Oxbridge Vs Russell Group (Advice Needed)

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tbofig
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Okay, I will try and keep this as short as I can. I have offers from Oxford (A*AA) and York (AAB) both to study a Masters of Biochemistry. Currently I have Ox as my firm and York as my insurance. However, I’m seriously contemplating changing this. I’ve given a serious amount of thought and time as to where I wish to spend the next four years of my life and I genuinely believe that York would suit me better. The one thing that’s holding me back is the possible future employment options that would be open to me. I’ve been unable to find virtually any information about this online so any information, In particular on the jobs that would be open to me, along with the salary I would receive, would be very helpful to me.

For reference, I would like to stay in the biological science sector, possible going down the STP route, or working for a a pharmaceutical company.
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username1258931
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(Original post by tbofig)
Okay, I will try and keep this as short as I can. I have offers from Oxford (A*AA) and York (AAB) both to study a Masters of Biochemistry. Currently I have Ox as my firm and York as my insurance. However, I’m seriously contemplating changing this. I’ve given a serious amount of thought and time as to where I wish to spend the next four years of my life and I genuinely believe that York would suit me better. The one thing that’s holding me back is the possible future employment options that would be open to me. I’ve been unable to find virtually any information about this online so any information, In particular on the jobs that would be open to me, along with the salary I would receive, would be very helpful to me.

For reference, I would like to stay in the biological science sector, possible going down the STP route, or working for a a pharmaceutical company.
If you are driven to get a job then you will get one regardless of which you choose. They are both top tier unis. Any stats you find online are likely to be skewed by people continuing in education or taking time out after their studies so don’t stress yourself out by these statistics.

I studied at Cambridge for undergrad, and now teach undergraduate students so I can speak a little about the oxbridge environment.

It isn’t for everyone even though adults like to tell you it is. Look in detail at the courses, and really ask which will suit you better. Do not worry much about the university culture as that is not accurately portrayed by the media; at either place you will find a wide range of students from a wide range of backgrounds.

If you have any questions about oxbridge let me know but otherwise good luck with your decision. Ultimately only you know what is right for you.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by tbofig)
Okay, I will try and keep this as short as I can. I have offers from Oxford (A*AA) and York (AAB) both to study a Masters of Biochemistry. Currently I have Ox as my firm and York as my insurance. However, I’m seriously contemplating changing this. I’ve given a serious amount of thought and time as to where I wish to spend the next four years of my life and I genuinely believe that York would suit me better. The one thing that’s holding me back is the possible future employment options that would be open to me. I’ve been unable to find virtually any information about this online so any information, In particular on the jobs that would be open to me, along with the salary I would receive, would be very helpful to me.

For reference, I would like to stay in the biological science sector, possible going down the STP route, or working for a a pharmaceutical company.
Why do you feel that York would be better for you? If it's based on fact, you have your answer. There are a lot of uninformed opinions on Oxbridge, but if you're not basing a decision on those, you should make the right one.
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tbofig
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Why do you feel that York would be better for you? If it's based on fact, you have your answer. There are a lot of uninformed opinions on Oxbridge, but if you're not basing a decision on those, you should make the right one.
Thanks for your reply. My decision is based off a few key areas, the main one being the very high workload. I was exceedingly close to burning out during A-Levels and my mental health did deteriorate because of this. I just don’t believe another 4 years of this would be helpful at all. In addition, York appears to have more links to industry (i.e. big pharma - GSK, Astrazenica etc...) than Oxford does (which they openly admitted on their post offer holder open day, quite a strange thing to be admitting to be honest). There is also the usual ‘I’m not sure I will fit in there’ but this was not the sole reason behind why I feel this way.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by tbofig)
My decision is based off a few key areas, the main one being the very high workload.
That's a very personal thing, in my experience. Terms are only (just over) 8 weeks, so there will be more to cover per week. However, I personally didn't experience a high workload, although I saw others that did, some doing the same work! Most people capable of getting an offer will be able to cope with the workload - it's not in Oxford's interest for it to be otherwise. There will be the odd area where you may not get it quite as quickly, but that can happen anywhere, and you will get help.

Oddly enough, my concern (several decades ago ), was that not going to Oxford (which would have meant Imperial for me) would be much more work. Longer terms, and more spoon-feeding (may not be a fair concern for Imperial) would actually create more work for the same understanding.

(Original post by tbofig)
I was exceedingly close to burning out during A-Levels and my mental health did deteriorate because of this.
That would concern me for any competitive university course. Do you understand the reasons for it? Oxford appears to have decent mental health support now.

(Original post by tbofig)
I just don’t believe another 4 years of this would be helpful at all.
Agreed.

(Original post by tbofig)
In addition, York appears to have more links to industry (i.e. big pharma - GSK, Astrazenica etc...) than Oxford does (which they openly admitted on their post offer holder open day, quite a strange thing to be admitting to be honest).
What do the graduate employment statistics show? (Chemistry isn't my area, and I genuinely don't know the answer)

(Original post by tbofig)
There is also the usual ‘I’m not sure I will fit in there’ but this was not the sole reason behind why I feel this way.
You will, and you'll come to love the place. You will meet the posh set, as just about anywhere. It's your choice as to whether you want the more or less intelligent ones. University is about stepping out of your comfort zone (IMO), including meeting people from very different backgrounds to yours. Most people are nice, regardless of where they come from.

Good luck.
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mnot
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(Original post by tbofig)
Okay, I will try and keep this as short as I can. I have offers from Oxford (A*AA) and York (AAB) both to study a Masters of Biochemistry. Currently I have Ox as my firm and York as my insurance. However, I’m seriously contemplating changing this. I’ve given a serious amount of thought and time as to where I wish to spend the next four years of my life and I genuinely believe that York would suit me better. The one thing that’s holding me back is the possible future employment options that would be open to me. I’ve been unable to find virtually any information about this online so any information, In particular on the jobs that would be open to me, along with the salary I would receive, would be very helpful to me.

For reference, I would like to stay in the biological science sector, possible going down the STP route, or working for a a pharmaceutical company.
Oxford is just a different level prospects wise, it will give you future opportunities no other Uni in the UK can give, Go there & be great!
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by tbofig)
There is also the usual ‘I’m not sure I will fit in there’ but this was not the sole reason behind why I feel this way.
I was educated in state schools, going to Oxford from a Sheffield Comprehensive. It was in a good area, and my parents would have been described as middle class, but I did have some concerns about Oxford. I really didn't expect to get in. I was the first in my family to go to Oxbridge, and the second generation where anyone went to university.

If you decide to go to York, please don't tell anyone that the workload is too high at Oxford! You see how this works ..
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tbofig
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
I was educated in state schools, going to Oxford from a Sheffield Comprehensive. It was in a good area, and my parents would have been described as middle class, but I did have some concerns about Oxford. I really didn't expect to get in. I was the first in my family to go to Oxbridge, and the second generation where anyone went to university.

If you decide to go to York, please don't tell anyone that the workload is too high at Oxford! You see how this works ..
I absolutely understand this and I would never try and influence anyone else’s decisions. I went to a Doncaster Comp (severely underperforming, ranked requires improvement by OFSTED) and I also am only the 2nd generation to go to uni, so I completely understand your POV. I don’t know if its just that it seems I had to work so much harder than many other students (mainly due to poor teaching quality) to get the grades to get in there. Did you find it more bearable than A-Levels in this aspect?
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Oxford Mum
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Hi tbofig

Congratulations on your offers from both unis!

You have had a hard slog to get into Oxford from your school, and Oxford will have seen the potential in you. I know this is a generalisation, and I don't have any figures to back it up, but students who have overcome such adversity (underperforming schools etc) tend to do better at Oxford than those who have had an easier path.

Both my sons went to Oxford (I am a single mum and my kids were on free school meals at primary school), so we were a little apprehensive at first, but both of them are very much in love with Oxford, and as my younger son said "it was ten times better than I expected". Oxford is very open minded intellectually and very welcoming to people from all walks of life who are keen learners.

I have actually written a book about applying to Oxford called Oxford Demystified, which deals with these preconceptions you mention. I have not blogged all of this yet, but I will post the chapters from the Hive, which I think will be relevant to you, below. One is called Mythbusting, dealing with the negative stereotypes, another is called Should I apply, then finally a chapter by my elder son about what to expect when you start Oxford as an undergrad. Don't let me put you off if the course at York is superior. When making a choice, the course is king. York is such a beautiful city, too.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/uni...-by-oxford-mum
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/uni...should-i-apply
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/uni...-if-you-get-in
(Original post by tbofig)
I absolutely understand this and I would never try and influence anyone else’s decisions. I went to a Doncaster Comp (severely underperforming, ranked requires improvement by OFSTED) and I also am only the 2nd generation to go to uni, so I completely understand your POV. I don’t know if its just that it seems I had to work so much harder than many other students (mainly due to poor teaching quality) to get the grades to get in there. Did you find it more bearable than A-Levels in this aspect?
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returnmigrant
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There is a great deal of unnecessary snobbery about Oxbridge. It isn't the be-all-end-all its made out to be and it doesnt guarantee anyone a stunning career or life-long happiness.

The intensive 8 week terms (other Unis are 10 weeks) can be too much for some people, as can the 'everyone is cleverer than me' feelings.

If your gut feeling is telling you that you would be happier at York - and happier often equals better degree result - then switch your choices. Do it now - once Results Day comes around your Insurance will disappear and you will no longer have this choice. Phone UCAS on Monday and they will tell you what to do.
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