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Thread: A personal dilemna!

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Default A personal dilemna!

    Hi, its not often I post threads such as this, but Im having a very difficult time making a decision here.

    I wont go into too much detail, but basically im holding offers to study Biology at both University College London and Imperial College London. I want to select one of these as my first choice.

    Now, I live outside the UK so I feel a little out of the loop in terms of having a sense of their influence and reputation.
    That and also I didnt have the opportunity to visit these like I did some other schools. UCL have offered to set me up with an admissions tutor for a talk, but Imperial cant do anything of the sort. As you can see, I wont have very much 'experience' or 'feeling' to make my decision; only facts.

    Obviously Ive compared their courses, facilities, rankings and all that, but im trying to get a bit more of a sense from anyone who has ever dealt with them.

    If theres anything you can offer, then I would be very grateful.
    "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Rousseau

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    Senior Member DrMike's Avatar
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    Is this for a basic degree, or an advanced degree (I don't know the terms used in England)? If it is an advanced degree, and you will be doing actual research, then the bigger question is what researchers are at each place, and which labs would you most like to join.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Sorry - its for an undergraduate degree, which is the one you take after leaving high school.
    "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Rousseau

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    You have obviously already looked into the facts and figures yourself, so I won't add to that part of your judgement, but I can offer from the UK university student perspective that Imperial College is particularly well-regarded and renowned for being a centre of great scientific excellence. All things being equal, I would go there for biology, but I'm not aware of the equivalence of other important variables.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Save up, Borrow, even, and plant your feet on British ground and nose around yourself. Get appointments if not with counselors, a professor or two. Be prepared to take no more than a quarter hour of their time. Do not frame questions where they have to defend why their institution is better. Half the interview time should be for your questions, the other half for their responses.

    Where you are from has it in the general imagination that from Amsterdam to Haarlem is 'far.' You must expand your notion of relative distance if you are already prepared to go to London. Do that now. (A'dam - Oostende / Oostende, etc. It is as mere half-day journey.)

    Be aggressive, see if you can get some time from actual students: they are peers. You know exactly how to talk with them, what to ask, and 'read' not only what they say, but the more abstract reactions and body language. You share a mutual interest, after all.

    This is four years of your future you are talking about. It is not a time to passively think you are too poor to take a train, a ferry and a train, or a relatively inexpensive flight (costly if you are a student, yes, but) when so much is at stake over getting what you both want and need for stimulation and the proper preparation to study further.

    Go. Look. Feel. Ask. Go home and think about it. This is for you, and no one else can tell you what your visceral or more intellectual assessment will be that will guide you to the best decision.

    P.s. If you have an idea of where you would best be doing your post-graduate work, it is worth investigating which of these two schools is considered the 'stronger' argument, or positive influence, on your C.V. when applying to those graduate programs.
    Last edited by PetrB; Mar-14-2012 at 12:51.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Thanks for your post PetrB

    Just to clarify, and I wrote this in my OP, that I do have an appointment with an admissions tutor from UCL, but there is no possibility for such a thing from Imperial. I will be visiting london for a few days for this purpose and to walk around the campus.

    Anyway, apart from the details, your post is encouraging and quite motivating so thanks.

    PS - I was born in the US and lived in London for a long time so my notion of distance is quite adaptable.
    "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Rousseau

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    Senior Member Mesa's Avatar
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    It's posts like this that remind me i should've gone to a real university instead of a dolled up Polytechnic. Ahaha.
    PetrB likes this.
    You're a crazy, penniless lobster doctor. No combination of you should be a comedian.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    Thanks for your post PetrB

    Just to clarify, and I wrote this in my OP, that I do have an appointment with an admissions tutor from UCL, but there is no possibility for such a thing from Imperial. I will be visiting london for a few days for this purpose and to walk around the campus.

    Anyway, apart from the details, your post is encouraging and quite motivating so thanks.

    PS - I was born in the US and lived in London for a long time so my notion of distance is quite adaptable.
    I make amends for assumptions. I lived in Holland quite some time, and presumed you had the local perspective as a native :-)

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