful in my search for University, enabling me to pick the right course and University for me!

If you're interested in journalism then you can always get involved in societies, at Lancaster University we have hundreds of societies and my involvement in societies is also what made my first year so enjoyable!

I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions about Marketing, Management or University in general then please get in touch! :thumbsup:

Good luck with your studies,

Rebecca
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