I got an offer for cambridge psychology but don't like the course, should I go?

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saij5217
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p.s: this is my first student room post so idk if this is the right place to psot this

Hi all,
I'm a blatantly confused student has an offer from cambridge for PBS amongst other uni's and I'm not sure where I wanna go.

For some context I don't wish to study psychology per se, I wish to study the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, computer science and other domains (what American universities call cognitive science)

Sure I understand that going to cambridge will give me lot's of benefits but I don't like how the course is strucuted. From looking at the course theres a huge emphasis on the more higher levels of analysis for psychology, things that sit close to the more humanities end of the spectrum. The converse to this is to see if they let me switch tripos onto the natural sciences. This would facilitate my taste for biology but has it's own problems. Firstly you have to learn a bunch of stuff I have no interest in such as plant physiology and ecology. Secondly you do no psychology in the first year, theres only 1 psychology option in year 2 and you can specialise year 3.

In contrast I feel my other options facilitate my tastes better. I Applied to manchesters Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Msci course and the Bristol Psychology and Neuroscience Msci course and have offers for both. The manchester course is perfectly structured for me, I have only one criticism of it that it doesn't delve much into computational neural modelling (something the Bristol course does). But I don't know how acedemic of a uni Manchester is and I wish to get a really strongly acedemic environment.

The grades aren't a problem, Bristol and Cambridge need A*AA, Manchester needs AAA.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated
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Muttley79
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(Original post by saij5217)
p.s: this is my first student room post so idk if this is the right place to psot this

Hi all,
I'm a blatantly confused student has an offer from cambridge for PBS amongst other uni's and I'm not sure where I wanna go.

For some context I don't wish to study psychology per se, I wish to study the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, computer science and other domains (what American universities call cognitive science)

Sure I understand that going to cambridge will give me lot's of benefits but I don't like how the course is strucuted. From looking at the course theres a huge emphasis on the more higher levels of analysis for psychology, things that sit close to the more humanities end of the spectrum. The converse to this is to see if they let me switch tripos onto the natural sciences. This would facilitate my taste for biology but has it's own problems. Firstly you have to learn a bunch of stuff I have no interest in such as plant physiology and ecology. Secondly you do no psychology in the first year, theres only 1 psychology option in year 2 and you can specialise year 3.

In contrast I feel my other options facilitate my tastes better. I Applied to manchesters Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Msci course and the Bristol Psychology and Neuroscience Msci course and have offers for both. The manchester course is perfectly structured for me, I have only one criticism of it that it doesn't delve much into computational neural modelling (something the Bristol course does). But I don't know how acedemic of a uni Manchester is and I wish to get a really strongly acedemic environment.

The grades aren't a problem, Bristol and Cambridge need A*AA, Manchester needs AAA.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated
Why did you apply if you didn't like the course?

I would not recommend going somewhere where you dislike what you will study ...
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saij5217
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Why did you apply if you didn't like the course?

I would not recommend going somewhere where you dislike what you will study ...
At the time I liked it, Oxbridge applications end in october, since then my acedemic interest has expanded massively and it no longer is a good fit
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_jbello.10
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you went through a whole oxbridge application process + interview and got in
personally i would say, if you feel like there's any chance of you regretting going to oxbridge in the future, go because you are in the ridiculously fortunate situation to go to a university that is top 10 in the world
however do whatever you think is best for you
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Muttley79
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(Original post by saij5217)
At the time I liked it, Oxbridge applications end in october, since then my acedemic interest has expanded massively and it no longer is a good fit
I would strongly advise going to a university where you will enjoy your studies - you'll get a better class of degree.
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saij5217
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(Original post by _jbello.10)
you went through a whole oxbridge application process + interview and got in
personally i would say, if you feel like there's any chance of you regretting going to oxbridge in the future, go because you are in the ridiculously fortunate situation to go to a university that is top 10 in the world
however do whatever you think is best for you
yeah I got an offer after the whole process. It being literally the world's top 10 and being so special is what i think is muddling up my decision process
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saij5217
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(Original post by Muttley79)
I would strongly advise going to a university where you will enjoy your studies - you'll get a better class of degree.
I know that's what you should do, but I can't shake the feeling of it being a once in a life oppurtunity

side note, does anyone have a sense of how prestigious manchester is as a uni?
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Muttley79
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(Original post by saij5217)
I know that's what you should do, but I can't shake the feeling of it being a once in a life oppurtunity

side note, does anyone have a sense of how prestigious manchester is as a uni?
What good will a 2ii or worse be from Cambridge?

Honestly you have good options other than Cambridge. I can name many students who have done DPhil/PhDs at Oxbridge but gone elsewhere for a first degree.
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Aquisition491
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(Original post by saij5217)
I know that's what you should do, but I can't shake the feeling of it being a once in a life oppurtunity

side note, does anyone have a sense of how prestigious manchester is as a uni?
Try out the course for a year. While doing the degree, reapply for 5 other great universities for the course your extremely passionate about, and if by the end of the first year at Cambridge you have no interest in the course then switch. If not, stay. It's worth the investment even if you switch because you want to grow older and say 'what if I had went to Cambridge'. However, it's equally important that you do a course which your passionate about because ultimately that is the field you will most probably spend the rest of your life in.
Good luck.
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saij5217
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(Original post by Muttley79)
What good will a 2ii or worse be from Cambridge?

Honestly you have good options other than Cambridge. I can name many students who have done DPhil/PhDs at Oxbridge but gone elsewhere for a first degree.
yeah i do see your point, i don't think i'll do too badly if i do go cambridge to get a 2.ii, but maybe if i go cambridge i'll get a 2:i but a first if i go elsewhere and if i work really hard
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saij5217
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(Original post by Aquisition491)
Try out the course for a year. While doing the degree, reapply for 5 other great universities for the course your extremely passionate about, and if by the end of the first year at Cambridge you have no interest in the course then switch. If not, stay. It's worth the investment even if you switch because you want to grow older and say 'what if I had went to Cambridge'. However, it's equally important that you do a course which your passionate about because ultimately that is the field you will most probably spend the rest of your life in.
Good luck.
I've thought about that and unfortunatley my financial situation doesn't allow that. Plus I don't trust future me to drop out if i don't like it since im the "start it then finish it" sort of person even if I don't like what im doing
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_jbello.10
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(Original post by saij5217)
yeah I got an offer after the whole process. It being literally the world's top 10 and being so special is what i think is muddling up my decision process
it depends on what you want to do in the future, and how much you value your university life
it's 3 years and if you end up disliking it, you can always go somewhere else for a master's/phd to get a different university experience
i may be a bit biased tho because one of my closest friends got rejected from the cambridge psychology degree (i forgot what it's called) and would kill to be in your position
but if you honestly feel that cambridge isn't for you and you won't regret it, bristol is by no means a bad uni

if i had to rank your unis out of 10 i would go (overall prestige + uni life + job opportunites)
1. cambridge- 9.5
2. bristol- 8.5
3. manchester- 7
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giella
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The thing is, what you’re applying for and what you want to study are two different things. What you’re wanting to study is far more specialist than the majority of undergraduate psychology or cognitive neuroscience degrees which recruit from a rather broad church of school leaver applicants (in terms of their academic profiles that is). This is generally something studies at postgraduate level. My advice would be to get the best undergraduate degree you can and have the world at your feet for postgraduate courses. Truth is, Cambridge gives you that, almost irrespective of what you studied. I know a Cambridge graduate in philosophy who I believe has just completed his PhD in neuroscience at Yale.
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saij5217
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(Original post by giella)
The thing is, what you’re applying for and what you want to study are two different things. What you’re wanting to study is far more specialist than the majority of undergraduate psychology or cognitive neuroscience degrees which recruit from a rather broad church of school leaver applicants (in terms of their academic profiles that is). This is generally something studies at postgraduate level. My advice would be to get the best undergraduate degree you can and have the world at your feet for postgraduate courses. Truth is, Cambridge gives you that, almost irrespective of what you studied. I know a Cambridge graduate in philosophy who I believe has just completed his PhD in neuroscience at Yale.
thats a genuinely fresh view I haven't heard before so i extend my gratitude to you for that. In terms of undergrad degrees not convering the topics, theres something about manchesters course that just sits well with me, it seems to hit all my acedemic tasts as of now. But I do understand your point and will take it into consideration since I do plan on a research/acedemic career and plan on getting a PhD. Thanks!
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saij5217
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(Original post by _jbello.10)
it depends on what you want to do in the future, and how much you value your university life
it's 3 years and if you end up disliking it, you can always go somewhere else for a master's/phd to get a different university experience
i may be a bit biased tho because one of my closest friends got rejected from the cambridge psychology degree (i forgot what it's called) and would kill to be in your position
but if you honestly feel that cambridge isn't for you and you won't regret it, bristol is by no means a bad uni

if i had to rank your unis out of 10 i would go (overall prestige + uni life + job opportunites)
1. cambridge- 9.5
2. bristol- 8.5
3. manchester- 7
Thanks for the insight! I do want a PhD and want to work in an acedemic field so I'll take your ranking and views into consideration, thanks
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ritz08
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(Original post by saij5217)
p.s: this is my first student room post so idk if this is the right place to psot this

Hi all,
I'm a blatantly confused student has an offer from cambridge for PBS amongst other uni's and I'm not sure where I wanna go.

For some context I don't wish to study psychology per se, I wish to study the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, computer science and other domains (what American universities call cognitive science)

Sure I understand that going to cambridge will give me lot's of benefits but I don't like how the course is strucuted. From looking at the course theres a huge emphasis on the more higher levels of analysis for psychology, things that sit close to the more humanities end of the spectrum. The converse to this is to see if they let me switch tripos onto the natural sciences. This would facilitate my taste for biology but has it's own problems. Firstly you have to learn a bunch of stuff I have no interest in such as plant physiology and ecology. Secondly you do no psychology in the first year, theres only 1 psychology option in year 2 and you can specialise year 3.

In contrast I feel my other options facilitate my tastes better. I Applied to manchesters Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Msci course and the Bristol Psychology and Neuroscience Msci course and have offers for both. The manchester course is perfectly structured for me, I have only one criticism of it that it doesn't delve much into computational neural modelling (something the Bristol course does). But I don't know how acedemic of a uni Manchester is and I wish to get a really strongly acedemic environment.

The grades aren't a problem, Bristol and Cambridge need A*AA, Manchester needs AAA.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated
Having graduated last year from Bristol uni, I'll say that what uni you go to doesn't matter as much as you think. You have the option of attending (in my eyes) 3 equally fantastic universities. It's much more about what you get out of the course you're studying, the city you're in and the opportunities to expand your learning you take along the way. People think Oxbridge is the be all, end all and it simply isn't. It isn't a golden ticket which guarantees you a job or anything else in life.

Also, consider the work-life balance at each of those universities and whether you want more time for paid employment and getting more experience in your field of interest (which Cambridge will limit you with as I don't think students are allowed to have jobs during term-time, only in the holidays? and obviously the workload during term-time will be very, very intense there). Particularly with psychology, having time to do some regular volunteering or paid work in the sector is going to benefit you a LOT when you graduate than simply doing a degree, as psychology degrees notoriously don't give you as many skills which are directly applicable to the field (I'm starting my part-time msc psychology in september and have been warned against this many times, but will be working in mental health alongside it to make up for it). A lot of people graduate with psychology degrees struggle to find psychology jobs because you NEED experience in the sector. Since your interests seem quite broad, it might benefit you to have more time to explore career options throughout your degree so you know whether you want to do a PhD straightaway or do something working directly with people first.

Anyway, that's my two cents. I studied Chemistry at Bristol and absolutely adored the city, the societies on offer and the countless opportunities for paid employment available there. I imagine it is very similar at Manchester which is also a very reputable university (and a much cheaper city!). Make a list of your priorities (e.g. course, work-life balance, distance from loved ones, cost of living) and whichever uni matches them the most is the one you should go with! Good luck x
(feel free to message me if you want to know more about Bristol uni )
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EU Yakov
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lol you keeners ask this question but end up firming oxbridge anyway
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nexttime
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(Original post by saij5217)
p.s: this is my first student room post so idk if this is the right place to psot this

Hi all,
I'm a blatantly confused student has an offer from cambridge for PBS amongst other uni's and I'm not sure where I wanna go.

For some context I don't wish to study psychology per se, I wish to study the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, computer science and other domains (what American universities call cognitive science)

Sure I understand that going to cambridge will give me lot's of benefits but I don't like how the course is strucuted. From looking at the course theres a huge emphasis on the more higher levels of analysis for psychology, things that sit close to the more humanities end of the spectrum. The converse to this is to see if they let me switch tripos onto the natural sciences. This would facilitate my taste for biology but has it's own problems. Firstly you have to learn a bunch of stuff I have no interest in such as plant physiology and ecology. Secondly you do no psychology in the first year, theres only 1 psychology option in year 2 and you can specialise year 3.

In contrast I feel my other options facilitate my tastes better. I Applied to manchesters Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Msci course and the Bristol Psychology and Neuroscience Msci course and have offers for both. The manchester course is perfectly structured for me, I have only one criticism of it that it doesn't delve much into computational neural modelling (something the Bristol course does). But I don't know how acedemic of a uni Manchester is and I wish to get a really strongly acedemic environment.

The grades aren't a problem, Bristol and Cambridge need A*AA, Manchester needs AAA.

Any insight or advice would be appreciated
Just.. enlighten me:

When I read that Cambridge doesn't delve into the biological science of psychology that surprised me as science-heavy courses is kind of what Oxbridge is known for. So I looked on the Cambridge psychology course description - it says that in second year cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology is a mandatory paper, and an option is neurobiology. Then in third year your dissertation is completely up to you, and third year papers include cognitive and behavioural neuroscience, The main course page describes neurotransmitters and neuroimaging as core learning areas... it sounds very scientific to me? Can you enlighten me as to why it isn't?

I think you should choose the course that is best for you. But just because a course has 'neuroscience' in the course title, doesn't necessarily mean its a more scientific course. Just make sure you're very up on how the courses compare, and whether your interests are met by Bristol/Manchester (or whether they are postgrad interests, as someone said).
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eduorclinpsych
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Life's too short to not just study something you're not so engaged with but to surround yourself by it each and every day of your life.

Realistically, can you find the course you're even looking for in the UK? Just look at the module information on the course websites. Maybe you just can't find what you're looking for in the UK until you get to Master's level?
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saij5217
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(Original post by ritz08)
Having graduated last year from Bristol uni, I'll say that what uni you go to doesn't matter as much as you think. You have the option of attending (in my eyes) 3 equally fantastic universities. It's much more about what you get out of the course you're studying, the city you're in and the opportunities to expand your learning you take along the way. People think Oxbridge is the be all, end all and it simply isn't. It isn't a golden ticket which guarantees you a job or anything else in life.

Also, consider the work-life balance at each of those universities and whether you want more time for paid employment and getting more experience in your field of interest (which Cambridge will limit you with as I don't think students are allowed to have jobs during their degree?). Particularly with psychology, having time to do some regular volunteering or paid work in the sector is going to benefit you a LOT more when you graduate than simply doing a degree at Cambridge, as psychology degrees notoriously don't give you as many skills which are directly applicable to the field (I'm starting my part-time msc psychology in september and have been warned against this many times, but will be working in mental health alongside it to make up for it). A lot of people graduate with psychology degrees having done no or little long-term work experience or volunteering during uni and really struggle to find psychology jobs because you simply NEED experience in the sector first.

Anyway, that's my two cents. I studied Chemistry at Bristol and absolutely adored the city, the societies on offer and the countless opportunities for paid employment available there. I imagine it is very similar at Manchester which is also a very reputable university (and a much cheaper city!). Make a list of your priorities (e.g. course, work-life balance, distance from loved ones, cost of living) and whichever uni matches them the most is the one you should go with! Good luck x
(feel free to message me if you want to know more about Bristol uni )
You do have a good point, I'm mainly stuck on oxbridge because it is well oxbridge, in terms of course content the other 2 uni's I mentioned suit my acedemic interests much better, but your point about work experience is a very good point I hadn't quite considered. Good Luck with your Psychology Msc
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