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Going from Oxford back to US for finishing Bachelor's: What Econ programs should I apply?

OXFtoUSOXFtoUS 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
So I applied to Oxford my senior year of high school because I thought Oxford was a superior place academically. The fact that people had to take tests just to interview for a particular subject, that you focused entirely on your subject, and the fact that it was 3 years enticed me a lot. I just finished my first year at Oxford reading PPE and I am so disillusioned with the place now. Perhaps, just perhaps the institution is academically superior, but even that is contestable. The fact that terms are 8 weeks means that we have to cram courses in half the time that US students do. Yes, we have less courses, but it's stressful nonetheless. Also, the vague guidelines for essays means that you don't exactly know what you have to do to get high marks. Anyways, this is not the main reason I want to come home. The social atmosphere there is atrocious. The vast majority of people there all went to private schools, and they act that way too. A large portion of them act extremely snobbish, and I constantly get the feeling of being inferior. These people act like they know everything in the world, and seem to think they know more about US politics than I do. They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards. I am forced to be extremely self-conscious around people because of the small batches of students in a year, which facilitates the creation of a reputation around you. British people tend to self-segregate, so internationals such as myself regularly find ourselves not being able to hold conversations when in groups with other British people.
Because my frustrations are largely social, I want to go to a school back home with the best of both worlds academically and socially. I'm hoping to join a school where its hard to build any particular reputation, and am looking for an open-minded student body. I'm also looking for a big city campus, since I'm from Chicago and am used to those environs. Additionally, I'm hoping to join a school with a really good undergraduate econ program, because I intend to do my PhD. in econ once I graduate. Can anyone suggest schools that fulfill these criteria?
Additional info:
College GPA: ~3.7 because Oxford marks don't translate cleanly
High School GPA: 3.97
SAT: 1590
ACT: 35
ECs: Mainly political stuff, have served as Field Director for a couple campaigns and am currently a member of the outreach committee for the local Democratic party. Also planning on doing research with at least one economics professor before transferring out.
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Replies to: Going from Oxford back to US for finishing Bachelor's: What Econ programs should I apply?

  • CaMom13CaMom13 1855 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So sorry the Oxford thing isn't working out. I would start with the list below as American universities who have participated in the Oxford exchange program - there's a lot of them but at least you'll know if you apply to one they already have some idea of how their students do at Oxford and you might have less trouble transferring credits.

    https://www.osapabroad.com/about/over-650-colleges/

    From what you've said you are looking for, it's kind of a challenge. Big city campuses tend to be large and impersonal and you seem to want the intimacy of a smaller, highly academic school. Urban schools with excellent academics are hot properties.
    Brown or Columbia would be a good choice but I am pretty sure they are going to be tough to get into. ;) Leaving the Ivies behind... Georgetown, DePaul, Tufts, Carnegie Mellon. Again, none of them easy schools to transfer into but maybe that gives you a place to start. I wish you the best of luck.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6590 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 20
    What were your actual marks in prelims?
    So city campus, big enough that nobody knows anything in particular about you, and good for econ?
    Chicago is the obvious place, Columbia would be, but it's a tough place to move to, b/c of the Core curriculum requirements. Georgetown might be too small for you. UCLA or UCB would do fit. Johns Hopkins could work.

    It sounds as if you are going back for Michalmas term, in which case I suggest trying to go back with an open mind. Some of the things that you mention are things that can be interpreted other ways. For example, "They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards" is (for many Brits anyway) not code but an assessment that rather a lot of Americans (both pro- and anti-) also have made.

    "These people act like they know everything in the world, and seem to think they know more about US politics than I do" is certainly true for a lot of English people (and *especially* 18 year old PPE students). However, if you move back to the US and talk to the international students at your new top-tier uni you will discover that is the impression a lot of them have of Americans as well. Ditto the tendency to self-segregate.

    Becoming a minority- which, as an American at Oxford you are- takes some adjusting. You have to learn to look at things from a whole different perspective.

    It's a pity you didn't make any friends in your first year staircase, as that is where a lot of people get their base. Given that you are in PPE you are in at the deep end of politically opinionated people, who all want to be Prime Minister some day. If you are involved in the Oxford Union, that is an even deeper pool of private school / ambitious / competitive people- and hand on heart is not representative of the student body. And if you are at ChCh double up on the above!

    There are other people at Oxford, and if you go back this autumn look for them. If you got your fingers burned at the Union know that you are not the first to have that happen, and there is life afterwards. Get involved in something else- check out RAG, for example, which has a lot of nice people in it.
    edited August 20
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  • OXFtoUSOXFtoUS 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited August 22
    What were your actual marks in prelims?
    So city campus, big enough that nobody knows anything in particular about you, and good for econ?
    Chicago is the obvious place, Columbia would be, but it's a tough place to move to, b/c of the Core curriculum requirements. Georgetown might be too small for you. UCLA or UCB would do fit. Johns Hopkins could work.

    It sounds as if you are going back for Michalmas term, in which case I suggest trying to go back with an open mind. Some of the things that you mention are things that can be interpreted other ways. For example, "They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards" is (for many Brits anyway) not code but an assessment that rather a lot of Americans (both pro- and anti-) also have made.

    "These people act like they know everything in the world, and seem to think they know more about US politics than I do" is certainly true for a lot of English people (and *especially* 18 year old PPE students). However, if you move back to the US and talk to the international students at your new top-tier uni you will discover that is the impression a lot of them have of Americans as well. Ditto the tendency to self-segregate.

    Becoming a minority- which, as an American at Oxford you are- takes some adjusting. You have to learn to look at things from a whole different perspective.

    It's a pity you didn't make any friends in your first year staircase, as that is where a lot of people get their base. Given that you are in PPE you are in at the deep end of politically opinionated people, who all want to be Prime Minister some day. If you are involved in the Oxford Union, that is an even deeper pool of private school / ambitious / competitive people- and hand on heart is not representative of the student body. And if you are at ChCh double up on the above!

    There are other people at Oxford, and if you go back this autumn look for them. If you got your fingers burned at the Union know that you are not the first to have that happen, and there is life afterwards. Get involved in something else- check out RAG, for example, which has a lot of nice people in it.
    So my prelims marks were 194 in total (needed 200 for first), 66 in econ, 64 in phil, and 64 in politics. I understand this will probably make UChicago and the like difficult for me, but I at least want to try, considering UChicago in particular is my ideal school for a PhD and I'm from Chicago. At Columbia there is a professor with whom I will be doing research in urban economics, so that may help in admissions.
    And everything you said is completely valid. In fact, I'm happy that I've had this experience because of the fact that I know that sometimes I can be arrogant or not be sociable to certain types of students for no good reason, and Oxford has shown me what it's like to be on the receiving end of that treatment. I did actually make friends in my staircase (my study-mate was an international, and through him I have a good group of friends). I'm definitely going to go about Michaelmas differently next year, and I hope that Oxford feels more accommodating. That being said, I still think there's no good reason not to put in the apps.
    edited August 22
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  • PublisherPublisher 7753 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    University of Chicago, Northwestern University & Columbia University should be considered.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3707 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards. <<<<<<<<

    Loads of Americans think the same thing, this isn't a British opinion.
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  • merc81merc81 10254 replies155 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 23
    These analyses can be helpful for the selection of particularly strong economics programs. Since you'd prefer an urban environment, the first link may be of greater interest to you, though the schools in the second link are notable for their exclusively undergraduate-focused environments.

    https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.usecondept.html

    https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.uslacecon.html
    edited August 23
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  • IWannaHelpIWannaHelp 412 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited August 23
    @merc81

    That ranking is a function of whether profs register with them which I find pretty unreliable. Dartmouth never shows up high in another other econ ranking except this one. It’s like fantasy football!
    edited August 23
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  • CU123CU123 3541 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 24
    Don't worry every Brit I ever met thought they were the superior being, its just the way they were raised.

    BTW that is what you get with a purely merit based system, those with the most advantages are accepted, those without advantages, not so much.
    edited August 24
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  • merc81merc81 10254 replies155 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 24
    IWannaHelp wrote: »
    Dartmouth never shows up high in [any other] other econ ranking except this one.

    I've not seen other economics rankings from a reliable source other than one specifically for graduate departments, which I would disregard entirely for the selection of an undergraduate college. Regarding Dartmouth specifically, it should be seen as impressive that it places so highly among larger institutions in the RePEc ranking since that analysis has not been normalized for department size.
    edited August 24
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  • oldfortoldfort 22898 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Cornell has larger population of transfer students than other school, because of that, they also do a better job integrating transfer students. Ithaca is not a big city, but it is a vibrant college town. They have a very good economics department, as well as a business school.
    Both of my kids like big city (they are now living in NYC), and they loved their 4 years at Cornell. As mentioned by others, Northwestern, Chicago, Columbia are all good choices. You may want to consider NYU too if you are considering Columbia. You should just cast a wide net and see where you get in.
    My older daughter studied abroad in Sydney and she had similar experience as you (everyone went to private school and knew each other). She was miserable the first 2 months, but did finally break into their social circle. 10 years later, she is still friends with many of them (going to each others weddings). My younger daughter studied abroad in London and had good experience there.
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1263 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards.
    Brits aren't too smart either. Look who's occupying 10 Downing Street...
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1519 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    “Don't worry every Brit I ever met thought they were the superior being, its just the way they were raised.

    BTW that is what you get with a purely merit based system, those with the most advantages are accepted, those without advantages, not so much.”

    This is a slight misunderstanding of British society (unless you equate “advantages” to intellectual ability) and in particular how Oxbridge students and fellows behave. They are openly competitive about intellectual achievements because it is not socially acceptable to talk about money. So for example my neighbor in college claimed for two years that it was purely a coincidence his surname was the same as the name of the building we were living in, when in fact (I found out much later) his family had donated vast sums of money to pay for the construction. I never felt out of place as a first gen kid from a poor part of the country (although I had attended a competitive grammar school where it was “expected” I would go to Oxbridge - watch “The History Boys” for a very good illustration of this) and I could happily feel superior to him intellectually without money ever being a consideration.

    Conversely, you have the classic boast “more Nobel Prizes than France” (which is a regular feature of college dinners, fundraising events, etc. even though it’s not strictly true) and headlines in the alumni newsletters are always about Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, or becoming an MP, winning an Oscar, writing a book, etc. and never about business achievements.
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  • OXFtoUSOXFtoUS 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member

    Sybylla wrote: »
    They keep saying Trump will be re-elected, which is just code to say Americans are stupid and backwards. <<<<<<<<

    Loads of Americans think the same thing, this isn't a British opinion.

    Ok, what I did not mean to say by mentioning that is that saying that in itself constitutes calling Americans stupid. What I mean is that it's evidential; the behavior adds up. I take it to mean that Americans are stupid in this context because I have no reason to believe they mean otherwise based on the behavior of those around me who say such things.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 789 replies90 threadsRegistered User Member
    Try Rice and Brown type schools for good overall experience and good economics major too. As a transfer, you don’t want to end up in large or cutthroat competitive communities.
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  • OXFtoUSOXFtoUS 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Riversider wrote: »
    Try Rice and Brown type schools for good overall experience and good economics major too. As a transfer, you don’t want to end up in large or cutthroat competitive communities.

    Does Rice have a good undergraduate econ program? I really like Houston, like really really like it, so if they do I think they would quickly move to the top of my list.
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  • OXFtoUSOXFtoUS 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Tigerle wrote: »
    But but but...
    You are going back for another year anyway, right? And then it’s just one more until finals! And you are doing phenomenally well!
    Am I actually doing well? That's another reason why I wanted to transfer; I didn't think I was doing that well academically.
    Tigerle wrote: »
    But but but...
    Have you gotten into music? Rowing? Theater? Those are, off the cuff, the opportunities I can think of where you can find a way into “native” groups and gain some respect. But if you have followed politics at all over the last three years you will know that there are groups whose respect you will never gain, but whose respect you do. Not. Need.
    I shoulder some of the blame for this; while I did try to meet people as much as possible, and while I did get to know a lot of people, I didn't put myself in situations where I had REPEATED contact with people, i.e. I didn't really do any clubs or that sort of thing. I plan on doing more of that this coming year. I should note that while I am absolutely putting in the apps, it is not a done deal that I am transferring. If things are looking up this year, I have no reason to.
    Tigerle wrote: »
    Stick to other internationals, to state school students, to people who go out of their way to do things well apart from scraping by until finals doing the required essays and otherwise getting drunk.
    The international community in my college is great, and I think we have the biggest international contingent among our undergrads out of all colleges, so it makes for a very vibrant and supportive community. I've largely stuck to them as well as a select few Brits. I've definitely been making the mistake in the past of trying to gain the acceptance of people who won't give me that, and will not be making that mistake again.

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  • TigerleTigerle 383 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    I unterstand that you have narrowly missed a first on prelims, so gained a high 2.1, in spite of the social and acedemic culture shock. I think thats phenomenal. Note also that a first isnt the equivalent of an A, and measured praise mixed with constructive criticism is about as much unbridled enthusiasm as you can ecpect from a tutor there ( see culture shock, academic).
    If you were to transfer to the US as a Junior, you may have to scramble to make up core or gen eds in classes with lots of freshmen just out of high school, at the expense of upper level classes with topics that interest and excite you and researchers whose notice you want to gain. And the two years in Oxford with no qualifications to show for may look and feel to you and others (grad schools and employers, for instance) largely like a mistake to overcome, but three years with a degree out of it, a 2.1 or maybe even a first, will look and feel like a success, even though you will remember frustrations and setbacks. You will have persevered instead of given up.
    I agree it shouldn't stop you from checking out transfer options, but I would really urge you to give it another go, and be determined about it.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6590 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Am I actually doing well? That's another reason why I wanted to transfer; I didn't think I was doing that well academically
    .

    You are. You are just in the deep end of the pool- kind of like an academic Olympics, where everybody else is also a super strong swimmer and only swimming in their best event.
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  • HazeGreyHazeGrey 219 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Saying this only to give you hope that things can improve - my son at Worcester is enjoying his time at Oxford. I'm sure that the maths crowd is different from the PPE/E&M crowd (a lot fewer Union hacks I would bet), but he's done a lot to broaden his relationships. He's active with the chess team, the ski team, plays college football, basketball & tennis. They are also trying to re-boot the Oxford American Society. And yes - you should feel good about a just a few marks off distinction in your prelims. My son who was a state math champ his junior and senior year was in the same boat. My hunch is that you could hopefully improve your experience.

    Please feel free to DM me if you would like to get in touch with him.
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