Should I explain my country's education system in my personal statement? Watch

dannyjef
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Hi everyone,

I wanted to ask about something that has been bothering me for some time now. I'd like to come to the UK for my Master's degree. However, the education system in my country and my situation are very different and I don't know if the admission committee will acknowledge some of these nuances.

I started studying for my first Bachelor’s 3 years ago. However, my main area of research interest is in-between two disciplines. For that reason, I decided that I would start a second degree simultaneously, to broaden my perspective. I realize that this might not be possible in the UK, but in our flexible system it is doable (although definitely not common): so at the end of day, I am doing two full Bachelor’s degrees in parallel, over 5 years.

Now, the grades for my first degree are great, and will likely be interpreted as First Class. Since I took the second degree only as a complementary course, it has somewhat worse results - but still kind of OK in our grading system.

However, I’ve found out that grades are taken very seriously in the UK. In particular, apparently a “fail” grade can influence your admission. However, at our uni, it’s very common to fail some courses, retake an exam up to three times, and even repeat the whole class if all of these attempts result in a fail. Some courses have as low as 25% success rate! Because of this, grades are not of great importance here.

So my questions to you are:
1) Should I explain this system in my personal statement?
2) Do you think the committee will view my "two degree" situation negatively (for example as not doing either properly), even though I did well in the first course (the one that is required in order to get admitted for the MSc. in the first place)?
3) Do you think my grades in the second "extra" degree and some of the failed courses within that one could ruin my chances of getting admitted?

Thanks for all your responses!
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Admit-One
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So long as your ‘main’ UG degree is deemed to be a satisfactory classification and is the most relevant subject of the two, I think you will be fine.

I would not waste any space in your PS giving background on this. Use it only to detail your interest and suitability for this course of study.

Even if the admissions team are unfamiliar with this specific scenario, if they see two qualifications with the same dates of study, they will more than likely email you to clarify if required.

If you are concerned, I would email the admissions team a brief summary of your situation the day after you send off your application. Keep it short but offer to provide any other info that is required.
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1st superstar
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PQ should be able to help
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Designeddeath
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(Original post by dannyjef)
Hi everyone,

I wanted to ask about something that has been bothering me for some time now. I'd like to come to the UK for my Master's degree. However, the education system in my country and my situation are very different and I don't know if the admission committee will acknowledge some of these nuances.

I started studying for my first Bachelor’s 3 years ago. However, my main area of research interest is in-between two disciplines. For that reason, I decided that I would start a second degree simultaneously, to broaden my perspective. I realize that this might not be possible in the UK, but in our flexible system it is doable (although definitely not common): so at the end of day, I am doing two full Bachelor’s degrees in parallel, over 5 years.

Now, the grades for my first degree are great, and will likely be interpreted as First Class. Since I took the second degree only as a complementary course, it has somewhat worse results - but still kind of OK in our grading system.

However, I’ve found out that grades are taken very seriously in the UK. In particular, apparently a “fail” grade can influence your admission. However, at our uni, it’s very common to fail some courses, retake an exam up to three times, and even repeat the whole class if all of these attempts result in a fail. Some courses have as low as 25% success rate! Because of this, grades are not of great importance here.

So my questions to you are:
1) Should I explain this system in my personal statement?
2) Do you think the committee will view my "two degree" situation negatively (for example as not doing either properly), even though I did well in the first course (the one that is required in order to get admitted for the MSc. in the first place)?
3) Do you think my grades in the second "extra" degree and some of the failed courses within that one could ruin my chances of getting admitted?

Thanks for all your responses!
I’m sure they’ve had people from your country apply so they may be expecting your kind of result. Just know you won’t have enough space to give a great personal statement and also explain your school grading system
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harrysbar
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(Original post by dannyjef)
Hi everyone,

I wanted to ask about something that has been bothering me for some time now. I'd like to come to the UK for my Master's degree. However, the education system in my country and my situation are very different and I don't know if the admission committee will acknowledge some of these nuances.

I started studying for my first Bachelor’s 3 years ago. However, my main area of research interest is in-between two disciplines. For that reason, I decided that I would start a second degree simultaneously, to broaden my perspective. I realize that this might not be possible in the UK, but in our flexible system it is doable (although definitely not common): so at the end of day, I am doing two full Bachelor’s degrees in parallel, over 5 years.

Now, the grades for my first degree are great, and will likely be interpreted as First Class. Since I took the second degree only as a complementary course, it has somewhat worse results - but still kind of OK in our grading system.

However, I’ve found out that grades are taken very seriously in the UK. In particular, apparently a “fail” grade can influence your admission. However, at our uni, it’s very common to fail some courses, retake an exam up to three times, and even repeat the whole class if all of these attempts result in a fail. Some courses have as low as 25% success rate! Because of this, grades are not of great importance here.

So my questions to you are:
1) Should I explain this system in my personal statement?
2) Do you think the committee will view my "two degree" situation negatively (for example as not doing either properly), even though I did well in the first course (the one that is required in order to get admitted for the MSc. in the first place)?
3) Do you think my grades in the second "extra" degree and some of the failed courses within that one could ruin my chances of getting admitted?

Thanks for all your responses!
A brief explanation of the education system in your country should be explained by your referee as part of their reference not by you as part of the personal statement
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dannyjef
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#6
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Thank you for all the helpful responses! I will do what Admit-One suggested and also ask one of my referees if she could comment on my results in the reference
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