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UK 2019- class of 2022/2023

bestuni2019bestuni2019 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
New thread for students and parents applying to U.K. Schools for 2019 admission.

I would like to welcome and thank all of you who participate and guide the students and parents. Your advise is priceless and it truly helps us to navigate the system better.
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Replies to: UK 2019- class of 2022/2023

  • bestuni2019bestuni2019 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I guess I will go first. I have done my research quite thoroughly however, any advice on strengthening my application will be much appreciated.

    International student from Canada.
    Interested in Politics and International Relations (L290/L250)
    Universities: LSE, KCL, UCL, SOAS and Oxford (Long shot but hard to resist)

    Stats:
    GPA= 4.0 or 95%
    ACT= 33
    SAT II= World History (790) and Eng Lit (770)
    APs: English Language (5), US Gov (5), Comp Gov (5), Chem (3)

    4 APs Planned this year : English Lit, Macro and Micro and Euro History

    Interned with Canadian Member of Parliament over summer and I am a member/coordinator of Minister's Youth Advisory Council. I hope I can tie this experience with my interest in Foreign policy and politics in my PS

    My question for you is to guide me if I need to take any more APs and/or if I can do anything else to strengthen my viability as a good candidate.

    Most grateful for your responses
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 1,373 Senior Member
    Are you looking at PPE or HisPol (at Oxford or elsewhere)? Any course involving economics will almost certainly require Calc BC, and it would be a big help more generally. I'd at least try and add a SAT II in math before applying and avoid the PPE courses offered at most of these universities if math isn't your strong suit. Economics was my S18's downfall in his Oxford interview last fall despite his 800 in Math II and subsequent 5 in Calc BC. Similarly I expect a foreign language AP would help for IR courses. Without either I assume you would need to focus on Politics, Philosophy and/or History based courses.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,285 Senior Member
    If you are thinking PPE (vs HisPol) at Oxford you also should have Calc, preferably BC, but at least AB.

    SOAS is still using the A/B divisions on APs and afaik does not accept subject tests in lieu of APs (Oxford, UCL & KCL do; LSE does not). LSE wants 5 APs, so no matter what your offer would be conditional.

    You have a reasonable (obvs not guaranteed...) shot at an unconditional offer from UCL & KCL; SOAS, LSE & Oxford will almost certainly be conditional on at least Euro and possibly the Econs (partly depending on what course you apply for).

    Don't forget that Oxford has admissions tests & most of the courses you are probably looking at will also want a graded school essay. LSE has a reputation for casting a sharp eye on applications that arrive around mid-Oct (totally anecdotal), and they have been known to give stiffer conditions than Oxford.

    You might consider switching out one or two of the London schools (perhaps LSE and UCL or KCL?) for Edinburgh, St Andrews or Durham: they all have very strong programs, and can be a great undergrad experience.
  • bestuni2019bestuni2019 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Thank you @Twoin18 and @collegemom3717 for your prompt responses.

    @Twoin18 Math is not my strong suit and as such, I am not applying for any Economic course.I believe PPE is the only exception but then it is a long shot. I have taken 4 years of high school foreign language i.e Mandarin and have a 95% in it. It is not my native language and I am hoping that as Canadian students are asked to submit our transcript, it will be seen in a rather positive light.

    @collegemom3717 How do you rate UK universities in terms of International Relations programs? Would Durham and St. Andrews rate comparatively to UCL or KCL?

    When one submits their UCAS application, can they submit to all universities in mid-Oct except LSE and then sub nit to LSE in Dec? Is that an option?
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 1,373 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    I really wouldn't apply to PPE at all then. Remember your personal statement is the same for all the applications. I think it would probably be easier to use a politics/IR focused one for HisPol than for PPE (i.e. writing about the historical rather than economic context to your interests) and you could avoid drawing attention to your lack of math.

    My S18 added LSE later (in Jan after not getting an offer from Oxford), but that didn't work out - he only got an offer from KCL, not UCL or LSE (he then decided to stay in the US).
  • bestuni2019bestuni2019 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Thank you @Twoin18 for your guidance. I will follow your advice and apply for HisPol instead. I believe I will have to take the HAT and submit an essay for that.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,285 Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    St A's would strongly trump UCL or KCL, and Edi & SOAS would be roughly the same tier. Durham is not as highly ranked, but it is a strong program and a great undergrad experience (I would choose Durham > LSE for undergrad, even thought LSE is better known/higher ranked- Durham will open all the doors you need opened, and I think it is a better overall experience). StAs is highly respected, but not everybody is happy with how small the place is - one of mine insured Edi > StAs for that reason, but it is a matter of individual preference.

    The reality is that there are so many IR grads that if you are going into that field your internships will matter much more than which of these unis you go to. And even with good internships, you are likely to have relatively low-paid jobs for a while, and then go for graduate school down the road to get the really interesting jobs. A lot of IR majors end up at the big consulting firms, or doing law conversion courses, and for that Oxbridge, LSE & Durham are the biggest feeders (followed by Warwick, Nottingham, UCL, etc.).

    Heed @Twoin18's advice on PPE: if you aren't decently mathy you are unlikely to get an offer. HisPol is pretty selective, even by Oxford standards, but might be more realistic for you.

    Yes, you can add courses to your UCAS app later :-)
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,285 Senior Member
    snap! looks as if @Twoin18 & I are on the same timetable- & the same page :-)

    Yes, you take the HAT for HisPol, vs the TSA for PPE.
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 3,361 Senior Member
    All of those would be grouped under politics in most of the rankings tables. I take them with a huge grain of salt, but they can sometimes spur you to look in to a school that you had not considered.

    https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?s=politics

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2017/may/16/university-guide-2018-league-table-for-politics
  • bestuni2019bestuni2019 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Thank you to all for your guidance. It is much appreciated
  • johnnyajohnnya Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Son submitted application via UCAS on 9/5 to Durham, York, Sheffield, Exeter, and Southampton for archaeology. His GPA is above the minimum required and his ACT score is way above (31 composite). He's taken 1 SAT II @ 660, is awaiting score on another, and will take the 3rd in November. An excellent personal statement that shows knowledge of the field as well as excavation experience. Also has an excellent teacher rec. We are cautiously optimistic. Thoughts?
  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 444 Member
    @johnnya UK schools don't really look at GPA, are you sure you are not looking at the GPA required when transferring from a US college? They will be looking for AP scores of 4.5's in subjects like history, art history, languages. The schools you have outlined Durham is a cut above the others.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 6,285 Senior Member
    I know it's too late now, but imo he would have been better off waiting for the test scores and applying, b/c if they give a response now it can only be Conditional on achieving the predicted scores, whereas if he had waited until November, with the scores in hand, he could have gotten Unconditional offers straight out. If he gets a Conditional offer and misses the Condition he can re-take the subject test(s) as long as he has the required scores by the deadline.

    For Durham, the standard offer is AAB, which translates to 5,4,4 or better in APs or 650+ in three Subject tests..They don't care at all about the ACT or the GPA. Exeter wants the 31 on the ACT and 3 650+ subject tests / 3 APs. You can look up the rest, but really it will come down to meeting the score requirement- if he does that he is likely to get offers from most of them.



  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,081 Senior Member
    I'll just add to @elguapo1's post that for archaeology science APs are good as well - it's an odd subject in terms of crossing the stem/humanities divide. You can do either a BA or BSc.
  • Chemeng102Chemeng102 Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    I am glad to locate this thread. My son just submitted his application to UCAS and COPA. Hopefully, we will receive their replies soon. He will be taking the pre-interview exam (NSAA) end of this month for Cambridge. I guess if he does well, he may get an interview chance. Can anyone share the experience of applying Cambridge for Natural Sciences?
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