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    I've asked a similar question to this before, sorry for the repetition, but I have received very conflicting information and I'm coming to crunch time without having made a decision.
    I have just got my IB results and they're fairly good. I have the lower end of the standard Oxford offer, and my parents think it would be worth having a gap year and trying for Oxford. I currently have conditional (but I've met the conditions, it just doesn't update until A level results day) offers for Exeter (1st choice) and Cardiff (back up). I defiantly don't want to go to Exeter, which leaves me with Cardiff or clearing for 2009. I can still decline my Exeter offer atm because it is still officially conditional. I have nothing against Cardiff, but it’s not my favourite place.
    Eventually I want to be a barrister, probably in London, and I've had so much conflicting information about how important the university is. Would a degree from Cardiff be good enough for the career I want? or would it be better to have a gap year, do some work experience, live abroad for a bit and travel, then apply to somewhere like Oxford, KCL, Durham etc?
    Who could I ask as an authority on this who might be able to give me an answer?
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    Your university's reputation is pretty important. The top MC firms and chamber sets generally target certain institutions above and over others and it's probably not too unfair to say that a 2.1 from a top 10 university will put you in a better position than a 2.1 from a university outside the top 10 or 20. That having been said, Cardiff and Exeter are both very reputable universities and graduates from both institutions have gone on to achieve jobs in the field and area you want to work in. There are lots of things you can do to improve your application and increase your chances of getting to where you want to be without having to take a gap year and reapply. Oxbridge is a clear advantage but it is by no means a necessity or even a requirement.
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    Thank you for the reply
    What sort of things do you mean by ''things which can improve your application and increase your chances''?
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    I guess I'm just trying to say that there are many applicants from top universities who lose out on places to people who have graduated from considerably "worse" places than Cardiff. To succeed as a lawyer you need to be able to prove a lot more than your place at a particular institution; firstly you need to be able to demonstrate academic ability and a 2.2 from Oxford is considerably more disadvantageous than a 2.1 or a 1st from Cardiff. You need to be able to set yourself apart from the competition and there are lots of ways that you can do this. Off the top of my head, pro bono work and mooting is always useful, perhaps you might be on the executive of a particular society, you might excel in a certain sport or you might even be lucky enough to get yourself some really interesting work experience. Your own personal qualities and the way you come across in interview is a lot more important than having graduated from Durham for example.
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    I have come across people from Cardiff who are trainees at MC firms. However, in a large cohort of about 80 people at the MC firms there are about 1/2 people from Cariff compared to about 40 from Oxbridge and 30 from London unis - obviously those figures are very approximate.

    Becoming a Barrister is even more competitive. Certainly in London, getting pupillage is ridiculously competitive, and is very difficult even for people from Oxbridge. You'd find it difficult from Cardiff, and would probably need an outstanding first.

    If your results are already achieved and they are the low end of the Oxford standard offer, then it is unlikely that you would actually get an offer from Oxford - though not out of the question. Whether you'd prefer another uni is really up to you. The London unis and Durham do have a better reputation than Cardiff, but not massively so. You also have to assess your abilities and remember university gradings count - a first from Cardiff would be as good as a 2:1 from Durham, so if you take a gap year just to end up at Durham and get a 2:1 when you would have got a first at Cardiff, you haven't actually achieved anything.

    My advice would be to take a gap year if you want to go to a different uni and if you were thinking about it anyway. If you don't want to take a gap year, just go to Cardiff - its a great uni.
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    Personally, I would take the year out and remake UCAS applications next year, applying to Oxford, but also to some other places you would be happier at than Exeter or Cardiff. You could spend the time productively by volunteering or working, I think, and I get the sense that people with a slightly 'non-traditional' background fare better further along the career path than those who just career headlong down it...
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    (Original post by Kittten)
    Eventually I want to be a barrister, probably in London

    Would a degree from Cardiff be good enough for the career I want??
    Take a year off and apply to a better ranked university.
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    I would add that if you do end up taking a year off, do something productive with your time. A one year gap on your CV with nothing to explain will not go down well with the Magic Circle. xx
 
 
 
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