LLLLC123
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#1
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#1
I've been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to read History and I'm not sure if it's the right place for me. I was meant to start this October but I ended up taking a gap year due to my mental health issues. Although I know how privileged I am the hold a deferred place, I truthfully don't like the course as much as the history course at UCL, and I worry that I won't be happy there due to the immense workload. That being said, it's extremely difficult to let go of the idea of going to Cambridge, due to the level of prestige. I am unable to decide whether I should withdraw and apply to UCL (alongside other top unis) or whether I should go to Cambridge with the risk of being unhappy and not enjoying my course. Can someone please give me some advice? I'm quite literally driving myself mad trying to make a decision.
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Plagioclase
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#2
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There's nothing wrong with turning down an offer from Cambridge, as long as it's an informed decision. If you prefer the look of UCL's History course then that seems like a perfectly sensible reason to go there. It may be a good idea talking to some current students at Cambridge to find out whether the workload is really as immense as you're concerned it will be, although if you do suffer from mental health issues then this is certainly something to consider because Oxbridge has a deserved reputation for not being great for people with anxiety problems.
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cleveranimal56
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It would be the flex of the century.
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Reality Check
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#4
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(Original post by LLLLC123)
I've been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to read History and I'm not sure if it's the right place for me. I was meant to start this October but I ended up taking a gap year due to my mental health issues. Although I know how privileged I am the hold a deferred place, I truthfully don't like the course as much as the history course at UCL, and I worry that I won't be happy there due to the immense workload. That being said, it's extremely difficult to let go of the idea of going to Cambridge, due to the level of prestige. I am unable to decide whether I should withdraw and apply to UCL (alongside other top unis) or whether I should go to Cambridge with the risk of being unhappy and not enjoying my course. Can someone please give me some advice? I'm quite literally driving myself mad trying to make a decision.
'Prestige' means nothing when your MH is in the toilet and you're thoroughly miserable.

UCL isn't exactly the University of Bedfordshire: if you like the look of the course there more, then surely that should be your guiding light? Cambridge isn't for everyone, and the terms are intense - you'd need to be banging out several supervision essays a week along with keeping up with your readings and lectures, and although the terms are super short, there is an expectation to work during the holidays. It's pretty full on, and if you think that sort of pace isn't going to be good for your MH or general happiness, you should seriously consider withdrawing and applying to UCL etc.

It's not a failure to realise, on mature reflection, that maybe Cambridge isn't the best place for you: it's a sensible, informed choice.
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Muttley79
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#5
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(Original post by LLLLC123)
I've been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to read History and I'm not sure if it's the right place for me. I was meant to start this October but I ended up taking a gap year due to my mental health issues. Although I know how privileged I am the hold a deferred place, I truthfully don't like the course as much as the history course at UCL, and I worry that I won't be happy there due to the immense workload. That being said, it's extremely difficult to let go of the idea of going to Cambridge, due to the level of prestige. I am unable to decide whether I should withdraw and apply to UCL (alongside other top unis) or whether I should go to Cambridge with the risk of being unhappy and not enjoying my course. Can someone please give me some advice? I'm quite literally driving myself mad trying to make a decision.
I agree with RC - if you prefer the course elsewhere and you are concerned about the effect on your MH - then rejecting your place is a mature choice. Prestige is unimportant here ...
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Peterhouse Admissions
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#6
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(Original post by Reality Check)
'Prestige' means nothing when your MH is in the toilet and you're thoroughly miserable.

UCL isn't exactly the University of Bedfordshire: if you like the look of the course there more, then surely that should be your guiding light? Cambridge isn't for everyone, and the terms are intense - you'd need to be banging out several supervision essays a week along with keeping up with your readings and lectures, and although the terms are super short, there is an expectation to work during the holidays. It's pretty full on, and if you think that sort of pace isn't going to be good for your MH or general happiness, you should seriously consider withdrawing and applying to UCL etc.

It's not a failure to realise, on mature reflection, that maybe Cambridge isn't the best place for you: it's a sensible, informed choice.
(Original post by Muttley79)
I agree with RC - if you prefer the course elsewhere and you are concerned about the effect on your MH - then rejecting your place is a mature choice. Prestige is unimportant here ...
PRSOM to both of you.

OP, both Reality Check and Muttley have given you excellent advice here. There's always pressure for students to accept Cambridge because 'it's Cambridge' without thinking about other factors, especially course content. It sounds like you've thought this through. The only thing I would say is that you need to be confident of getting an offer from UCL. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't get an offer and as long as you like the courses and structures of the other universities you've applied to, then there's no problem. Best of luck
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Muttley79
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#7
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
PRSOM to both of you.

OP, both Reality Check and Muttley have given you excellent advice here. There's always pressure for students to accept Cambridge because 'it's Cambridge' without thinking about other factors, especially course content. It sounds like you've thought this through. The only thing I would say is that you need to be confident of getting an offer from UCL. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't get an offer and as long as you like the courses and structures of the other universities you've applied to, then there's no problem. Best of luck
What a great post

So refreshing to read this advice from 'an insider'. Thank you.
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LLLLC123
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#8
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
There's nothing wrong with turning down an offer from Cambridge, as long as it's an informed decision. If you prefer the look of UCL's History course then that seems like a perfectly sensible reason to go there. It may be a good idea talking to some current students at Cambridge to find out whether the workload is really as immense as you're concerned it will be, although if you do suffer from mental health issues then this is certainly something to consider because Oxbridge has a deserved reputation for not being great for people with anxiety problems.
Thank you so much for replying and also for not making me feel like I'm crazy for wanting to turn it down.
I have talked to a lot of Oxbridge students and I'm also going up to Cam to meet with my DoS tomorrow. I'm hoping that it will confirm my decision as opposed to making me more confused.

I have to say, the overall impression I got was that the lifestyle was not for me. The funny thing is, even my parents were urging me to accept UCL when my offers came through because I had already expressed that I preferred the course there. Also (and I am aware this shouldn't influence my decision as much as the previously mentioned factors) being in London would provide me with a safety net in case I did relapse.
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LLLLC123
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#9
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#9
T

(Original post by cleveranimal56)
It would be the flex of the century.
Lmaoooo that's one way to put it
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LLLLC123
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Reality Check)
'Prestige' means nothing when your MH is in the toilet and you're thoroughly miserable.

UCL isn't exactly the University of Bedfordshire: if you like the look of the course there more, then surely that should be your guiding light? Cambridge isn't for everyone, and the terms are intense - you'd need to be banging out several supervision essays a week along with keeping up with your readings and lectures, and although the terms are super short, there is an expectation to work during the holidays. It's pretty full on, and if you think that sort of pace isn't going to be good for your MH or general happiness, you should seriously consider withdrawing and applying to UCL etc.

It's not a failure to realise, on mature reflection, that maybe Cambridge isn't the best place for you: it's a sensible, informed choice.
Thank you for the advice RC

I've always been a hard worker and I know that I wouldn't have been selected if my DoS didn't think I could handle it. That being said, I agree that it may not necessarily be the best lifestyle for me even if I COULD scrape by. Truthfully, working myself into the ground trying to get to the top during A-levels caused my MH to collapse completely and the reason I deferred last minute was that I ended up in hospital. I really do worry the same thing would happen in Cambridge - I didn't even go to a competitive sixth form, I went to a state school and was homeschooled at GCSE after having to drop of out mainstream schooling.

Either way, I really appreciate your response. While a lot of people have called me crazy for not wanting to go, one thing I will stand by is that I have carefully thought through this decision. Thanks again
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LLLLC123
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
PRSOM to both of you.

OP, both Reality Check and Muttley have given you excellent advice here. There's always pressure for students to accept Cambridge because 'it's Cambridge' without thinking about other factors, especially course content. It sounds like you've thought this through. The only thing I would say is that you need to be confident of getting an offer from UCL. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't get an offer and as long as you like the courses and structures of the other universities you've applied to, then there's no problem. Best of luck
It's a pleasure to hear this advice from an inside perspective. I really do appreciate it.

I did receive an offer from UCL last year so I'm unsure whether that would help or hinder my chances of acceptance. I also spoke to the history admissions office at UCL who told me that the chances of being accepted were high but (of course) not guaranteed. I have also carefully thought through my other choices to make sure I would receive an offer for a course that suits me.
This has response has given me a lot of hope for my future.
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Wired_1800
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#12
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#12
(Original post by LLLLC123)
I've been offered a place at the University of Cambridge to read History and I'm not sure if it's the right place for me. I was meant to start this October but I ended up taking a gap year due to my mental health issues. Although I know how privileged I am the hold a deferred place, I truthfully don't like the course as much as the history course at UCL, and I worry that I won't be happy there due to the immense workload. That being said, it's extremely difficult to let go of the idea of going to Cambridge, due to the level of prestige. I am unable to decide whether I should withdraw and apply to UCL (alongside other top unis) or whether I should go to Cambridge with the risk of being unhappy and not enjoying my course. Can someone please give me some advice? I'm quite literally driving myself mad trying to make a decision.
The grass is not always greener on the other side. I know and have met people who have studied (other courses, not History) at other top non-oxbridge unis and they have also complained about the workload.

It is fine to apply to UCL for the course content but be completely sure that you will be able to handle the workload. UCL is a top uni and I doubt that their course approach would be drastically different to Cambridge in terms of workload.

Personally, I’d suggest that you start your course at Cambridge and if you don't like the first year, you can transfer. Another option is to experience the Michaelmas term and apply by the UCL deadline, if you dislike it.

Good luck.
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LLLLC123
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Wired_1800)
The grass is not always greener on the other side. I know and have met people who have studied (other courses, not History) at other top non-oxbridge unis and they have also complained about the workload.

It is fine to apply to UCL for the course content but be completely sure that you will be able to handle the workload. UCL is a top uni and I doubt that their course approach would be drastically different to Cambridge in terms of workload.

Personally, I’d suggest that you start your course at Cambridge and if you don't like the first year, you can transfer. Another option is to experience the Michaelmas term and apply by the UCL deadline, if you dislike it.

Good luck.
I agree there is a lot to be said for this.
I am prepared to be under academic pressure wherever I go, but what I've heard is that the workload does tend to be more intense at Cambridge because the terms are only 8 weeks long as opposed to 12. Ultimately, the decision I make will be based on where I think I'll be happy, but I will definitely take this into account. I'm actually not sure how easy it is to transfer after 1st year, but I'll definitely look into it.
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Wired_1800
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#14
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#14
(Original post by LLLLC123)
I agree there is a lot to be said for this.
I am prepared to be under academic pressure wherever I go, but what I've heard is that the workload does tend to be more intense at Cambridge because the terms are only 8 weeks long as opposed to 12. Ultimately, the decision I make will be based on where I think I'll be happy, but I will definitely take this into account. I'm actually not sure how easy it is to transfer after 1st year, but I'll definitely look into it.
I hope you make an informed decision. Good luck.
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