Advice on college choice

I was recently accepted to a few colleges/programs both in the US and the UK, and if possible I want some advice on which to attend. I was accepted to Imperial to study biology, Durham to study Finance, Edinburgh for a 4 year M.A. in Economics with Finance, and UCL for Economics. Along with this, I was accepted to a few 7 year B.S./D.O. programs in the US.

Imperial has the greatest prestige among these universities and is most well known, but will leave me with an almost useless degree and a drained bank account.

UCL is also very reputable and will give me a useful degree, although, I’ve heard from Europeans that Imperial is still more renowned.

Edinburgh will give me a masters after just 4 years in a useful major.

Durham will give me an extremely useful and lucrative degree.

The B.S./D.O. programs I got into are all extremely competitive and will set me up for a career in medicine, along with heavily subsidizing my 3 years of undergraduate study through scholarships.

As long as I get a good wage, and lots of time off, I don’t really care what I do. As such, I would like to pursue a career path that lets me work in Europe as they have much better working conditions albeit less money.

Please give me some advice on this matter.

Do you want to work in Europe or the UK? Do you have the legal right to work in either now?

Also, I am fascinated that you were able to write a PS that covered both bio @ Imperial and Econ @ UCL, Durham & Edi

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That’s actually an addition to why I wanted advice on this matter, as I don’t have citizenship to a European country/don’t have the legal right to stay. I heard that attending Imperial or UCL increases my chances of staying in the UK after university, and a useful degree will always be in higher demand then a less useful one. For an American D.O., most European countries allow full practicing rights, with some countries like Sweden not even requiring extra certification, in addition to the fact that American doctors are the most valued around the world. I really don’t care if it’s Europe or specifically the UK, as long as it’s a fairly wealthy country with good labor laws. As for how I was able to do both Bio and Econ, I actually applied to all schools for bio, then after receiving my offers, I asked to switch to Econ.

I think there is already an error in your perception to think Imperial is the most well known. It is the least well known amongst the Golden Triangle universities.

The rank for well known in this list is:

  1. UCL
  2. Imperial
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Durham
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The question, as ever, is ‘better known’ - to whom & for what?


Yeah, I guess you are right.

To academics? Students? Employers? The British? Americans? Europeans? Or globally?

Regardless I am sure in most of these cases (especially the big one, globally) UCL is better known than Imperial.

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I like where @collegemom3717 is going with her prompt. From my perspective all of these schools will deliver an excellent education that will prepare you for whatever future you want to pave for yourself. These schools you listed are bangers and have great reputations.

Personally, I’d stay in the UK for your studies. And I’d choose Edinburgh because of the location and then having a Masters in 4 years.

Practically, to help you make a decision, move beyond the status quandary and into the experience of university. How the schools teach, location of the school, any specific teachers you’d want to study with, research opportunities that light you up? What will the day to day feel like is really important in my opinion. And you can only make your best guess. So do some research, steer away from the pragmatics (as you’ve obviously already have that down). Where do you want to be for the next 4 years? How do you want it to feel? Follow this line of questions and I trust you will get more clarity what is right for you. GL!


Thanks so much for all the advice guys!

I’m honestly not really considering Imperial or Durham any more, since 1. I like the look and feel of UCL and Edinburgh more and 2. They give better degrees.

However, my biggest point of contention right now are the 7 year BS/DO programs I got into. One of them is in NYC, a pretty good city where I can network a lot. Furthermore, I am more used to the US system as I grew up here. Also, looking at their course map, I can fairly confidently say that I can reasonably anticipate a very easy 3 years of undergrad study, considering that I’ve already taken OChem, Linear Alg, Multivar Calc, AP Physics C, AP Psych, and I tutor College Microbiology and Neuroscience in my free time. If they let me, I could graduate in 2 years.

So i guess now the biggest question is which would help me more in europe for the future, a US degree in Medicine, or a British degree in economics?

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Do you want to be a doctor or use your economics degree (consultancy, finance, etc)?

I would look up paths to ‘right to work’ in the countries you’re interested in based on US DO degree and UK Econ degree. Do your research.

What languages do you speak? Hard to work in mainland Europe without knowing the language of the country you want to live in.

Note that the Edi ‘masters’ is not to be confused with a postgraduate degree. It is just a 4 year bachelors with a different name.

Usually, a UK degree would not be encouraged for someone so undecided about what they want to study. Are you prepared for 3 years of Econ (and higher level math)?

Durham is an excellent uni by the way…

Good luck.


In order for a Non EU citizen to stay in virtually any European Country, a work permit is required. For American doctors to practice, they usually require some level of examination, with some countries like Sweden requiring no extra work and directly recognizing a US DO/MD.

All I’m really asking is: what will allow me to find a better job more easily in Europe, an American DO, or a British B.S./potentially M.S. in Economics.

I am extremely confident in my personal ability in regards to STEM. I am prepared for whatever I need to do.

Remember that post-Brexit the UK really isn’t the same as Europe and won’t offer opportunities to live or work in other European countries. However the flip side is that there’s now an automatic two year working visa for any graduate of a UK university to stay in the UK, with the opportunity to move onto a “skilled visa” and gain a permanent right to stay. See Post-study work opportunities | British Council

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Thanks so much for the response! This is a really valuable piece of information. Also, many thanks to @collegemom3717 and @Twoin18, both of whom helped me greatly with my application process.

This is what my son is hoping to do once he completes his course this summer. Wants to stay in the UK and is trying to land a job in the City.

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You could study in Ireland and be in the EU. There may well be another Scottish independence referendum, so it’s possible that if you studied at Edinburgh you could end up in the EU.

I would not worry about the university as much as the country and most of all your course of study. You sound like you are a very accomplished student, but you should study the course that will lead to a career that you will love, not one that will get you into the EU. There are lots of ways to get into the EU (post COVID) if you are an American citizen (not clear from your post if you are or not).

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Even within the EU each country has its own immigration requirements. However, most will require a job offer and the ability to speak the native language will be essential in some roles (more likely in osteopathy (DO is osteopathy, right?) than finance). What languages do you speak, and how fluently?

If you’re thinking the UK as a final destination:

Osteopathy in the UK: Training and registering - General Osteopathic Council ( The majority are self employed which would be a stumbling block in terms of getting a visa. Also I’m not sure if your US qualification would be recognised: Training courses - General Osteopathic Council ( It won’t be regarded as a degree in medicine here.

Finance in the UK: you could benefit from the new post-study work visa arrangement, but Brexit may jeopardise some jobs in the financial sector, making finding one more competitive. High paid jobs in finance aren’t likely to give you lots of free time.


I am an American citizen fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and I am conversational in German. I plan to further study German and perhaps Swedish.

A D.O. degree is recognized as a degree in medicine in the UK, with full practicing rights granted after meeting a few conditions. source: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine - Wikipedia. Disregarding this, I will still be aiming for an MD, given that it is more universally recognized. This DO program is really just a safety net that ensures that I will have the ability to practice medicine.

I have also applied to Irish universities like UCD (also for econ), and while I have not yet received an offer, I am also extremely confident that I will get one.

So you have other US options as well that you haven’t mentioned? Because you will struggle to get into a US med school with a UK degree.

Basically I think you have to decide: medicine or finance. Which appeals to you more as a career, and are you happy to do it in the US if you don’t make it to Europe after all?

PS - I think you may find the ‘a few conditions’ a little more challenging than your wording suggests. Not impossible by any means, but not a walk in the park.


You really should figure out what you want to do in life. Your career will have a major impact on your level of happiness/unhappiness. Much more so that what uni you attend or even what country you’re in, IMO.

So late to this discussion but a couple things to keep in mind.
The DO degree is not seen the same as an MD in the EU – depending on the country it can quite difficult to practice as a physician even with an MD degree and several years of clinical practice, and near impossible with a DO. Aside from language requirements, there are training requirements and often you will need to take the licensing exams (though England just revised their requirement to take the PLAB as I understand it). Wikipedia is honestly not the ideal place to research this.
Though I will add there are an increasing number of telemedicine companies that hire US physicians to live/work abroad – you would need to need to have a full unrestricted license as a US physician though (typically in several states). To get this, you not only need to complete medical school but usually a residency program (minimum of 3 years depending on specialty - sometimes an extra year for DO). So if your ultimate goal is to live/work in the EU as a physician, who attending medical school in the US, you should understand that this will likely take at least a decade of study.

Also keep in mind that MOST medical schools in the US do not recognize pre-requisites taken abroad. If you want to return to the US for medical school, you would likely need to do a post-bacc program or take the required classes. You can find this information on the AMCAS website - this is used for most applications to US allopathic medical schools,. I do not know if the same is true of osteopathic schools.

I agree with the advice above – you need to decide what you want to do in life and pursue that. And then you need to do a lot more research if you are looking for the quickest path to that end.