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UCL - Any advice?

cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
My DD yesterday received an unconditional acceptance and has no real experience with this school, other than hearing good things about it. It seems to be highly regarded in the sciences although she is a history major. I worry that there does not seem to be a dorm, its an urban campus. I didn't really think she would get in, still waiting to hear from St A., KCL, U of E & Durham. She seems to prefer U of E but it seems UCL is a better school? Any thoughts? My head is spinning! Thank you!
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Replies to: UCL - Any advice?

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6705 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Congrats, @cloudysmom!

    Imo, don't sweat it until she sees her choices.

    UCL is urban, but there is student housing available, but it is more similar to grad student housing than dorms. iirc your earlier posts, $$ may well end up being a key factor. London is *incredibly* expensive to live in, even as a student and even with student housing.
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    @collegemom3717 Thanks - yes, London is so $. I told DD that from looking at the #'s Scotland seemed like we could do it esp as some relatives may help but that I thought London would be too $. I actually didn't expect her to get into any London schools so I thought I had that in my favor. I just read a shared dorm the 1st yr (uni provided flat) ONLY then its a London flat. There are scholarships but it all seems so insurmountable.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    Scholarships would be rare. This would be a 3 year degree at UCL, right?

    Think of it as being like a good giant public like UMich but a city U like NYU/GWU. In this case with student housing scattered all over London. KCL would be similar. For that matter, Edinburgh is also a large city U, though with ancient buildings.

    As for being "better", eh. I would say (reputation/eliteness-wise), UCL=UMich/UCLA, Edinburgh=UNC, KCL=UW-Madison.

    In (grad) research, UCL/UMich/UCLA would generally outrank Edinburgh/KCL/UNC/UW-Madison, but that doesn't tell you much about the undergrad experience.

    UCL has a strong reputation in the sciences (among others), but I don't know how that helps someone reading history, especially since, in the English uni system, she would not be taking any classes in the sciences (or business/econ/math/law, which UCL also has top reputations in).

    Of the places she applied to, Durham probably would be cheapest (3 years and outside London). The collegiate system also offers a better undergrad experience than the London unis (unless she desires something more like a grad student experience).
    edited March 2018
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thanks - yes its 3 yrs! I keep reading very different things. Its 3rd of all UK schools, after Oxford & Cambridge and 15th in the world for history, although better in the sciences, but that doesn't help my DD. Very urban which I don't love. U of E seemed more affordable, haven't checked Durham yet but that is where I wanted her to go the most as the structure I think would suit her. Its very hard to get into from what I understand however I got a PM from someone who feels UCL is by far the best of the bunch. So hard to tell. UCL however guarantees international students the same cost each yr no matter what the exchange rate does so that is very important.just found that out a few mins ago. That was a huge stress! I really like the collegiate system, as you say, of Durham! Thank you!
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6705 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "best" can mean so many different things.

    For undergraduate history, imo the differences in external rankings between these unis are not big enough to be a deciding factor.
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3381 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There's lots of rankings and tables. The two I looked at very quickly did not have UCL in top 5 for history. Durham and St. A were.
    Given all you have posted, I'd lean towards Durham.
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    @VickiSoCal There. are a LOT of rankings for sure, I think I looked at US News & World report, as well as the college website. I prefer Durham but she wants a city & most importantly, we haven't heard from them yet, lol, only 1 of the 5 she applied to, UCL.
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3381 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    I try to use the UK guides for UK schools

    Guardian for history:


    Cambridge
    Oxford
    St Andrews
    Durham
    Exeter

    Complete University Guide, for History:

    Cambridge
    Durham
    Oxford
    Exeter
    St. Andrews
    edited March 2018
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    Awesome info, thank you!!!
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well, the QS ranking for history (which has US, UK, and other global unis) has UW-Madison ranked well above Brown, Georgetown, and Dartmouth.

    So one key question is what does she plan to do with a History degree from a UK uni?
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  • mysmommysmom 106 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited March 2018
    Congratulations to your daughter! My dd did a semester at UCL and loved it. Her dorm was close to campus. She had a ball living in London and traveling during the weekends and breaks. It was expensive but she was only there for a semester. Good luck!
    edited March 2018
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another way to ask is what her goals are. Is she American looking to enter an American grad school after undergrad?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6705 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    What @PurpleTitan said.

    All of those unis will give her a strong enough UG history degree to go all of the same places. Outsiders such as employers and grad schools will not rule her in or out based on any of those names (barring the randomness of somebody with a direct connection to one of them). For example, the big consulting firms recruit at all of them.

    Given that she has already been disappointed in her first collegiate choice, imo it is going to matter much more that she is able to shine in whichever one she attends. The experiential differences between them are likely to trump any rankings differences.
    edited March 2018
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ Right. That said, UCL has a much larger representation in both the City and in consulting (which probably leads to it's bigger lay reputation among Brits).

    But again, if she's an American who's going to grad school in the US, that's not going to matter and how well she does in undergrad would matter much much more.
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    @mysmom Thank you for the encouragement. good to know your DD had a great experience!

    @collegemom3717 @PurpleTitan Thanks, I do want to clarify that she isn't disappointed in Richmond as far as the school & education goes, just in how isolated it is from the city. She has turned into a big city girl for sure. She applied to the U.K. schools just to give herself options, the deadline was 1/15 so it was a quick decision. She did visit U of E last summer on her AP UK trip and they went tomLondon, but not to any schools. She loved it all, of course, lol. She isn't even sure she would transfer, she probably would but the finances need to work.

    She does not want to go to grad school here, her dream is to go in France. The only reason she isn't applying to schools there is their language requirement. As she is a French/History double major she really wants France as her ultimate goal. Her HS didn't offer AP French so she didn't know some if the SAT Subject test & didn't do well.

    Yes, I agree, I want her to shine wherever she goes as does she. I am continually amazed at what a hard worker she is. I was also surprised she got an unconditional acceptance but she has a passion for education & am glad schools are recognizing that.

    Thanks for your thoughts, this is all new to me. Just when I think I am done with the getting into college thing I find myself right back, lol.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What is her end-goal after grad school in France (in history, I presume)?

    @MYOS1634 knows a little something about education in France.

    I would expect any of the UK schools she applied to to be fine for that.

    This seems like a rather roundabout way to get to France if that is her dream, though; study-abroad through Richmond in France seems a more certain path.
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    @PurpleTitan She wants to work in museums with French history in some capacity - either art or the French Revolution concentration but who knows what will happen. She's 18, how many of us are doing what we thought we would be at 18. I just want her to travel and see as much as she can before she is bogged down with job and family. I will contact the CC member you suggest tomorrow - thank you!

    Roundabout sure but she loves the UK nearly as much as France so who knows, she may be back there one day. She has wanted to live in both place since she was very small. She has no other choice with France - either she waits it out here or in the Uk. She has travelled extensively in this country and is fascinated with learning about other cultures . I know she wants to at least study abroad in Paris and the UK and she can at RIchmond but she can also transfer to the UK and study abroad in Paris. Just trying to figure it all out! Her study abroad in Paris is fairly certain in any of these options as he investigated that and called the schools/dept before she applied. So doing it from here or the UK.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    So eventually ending up in the US, right? She's American only with no citizenship (employment rights) in other countries?

    I'm not sure why she has to wait it out to go to France if Richmond has study-abroad in France.

    And she knows about the difference in academic style in the UK vs. Richmond, right?

    For someone who is American and wants to eventually end up in the US (and is already at a pretty good and affordable LAC that she likes), I personally would stay at Richmond and study-abroad in the UK and France.

    Has she applied to study-abroad sophomore year at Richmond?


    edited March 2018
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  • cloudysmomcloudysmom 733 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    @PurpleTitan No, she wants to end up NOT in the US. She wants to live and work in Paris or in the Uk eventually. Study abroad is only 1 yr, so she was going to do Paris next spring and the UK the next spring. At her school its the same price. If she goes to the UK she will live there for much longer than a semester and can go to Paris her entire Junior yr.

    She can't transfer to a French school due to the language requirement and as she is also interested in the UK she could transfer there - have that experience, do the yr in Paris - have that experience - and learn where she really wants to go to grad school.

    Yes - huge academic style difference - very hands off there. she gets it.

    I doubt she would ever want to come back to the US to live or study. She has applied to study abroad and has an assigned advisor who is helping her. You don't really apply in terms of getting accepted, at UR you just go - they have a very high % of SA students which is one reason she chose that school. Her advisor is helping her plan and she already has chosen a school in paris.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OK, but does she have any EU/UK passport, then? Is the plan to find a European/UK hubby so that she can live and work in Europe/UK? A job with an American company that posts her to Europe/the UK?
    We tell International kids who want to go to college in the US all the time that they should assume that they would have to find a job back in their home country after they graduate because landing a job as a foreigner without citizenship/permanent residency is tough. The same applies to an American looking to stay in the EU/UK after graduation/grad school.

    Oh, and marks come down almost solely to big tests/essays at the end of the year (that British kids spend the months leading up to those tests holed up in the library cramming for).

    If she wants to end up in Europe/the UK, going to undergrad there makes sense. But has she actually ever lived in the UK/Europe (or anywhere outside the US for a year or more)? Travelling isn't the same as living somewhere.
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