I’m_triene
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If I wanted to apply to universities like Oxford, Harvard and MIT for my masters degree, would I need to go to any specific university?
What I mean is, would these universities take a 1st and a good application or would I need to have gone to an elite university as well ie. Imperial or St Andrews?
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SaxaDeans
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I have no idea about the American system, but for Oxbridge is all about grades, grades and grades. So it doesn't matter where you go for undergrad. Also, it is important for your research area to matches with academics in the uni you are applying to. As in hypothetically, if you're applying to an MSc in Bear Studies and you're big into polar bears and the course is all about grizzlies, and your applications make that clear, then it is unlikely you'll get in. Similarly, if you applied for a research course and you talk about all the internships/professional stuff you want to do, again it would be unlikely they would see the course you're applying to as the right fit for you.

However, people are lying if they say they genuinely believe going to elite uni statistically has no bearing whatsoever on postgrad study. Like if there are two identical candidates both with firsts and identical experience, however, one did there UG degree in an elite uni, statistically they would have a better chance at getting in, in my opinion. Now if the elite uni candidate is a worse candidate then the elite uni advantage is erased, unless the admissions person is a snob of course. There are so many variables when applying for competitive postgrads so even going to an elite uni is definitely no guarantee of getting into one for postgrad.

Having said that, going to universities that have a similar ethos, traditions, and academic approaches does prepare you for progressing to similar or more elite institutions. It's like learning a language in a way. It's also not uncommon for lecturers at one elite uni, to be more prominent in their field, or to have studied/worked at your prospective elite uni, so it wouldn't hurt your application to have referee they more likely are familiar with.

Lastly, you have no idea what the future holds, so you don't even know if you'll end up doing a masters. So I wouldn't pick a UG degree on the basis of perhaps getting in a maters one day (Obvs exceptions to this e.g when there are requirements of pre-med/pre-law etc.). You should pick the course that is best for you now and that even if postgrad education doesn't happen you would be happy entering the labour market with. I would pick a fully-funded course over an elite uni that I have to go into debt for any day for example.
Last edited by SaxaDeans; 1 week ago
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I’m_triene
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(Original post by SaxaDeans)
I have no idea about the American system, but for Oxbridge is all about grades, grades and grades. So it doesn't matter where you go for undergrad. Also, it is important for your research area to matches with academics in the uni you are applying to. As in hypothetically, if you're applying to an MSc in Bear Studies and you're big into polar bears and the course is all about grizzlies, and your applications make that clear, then it is unlikely you'll get in. Similarly, if you applied for a research course and you talk about all the internships/professional stuff you want to do, again it would be unlikely they would see the course you're applying to as the right fit for you.

However, people are lying if they say they genuinely believe going to elite uni statistically has no bearing whatsoever on postgrad study. Like if there are two identical candidates both with firsts and identical experience, however, one did there UG degree in an elite uni, statistically they would have a better chance at getting in, in my opinion. Now if the elite uni candidate is a worse candidate then the elite uni advantage is erased, unless the admissions person is a snob of course. There are so many variables when applying for competitive postgrads so even going to an elite uni is definitely no guarantee of getting into one for postgrad.

Having said that, going to universities that have a similar ethos, traditions, and academic approaches does prepare you for progressing to similar or more elite institutions. It's like learning a language in a way. It's also not uncommon for lecturers at one elite uni, to be more prominent in their field, or to have studied/worked at your prospective elite uni, so it wouldn't hurt your application to have referee they more likely are familiar with.

Lastly, you have no idea what the future holds, so you don't even know if you'll end up doing a masters. So I wouldn't pick a UG degree on the basis of perhaps getting in a maters one day (Obvs exceptions to this e.g when there are requirements of pre-med/pre-law etc.). You should pick the course that is best for you now and that even if postgrad education doesn't happen you would be happy entering the labour market with. I would pick a fully-funded course over an elite uni that I have to go into debt for any day for example.
That’s very helpful, thank you
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