Bath or Sciences Po for best chances post-grad in the UK?

(20 Posts)
shockthemonkey Sun 10-Apr-16 19:52:56

One of my charges was unlucky at interview for HSPS Cambridge. Her fallback is Bath for IR... after her disappointment with Cambridge she has slowly warmed to the idea of Bath, but since firming them has been invited to interview at Sciences Po (Reims) for their Euro-American programme.

She still dreams of Cambridge for her Masters though, and her question now is, will a good degree from Bath give her the better chance (over Sciences Po) of getting a place at a highly selective British uni for postgrad?

She is half French half Spanish, her English is very strong, and her ultimate career goal is something in development/foreign service/ngo (in France or Spain).

Sorry for the quite esoteric question -- does anyone have any thoughts though?

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RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Sun 10-Apr-16 21:26:57

What is it about the Cambridge Masters course that appeals?

I can see that - possibly - being able to explain that she'd always had a strong interest in the area/methodology/whatever, might help? But then, surely that is the same consideration that ought to help her choose between these two courses?

shockthemonkey Mon 11-Apr-16 14:34:58

Thanks. She is fixated on Cambridge. I don't think she's looked into the details of the course.

The two courses she's trying to decide between for undergrad are equally attractive to her, though different in content/emphasis.

Thanks Robins....

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catslife Mon 11-Apr-16 15:09:39

I don't understand what degree courses HSPS and IR are?
Have you tried asking Cambridge what percentage of masters students they take from other UK universities or from abroad? I would guess that obtaining the best degree possible e.g. a first may be more important than which university you studied your first degree at. I did a Masters course at a top university and roughly 60% were from the same university and 40% from other UK universities with just 1 student who had studied abroad. (This could be because only a small number of people applied from outside the UK though). So it could be that the chances of postgrad study in the UK may be higher if you have done your first degree in the UK.
On the other hand, if working in France is also important to your dd, then her chances of obtaining work in France at a later date may be higher with a degree from a French university. How would a French employer rate Bath university?

BoboChic Mon 11-Apr-16 15:13:58

Sciences Po. Your applicant can do her third year somewhere interesting and non-British and go to Cambridge for her Masters in her fourth year.

One of the university applicants I advised did not get an offer from Oxford for PPE, went to Sciences Po, to Berlin in his third year and did an MPhil at Cambridge. He is now doing a PhD at LSE.

BoboChic Mon 11-Apr-16 15:16:46

I've also had applicants get Bath but prefer Sciences Po but not the other way round.

shockthemonkey Mon 11-Apr-16 15:32:51

Thanks Bobo. Very interesting... that sounds like a very good option for her. I will look into it.

Cats, HSPS stands for Human, Social and Political Sciences, a very broad programme which attracts students applying for IR (International Relations) at other universities.

Not my dd, but point taken about entrance stats for Masters.

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BoboChic Mon 11-Apr-16 15:48:50

On another, related, subject: an applicant of mine has had an offer from LSE for Maths/Econ, having put LSE down as an afterthought. He doesn't know whether to accept or not...

shockthemonkey Mon 11-Apr-16 16:10:58

Are you looking for advice about that, Bobo? All my LSE offer-holders are ridiculously excited! What are his other options??? Longer-term educational/career goals?

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BoboChic Mon 11-Apr-16 17:01:20

Not really looking for advice so much as bemused at the lottery that is LSE.

His other option is prépa plus engineering (Polytechnique probably within reach). So obviously he's a very good student.

shockthemonkey Tue 12-Apr-16 15:38:07

Hmm. LSE has surprised us this year again... except in not making offers for Economics. I had thought that Maths/Econ would be as hard as straight Econ, but we also have a very happy offer holder for Maths/Econ.

I hope your student manages to make a decision soon, BoboChic. Out of interest where else did he apply in the UK?

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RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 12-Apr-16 15:59:37

She is fixated on Cambridge. I don't think she's looked into the details of the course.

That might not be the best way to approach it? I know the Masters is a long way away, but if she were applying for it now, she would want to be able to explain why she wanted to do the Cambridge course. And, ideally, how her undergrad prepared her or stimulated her to apply for it.

If the two undergrad courses are equally attractive, I think she should just pick the one that she thinks is the best fit for her (including things like which city she likes best, which open day got her interested, which is assessed in the way that most suits her ...).

I think it would be a big risk, before even starting an undergrad, to try to strategise towards a Cambridge masters, when she's not even clear why she wants that.

BoboChic Tue 12-Apr-16 16:42:35

He applied to Cambridge, Warwick and St Andrews. Didn't get either Cambridge or St Andrews. Warwick came by return of post, so to speak. LSE responded right at the end of the cycle.

Needmoresleep Wed 13-Apr-16 08:45:10

Bobo, I would not be too sure that the LSE is being random. Did he apply elsewhere for straight Economics?

Maths with Economics is both easier and harder. Easier because there are 6.8 applicants to a place, compared with 11.8 applicants for a place on the economics degree. Harder because there is an awful lot of maths. If you are in the economics faculty there is flexibility if you find you are not enjoying the maths (though the LSE economics remains a maths heavy degree) to select options involving finance, economic history or whatever. With maths with economics you are pretty stuck. There may be, as with many Universities, informal scope to switch departments after the end of your first year, not least because I think it is possible to take the same first year options from within the economics degree. However my understanding is that you need to be doing very well to be offered this flexibilty. So you would face a catch 22. If you found you hated maths, or more specifically the sort of maths the LSE teaches, you might find it difficult to do sufficiently well to be granted the flexibility you might need in order to escape the maths.

Anecdotally DS tells me that Maths with Econ is a degree that people can struggle with. Perhaps in part because historially the entry requirements have appeared a bit less onerous and the competition less fierce. However if you enjoy it , it is a very well regarded and technical degree. And there will be people in the Economics Department who graduate having taken the same or very similar options.

My assumption is that he is offering strong maths, and that this is what the LSE is primarily concerned about. He should look closely at the course content and reassure himself that they suit.

shockthemonkey Wed 13-Apr-16 08:53:38

Just to sidetrack a bit, St Andrew's has said No to all but one of our French applicants. One "rejection" came in the form of "but we'd take you for programme x, y or z".

It's really funny to get that kind of answer when universities are pretty clear that applicants must show single-minded motivation and commitment to their chosen programme.

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Needmoresleep Wed 13-Apr-16 09:03:25

Shock, this happened to DS two years ago with Warwick, it is something that Durham are known for, and there is a current thread which includes the information that Exeter are doing the same with science.

He is presumably just below the bar for economics, and the bar is likely to be very high for Scottish/EU students, but presumably so good they don't want to lose him altogether.

We found it irritating for the reasons you suggest.

BoboChic Wed 13-Apr-16 09:33:50

No, NeedMoreSleep, he didn't apply elsewhere for straight Economics.

BoboChic Wed 13-Apr-16 09:39:42

I also have an example of an applicant to King's for IR being offered European Studies (French Pathway) instead. This applicant has zero interest in the European Studies course and was incredibly disappointed.

shockthemonkey Wed 13-Apr-16 18:25:36

I'm so glad you're sharing this information about the offers of alternative programmes. It has hit a few of my students quite hard, and pretty much as you have experienced, we've seen it this year with Durham, King's, Bristol and St Andrew's... (mostly for IR -- highly over-subscribed programme across the board these days, it would seem).

These responses made me feel like I may have missed a weakness in their PSs, but I went back over them and still find them very good.

Thanks so much for the info, which sort of consoles me a bit!

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BoboChic Thu 14-Apr-16 08:39:38

It's all the more disappointing for applicants because they absolutely are not prepared by the university websites or open days for an offer of an alternative course to the one they are applying for. Everything the applicants read and hear is about being focused on your course and doing the right reading and extracurricular activities to demonstrate interest and motivation and crafting your PS in a course specific way.

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