Columbia or Oxford? Watch

KoreanSocrates
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I have applied to both institutions and have been able to get an offer from Columbia University. I need to be able to make a decision by Jan. 9th. I am looking to study philosophy and theology. I seem to not be able to make a decision about which university to attend, but here are some reasons I have for attending each university:

Columbia
(pros)
- In NYC
- An Ivy League
- I can change my degree
- lots of opportunities and networking possibilities- good food around campus- where I grew up (nostalgia)
- lots and lots of prestige in my home country
- protest culture
- bagels
- legacy for my siblings
- my mom just really really wants me to go there
(cons)
- incredibly expensive
- not an intellectually passionate community per se (has lots of other assets though)
- SJW culture
- I have to have a roommate
Oxford
(pros)
- I feel home whenever I go there (especially during interviews, the nerdery is a cherry on top!)
- one on one education style (I thrive in the tutorial style of teaching: think Socratic method)
- I do 3 hardcore years of what I love (it ought to change, however)
- I'll be surrounded by incredibly brilliant and passionate people
- immediate access to Europe (let's see for that...)
- good prestige
- cheap compared to US unis
- the Bodleian
- maybe its time for a geographical change for me (I officially live in Korea, attend school in the US and have for many years)
- Hassan's
- early drinking age and pub access
- no roommate
- no expensive first
-year meal plan
(cons)
- I cannot change my major willy-nilly
- I am more used to being socialized as an American
- lots of self-directed study (which I sometimes find difficult if I'm not engaged with the material)
- my parents find staying in England a little difficult
- British food
- not very much mental health services
- a crap ton of work
Last edited by KoreanSocrates; 4 weeks ago
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JohanGRK
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No point in asking this question when you haven't heard back from Oxford
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KoreanSocrates
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
No point in asking this question when you haven't heard back from Oxford
I will have to make a decision 12 hours after my offer/ rejection, so I would like to have decided beforehand.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by KoreanSocrates)
I will have to make a decision 12 hours after my offer/ rejection, so I would like to have decided beforehand.
Put this in the OP
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by KoreanSocrates)
I have applied to both institutions and have been able to get an offer from Columbia University. I am looking to study philosophy and theology. I seem to not be able to make a decision about which university to attend, but here are some reasons I have for attending each university:Columbiapros)- In NYC- An Ivy League- I can change my degree- lots of opportunities and networking possibilities- good food around campus- where I grew up (nostalgia)- lots and lots of prestige in my home country- protest culture- bagels- legacy for my siblings(cons)- incredibly expensive- not an intellectually passionate community per se (has lots of other assets though)- SJW culture- I have to have a roommateOxfordpros)- I feel home whenever I go there (especially during interviews, the nerdery is a cherry on top!)- one on one education style (I thrive in the tutorial style of teaching: think Socratic method)- I do 3 hardcore years of what I love (it ought to change, however)- I'll be surrounded by incredibly brilliant and passionate people- immediate access to Europe (let's see for that...)- good prestige- cheap compared to US unis- the Bodleian- maybe its time for a geographical change for me (I officially live in Korea, attend school in the US and have for many years)- Hassan's- early drinking age and pub access- no roommate- no expensive first-year meal plan(cons)- I cannot change my major willy-nilly- I am more used to being socialized as an American- lots of self-directed study (which I sometimes find difficult if I'm not engaged with the material)- my parents find staying in England a little difficult- British food
Congrats on your offers! The most important difference is do you want a liberal arts education (that is IMO 'frivolous' & trivial but is nonetheless extremely hard work in terms of physical workload) OR do you want a serious education in one subject where you will specialise in it?

I sound pretty biased and dismissive of the US education system, but the reality is the American system prioritises breadth over depth and as such, Americans are far behind the rest of the world educationally on an age-by-age basis. There is a reason their Undegrad degrees are 4 years long (3 in England), their Masters degrees are 2 years long (1 here) and their PhDs are ~6 years (5 in the UK).

As I alluded to, in the US you will work far, far harder in terms of the amount of written work you will be expected to turn in, but at Oxford you will have to revise/study much harder for much more intellectually demanding exams. you mention the self-directed study - this is basically reading over writing, but of course in Oxbridge you will still have to do lots of written work for tutorials.

I think if you aren't 100% sure what subject you want to do you should choose the US. Also Columbia will have better employer/networking links so I would def choose it for a Masters
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LeapingLucy
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You've got a pretty good summation of the pros and cons of each there.

How they weigh up in your mind depends on you.

No-one on here can give you a single right answer - for some people, Columbia would be a better choice. For others, Oxford would.

You have to make this decision yourself.
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Lemon1806
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Hi! My mum did her Bachelor’s degree at Oxford and her Masters/Mphil at Columbia, so I agree with the person above who said use Columbia for a masters - it has great great connections (she got work in the UN almost immediately after finishing her masters). Another thing to note from my mum’s experience was that, having done a four year course in Islamic History at Oxford when she then did her Masters at Columbia, due to the different format of uni teaching in the US which was more general to begin with, she was far more advanced in Arabic and Islamic History when she began her masters than her peers who had done BA at an American uni.
This is purely based off my mum’s experience and her subject choice, but I hope it’s helpful obviously the gap in experience may be less for STEM subjects or less niche subjects in general, but still hope this helps.
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BlondeBookworm
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(Original post by KoreanSocrates)
- Hassan's
Firstly, I love the fact that Hassan's has made it onto your pros list. And also congratulations on your offer!

Well I'm currently doing my doctorate at Oxford, so here are my two cents. If it helps at all, I would say that there are lots of American students here and it has a very international feel to it, so don't worry too much about British culture (we're all a bit obsessed with tea, queues and apologising all the time, but we're not too bad really). Same with the food, there are loads of varied cuisines so you don't have to have pie and mash every day, although perhaps I have no taste palette at all and all the food here is actually terrible but me in my ignorance wouldn't even know it...

I have not personally needed mental health services, but as far as I am aware there are services available and they're good at letting you know about them when you arrive in Fresher's week. There should also be support in college - you get peer supporters and college advisers who are there should you need to talk to someone. I do know a few people who have had to rusticate for mental health reasons, which makes me think that for long-term support the advice isn't really there (the pace is very intense given how short the terms are).

I've got an obvious bias so do ignore my comments if you wish. Ultimately, it's wherever you feel provides you with the best environment to thrive and enjoy your learning. Wishing you the best of luck, and I am sure you will succeed whichever place you choose.
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Hugh's Swan
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You applied to Regent’s or was it St.Benets didn’t you? - did you do a skype or were you there in person?
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KoreanSocrates
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(Original post by Hugh's Swan)
You applied to Regent’s or was it St.Benets didn’t you? - did you do a skype or were you there in person?
I was at Regent's and I did an interview in person.
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nexttime
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I'd say the only major thing that's not on your list is doing lots of minors at US unis vs being dedicated to your subject at Ox. Obv that can have pros and cons - my friend who really just wanted to do physics absolutely hated all the time he had to spend doing literature and humanities, but others might like that variety.
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