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Stuck between UCL and Cambridge... help!

I've received an offer from UCL for ISPS with International Relations and Mandarin Chinese and am honestly still reeling a bit because I was so sure I'd failed the TSA. However it puts me in a difficult position because I also have an offer from Cambridge for History and Politics and I am extremely conflicted as to which one to firm.

Course-wise, it's definitely my top choice based on how incredibly specific it is to my interests, as well as the amazing opportunity that is the language and year abroad. However, I'm apprehensive about whether or not it's worth firming over Cambridge based on the challenge of moving to London as a Northerner from a state school and lower income background, and especially because of the year abroad. I am concerned about the impact that being uprooted like that not once, but twice, could have on me.

Plus, y'know, whether it would be stupid to turn down a Cambridge offer.

For a little context, I am on the autism spectrum and have a diagnosed anxiety disorder; whilst I can probably be described as high-functioning nowadays thanks to medication and a decent support network in my current sixth form, I'm not sure whether or not I could handle:
a) moving to a city as large as London (with such high prices which will inevitably be a source of stress)
b) spending a year in a country literally on the other side of the world on top of this.

If possible, could someone share their experience of the programme - especially the year abroad - as well as broader life at UCL? How much stress would you say you came under compared to what it might be like on a more traditional course at a non-London uni? Would you say that it has been worth it?

Or just if anyone had any advice to give on the whole UCL vs Cambridge debate / going to either uni with autism and mental health issues, then that would be extremely helpful!

I realise that there's quite a lot here lol, but any advice would be appreciated! Thanks :smile:
Reply 1
Go to Cambridge - Better reputation, easier to get jobs, Cambridge and college system would be better for you- less chaotic; much better pastoral care; larger sense of community; cheaper; less stress of finding accommodation in London; don't need to cook in certain colleges.
Do something you're interested in for you 3rd year thesis and then do a masters on a specific topic. Would be silly to turn down Cambridge for UCL IMO
University College London, University of London
University College London
London
Reply 2
Original post by callphd
Go to Cambridge - Better reputation, easier to get jobs, Cambridge and college system would be better for you- less chaotic; much better pastoral care; larger sense of community; cheaper; less stress of finding accommodation in London; don't need to cook in certain colleges.
Do something you're interested in for you 3rd year thesis and then do a masters on a specific topic. Would be silly to turn down Cambridge for UCL IMO

Yeah, those are all points in Cambridge's favour. Tbh I definitely do think I'd thrive in the Cambridge environment a lot more, and it can't really be denied that prestige does play some role in how people will view the degree too. Thanks for the advice :smile:
Do the choice you know you won't regret even if you have to transfer unis later for X or Y reason. Simple as
Reply 4
Original post by AAA_Battery
I've received an offer from UCL for ISPS with International Relations and Mandarin Chinese and am honestly still reeling a bit because I was so sure I'd failed the TSA. However it puts me in a difficult position because I also have an offer from Cambridge for History and Politics and I am extremely conflicted as to which one to firm.

Course-wise, it's definitely my top choice based on how incredibly specific it is to my interests, as well as the amazing opportunity that is the language and year abroad. However, I'm apprehensive about whether or not it's worth firming over Cambridge based on the challenge of moving to London as a Northerner from a state school and lower income background, and especially because of the year abroad. I am concerned about the impact that being uprooted like that not once, but twice, could have on me.

Plus, y'know, whether it would be stupid to turn down a Cambridge offer.

For a little context, I am on the autism spectrum and have a diagnosed anxiety disorder; whilst I can probably be described as high-functioning nowadays thanks to medication and a decent support network in my current sixth form, I'm not sure whether or not I could handle:
a) moving to a city as large as London (with such high prices which will inevitably be a source of stress)
b) spending a year in a country literally on the other side of the world on top of this.

If possible, could someone share their experience of the programme - especially the year abroad - as well as broader life at UCL? How much stress would you say you came under compared to what it might be like on a more traditional course at a non-London uni? Would you say that it has been worth it?

Or just if anyone had any advice to give on the whole UCL vs Cambridge debate / going to either uni with autism and mental health issues, then that would be extremely helpful!

I realise that there's quite a lot here lol, but any advice would be appreciated! Thanks :smile:

also, because of the shorter term times at Cam you could go to China for a few months which would probably be a lot less intimidating and a lot less expensive than going for a whole year. Also, as Cam colleges have a lot of money you'll probably find that they'd be willing to contribute towards the cost of you travelling abroad if you could explain how it would benefit your education.
Cambridge also have a language centre where you could do Mandarin on the side as evening classes.

if it wasn't clear already, i'd say that Cam seems like the better choice
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
also, because of the shorter term times at Cam you could go to China for a few months which would probably be a lot less intimidating and a lot less expensive than going for a whole year. Also, as Cam colleges have a lot of money you'll probably find that they'd be willing to contribute towards the cost of you travelling abroad if you could explain how it would benefit your education.
Cambridge also have a language centre where you could do Mandarin on the side as evening classes.

if it wasn't clear already, i'd say that Cam seems like the better choice

Sometimes an outside perspective is very helpful when you've been ruminating for too long lol, these are all very sensible points! Thank you :smile:

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