(Original post by lili2000)
So I’m currently on a gap year and after receiving my grades I’ve been encouraged to apply to oxford. I didn’t know where to put down as my final choice so just put oxford down for the sake of it not thinking I’d get in.
Long story short, I’ve had an offer. And I feel so selfish considering there are so many people just like me and better than me who weren’t offered a place who wanted it so badly, but I just don’t think it’s for me. I recently went to visit a friend at her college at Oxford and I hated it. I really don’t like the idea of a collegiate system, I don’t like how much academic pressure there is and I don’t like the environment in oxford. I think it’s a beautiful city but I am a big city lover and I’ve had offers from places like London, Manchester and Edinburgh which I can see myself being so much happier at.
However, career prospects are really important to me. I understand that attending Oxbridge allows you to stand out from the crowd a lot in terms of employability, but will going to a different uni hinder my chances of succeeding later in life? Am I being stupid rejecting oxford if attending means that I’ll get the career that I want even if my time in uni isn’t that enjoyable? I want to do a masters anyway (potentially at oxford or a like university) so will it really make a difference having an undergraduate degree from here or not? Please can someone help me
I can offer a personal perspective of this - I had an offer from Cambridge and I chose to reject it in favor of Edinburgh. A couple of reasons for that - the high cost of attendance of Cambridge, not liking the degree modules, having a bad experience at my interview, etc. Two years later and I'm really happy I took the decision to reject the offer.
My experience so far:
- Having less academic pressure has meant I've been free to pursue extracurriculars / things that interested me more. In first year I had a part-time job related to my course, and learned a language: in second year I tutored some modules in my department, worked as a consultant, and spent a large chunk of time learning another new language. Doing this while maintaining 1st class in all my modules isn't something I would have had time for at Cambridge.
- For me the module structure at Edinburgh was much better. When I applied to uni I thought that my interests were in one part of my subject, but it turns out they're in another area entirely. Edinburgh's degree has a lot more flexibility than Cambridge's so I've been able to take a lot more modules that interest me.
- Careers-wise I haven't had any issues: as mentioned above it's very much an individual thing. You can go to Cambridge for 3 years and do nothing to prepare for work, and maybe the name of the uni will get you interviews. But I've had the time to get a bunch of experience related to my course, and I've got recruiters contacting me for full-time work even though I haven't finished uni yet.
I hope that's provided another perspective - I can honestly say that choosing Edinburgh over Cambridge was a great decision for me. I'm having an amazing time here! I think the advice I'd give is to go where you'll be happy, knowing that it won't matter that much in the long term