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UK Uni help!

asmaster24asmaster24 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing great :)

This is actually quite a different question...so my dream is to masters in a top computer science US Institution. The economical path would be to undergrad in the UK first though because that is where I live.

I have achieved 5a* 3a and 2b at GCSE and 3A* at A level - these are top grades but I still don't believe oxford/cambridge will accept me because I didn't take further maths.

So my real question is, par oxbridge, could you give me a top 5 ranking of the most respected UK unis by top US unis in Computer Science, right now I am leaning towards St Andrews because most of their students are american!
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Replies to: UK Uni help!

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    Actually, St A's isn't majority American, but they do have a lot.
    But in any case, what does having Americans have to do with going to a top US CS masters program?

    I'd look at Edinburgh and Imperial.
  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    I don't know how you'd rank the top 5 according to US grad school admissions offices, but I would caution you not to assume anything good/bad/otherwise about St Andrews based on the number of Americans there. IMO, there are a few reasons there are a lot of Americans at St Andrews and none of them have to do directly with academic reputation. St Andrews first got a publicity boost when our media covered it extensively when Prince William and (then commoner) Katherine Middleton were attending and dating. As more Americans became aware of St Andrews, they discovered that St Andrews allowed them to get the English experience but in a more comfortable 4 year plan more similar to how American colleges work than the intense 3 year plan offered by the English unis. Add in the fact that St Andrews loves the full-pay Americans so has gone out of their way to make Americans welcome, and those are many of the reasons for having so many Americans at St Andrews. That doesn't mean St Andrews isn't good, it just means their popularity is not related to any perception of quality but instead to unrelated factors.
  • asmaster24asmaster24 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    I just added Imperial to my choices @PurpleTitan, thanks for the advice. But why would you say Edinburgh>St.Andrews considered by Americans?

    @mileeko I don't really know either, I'm just trying to find a uni which is well known by America generally, you have any suggestions?
  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    You don't necessarily need one that's well known by the general American public if you're looking to go to American grad school.

    Imperial is a great example of that. Top American grad school admissions officers will know how Imperial is a top school even though 99% of the American public hasn't heard of it. In other words, focus on what would be important to grad schools not what American pop culture thinks.
  • asmaster24asmaster24 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Ahh ok that is what I meant tbh, I need a uni which top American grad school admissions officers will definitely know and respect, any suggestions?
  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    Go to the top ranked program you can get into. American grad school admissions teams will have information about the quality of the programs. Unlike the American public, they're not basing their opinion on which school they've "heard of" or was mentioned in Entertainment Tonight.

    If you were looking to be hired by American employers directly after getting your undergrad degree, then you'd need to worry more about what Americans in general have heard of. But you're not. You're looking at grad school and they're more knowledgeable. Stop worrying about what the general population knows or thinks if you're just looking at grad school.
  • asmaster24asmaster24 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Hmm that is really hard to interpret because there are so many rankings - for example in the UK St Andrews consistently top 3, however world wide it is mostly beaten by the likes of Manchester and Lancaster...

    Additionally the end goal is to find a job in America, however I realise this is hard for me without actually being in the country in the first place (I have British passport), so that is why I am thinking of going to a top US Uni to masters. What do you think about going straight from undergrad to American job would it be difficult?
  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    I'm American and my husband is English. Our son is a senior in high school this year, has dual citizenship and would be fine going to uni in either country, so we just went through this decision process in our house. Son is interested in a similar but not the same field. Here was our conclusion:

    British college is a bargain, especially for those of us who are full pay in the US. If son was definitely going to go straight from undergrad to grad school, then going to a top British program was a no-brainer because US grad school admissions teams know the quality of the various British uni programs. His top choice was ICI for the math program he wanted to study.

    On the other hand, if son wanted to take some time off school and work in between undergrad and grad school, getting a British undergrad degree would mean he'd either need to work in the UK or risk the fact that most American employers haven't heard of ICI, so wouldn't know it's a top school. If he wanted to be employed by top American employers in those years between undergrad and grad school and still wanted to go to UK uni for his undergrad, he would have gone to London School of Economics. There is an Econ/stats/applied math program there that isn't quite what he was looking for and wouldn't be as good for him as ICI, but would be better for getting jobs in America since LSE has a very positive reputation here in the US. Many American employers would consider LSE as an "English Ivy" with similar level of prestige, which doesn't totally make sense based on rankings and results but more on that weird idea of general public impression.

    But none of that is really helpful to you unless you are also a dual citizen. If you don't have US citizenship, you really shouldn't be doing any of this with the notion that you'll end up working at a career job in America because under our current immigration system it is highly, hugely unlikely you'll be hired by most American companies. I'm so sorry to be that harsh and know it will sound awful and unfair to you, but it's better you know that now so you don't pick colleges or make plans based on the dream of something that is almost certainly not going to happen. Even if you do go to a top US grad school, without US citizenship or a visa that you're highly unlikely to get, you will not be hired by American companies because you will not be legal to work here long term. So make your plans understanding your primary goal will be to work in the UK or a country other than America.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    Eh, the international rankings are research-based with an emphasis on STEM and thus underrate specialized non-STEM schools like LSE (Julliard wouldn't show up anywhere on them either). In terms of notable alumni per capita (at least in business fields), LSE is the only British uni close to Oxbridge (though UCL and Warwick also place well in to the City). And yes, among the general American populace, pretty much only Oxbridge and LSE are seen as Ivy-equivalents.

    For American grad school, go to the best CS program you can get in to. My understanding is that in the UK (outside Oxbridge), those are Imperial and Edinburgh.
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,923 Senior Member
    There's likely very few Americans in CS at St Andrews. Or in most STEM majors.
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 865 Member
    If you want to find a job in the US, the best bet would be to get hired by a big US company in the UK and transfer to their US office. Its much more straightforward to get a US visa (no quota!) once you've already worked at the company for a year. So that means doing what you would do to get a good job in the UK and focusing your job search accordingly after your degree.

    But I guess you could go to St Andrews and find an American to marry instead :-)
  • Capricancer1Capricancer1 Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @milee30: "there are a few reasons there are a lot of Americans at St Andrews and none of them have to do directly with academic reputation."

    Would not agree with you on this. St Andrews performs very strongly in league tables (relative to its size) and is able to recruit some of the most high-caliber students in the UK. To say that Americans are not attracted by its academics, is a disservice to all Americans studying there. It has higher SAT/ACT/GPA requirements than the likes of other top universities in the UK like Edinburgh (1950+ in old SAT compared to Edinburgh requiring 1800+). The NYT, Washington Post, T&C,Bloomberg etc. have all covered the phenomena of Americans at St Andrews and one of the main reasons they found why students were choosing St Andrews was due to its academics.

    This is not just confined to students. American grad schools visit to promote their opportunities and St Andrews was one of seven UK universities targeted by Stanford for its new Knights-Hennessy scholarship.
  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,560 Senior Member
    @Capricancer1 : I did not mean to imply in any way that St Andrews was not excellent or that there weren't solid academic reasons for Americans to choose to go there. My apologies to anyone who felt I was maligning them or their choice of uni.

    To clarify, my point was that there were many reasons Americans would even know about St Andrews and some of those reasons were other than academic. When evaluating the strength of any program, it's a good idea to look beyond sheer numbers of students as sometimes factors other than pure academics influence the numbers.
  • KaffeineKittyKaffeineKitty Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    edited January 10
    My daughter is currently an undergrad at the University of Glasgow in Computer Science ( we are from California). She just finished her first semester, and so far she likes the program and we are impressed with her curriculum. She also considered Manchester, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. Edinburgh is a large program with lots of research going on, especially in AI. The Edinburgh CompSci building, Appleton tower, just finished a renovation and is very nice. She eventually chose Glasgow because she prefered their undergrad program, but if she was going for a masters, Edinburgh would have been a top choice. Manchester has a very strong undergrad, but not sure about the grad program. St Andrews has a very, very small comp sci program, and might be better suited for undergraduates then masters students. We visited the schools on their Open Days in June and was able to talk to both students and professors in the Comp Sci departments, which heavily influenced her decision.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,651 Senior Member
    @KaffeineKitty, glad to hear that your daughter is happy at Glasgow! Imo, it's an under-recognized uni, and a great college town.
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