Oxford vs St Andrews? Watch

Badges: 4
Report Thread starter 4 weeks ago
Exactly what it says - I have an offer for Geography from both ( Oxford asking for A*AA and St. Andrews asking for AAA) and I can’t decide which one to firm. I know oxford might seem the obvious choice to some but I really don’t know if it’s right for me. The workload and the stress that everyone at Oxford talks about just doesn’t seem like my thing (I know that I don’t deal with a lot of stress/pressure well) and when I’ve spoken to people they say ‘well, they’re only 8 week terms so you just have to get through the 8 weeks and then you can go home’ but when I think about uni I want to do more than just ‘get through it’. I’ve also heard a lot about the college being cliquey and I’m worried about making friends/the going out culture. St Andrew’s is a lot further away from home but I feel like it’s more relaxed so more my speed and I can do more than just geog. But there’s a really high proportion of private educated students and that’s not my background so that puts me off. St. Andrews does seem more like me but I just feel like I’m so confused I don’t know if it’s what I want. The thing stopping me from turning down Oxford is the quality of the education and the value of the name which I know shouldn’t form part of my uni decision but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t because like most people I do care what people think about me. I’ve also got some offers for the states but I think they’re too far away from home?? But what if they’re better?? I’m just so confused and have to make my decision soon so looking for opinions.
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Report 4 weeks ago
Firstly, congrats on getting offers from both Oxford and St. Andrews as they’re both excellent universities.

Getting into Oxford is no small feat and many would do anything to be in the position you’re in. The workload is intense of course, but if you’ve gotten in, they clearly think you’d be able to cope, while your genuine passion and interest in geography must have come across. It is stressful but having that Oxford name on your CV will be there forever and will open plenty of doors. Would you regret not going there if you turn it down?

Having said that, St. Andrews is also excellent. It’s a very pretty, quaint university that is also very good from an academic perspective and getting a degree from there is highly impressive. It is likely more relaxed and the fact it’s further away from home could give you the benefit of independence.

You seem quite het up on the culture and “clique” environment; honestly, there is barely a difference between them in this regard. Both are full of privately educated, middle-class students who are academic. I believe St. Andrews has the highest proportion of privately educated students in the country but Oxford isn’t too far behind.

Look again at the course and where you feel you’d be happiest and most motivated to study for 3 years though — trust your gut as it’s usually right.

The one thing I will say is that if you turn down Oxford, you’re very unlikely to ever get that chance again, if you go to Oxford and drop out, there will be plenty of unis willing to take you.

Good luck
Badges: 4
Report 4 weeks ago
Have you visited St Andrews? If not then you definitely should. I did and I realised that the place just wasn't for me. The town is very small and there are lots of golf shops and stuff that just seemed a bit poncey. Also I found the students to be quite snobby and not really my type. Also, they only really show the nice old buildings when they're advertising the university, but there are only like 2 of these (St Salvadors and St Marys). I've also heard it's very cliquey at St Andrews, and I worried about making friends because there aren't a huge number of students.

Honestly I would brave it and go for Oxford. You'll be living and studying in the most beautiful surroundings, and the quality of the teaching should be great. I think the college system at Oxford is such a great advantage, because it means you have the opportunity to make friends with lots of different people studying lots of different subjects. You also don't have to worry about accomodation for the 2nd and 3rd years, because you'll get to stay in college. I found the surroundings and history of Oxford so inspiring and I wouldn't really want to miss out on such a unique and special experience.

That's just my opinion - to be honest I don't know anything about the geography courses at either but I'm sure you know a lot about them both. If I were in your shoes and chose St Andrews, I'd be worried that I might regret this choice later on because of course the degree won't be as good (will still be great though). You're also not guaranteed to be happy at St Andrews.

Then again, if you really don't think you could cope with the pressure at Oxford, then it's a very tough call. I suppose a bad degree from Oxford is probably worse than a good degree from St Andrews. Then again, if you got an offer than you obviously have the ability to do very well at Oxford - they're very tough offers to get! The college system at Oxford is a big plus as well because you'll always have people to talk to and ask for help from, and you won't be forgotten like you might be in a bigger university (although St Andrews if very small so I doubt that would happen at St Andrews). At the end of the day, there isn't a right or wrong answer, so go with your gut.

Good luck! Sorry this is such a long and poorly organised answer - I just kept writing my thoughts aha

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