Bachelor degree completed in a second language as a justification for lower mark?

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Bachelor degree completed in a second language as a justification for lower mark?

Post by Mephistofela » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:47 pm

I got a mid 2:1 in my undergraduate degree and while this is definitely not the end of the world I cannot help feeling frustrated about this because I don't think it reflects my academic ability at all. I have completed an MSc with a distinction since, and I was wondering whether it would be appropriate to write a brief explanation about my mark for my undergraduate degree and say that due to the fact that I completed it in a second language some of the marks are not as high as they could have been, especially in exams where you have very limited time to check what you are writing. I am a bit worried that it would be overkill to explain a mark that is not in itself 'bad', but my English has been continuously improving and reflecting on my experience of completing my MSc I do feel that being better able to express ideas in English has made the difference for me between getting 2:1s and firsts in assignments. As a different approach I was advised to ask my academic reference to mention that they felt that my MSc mark is a better reflection of my academic ability than my BSc one, and I will do this but considering the competition for the courses I was wondering if there is anything more I could do. Any suggestions / advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Bachelor degree completed in a second language as a justification for lower mark?

Post by han10 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:45 pm

I would be tempted to just stick with the academic reference explanation. A MSc is a higher grade qualification and highlights you can work at a post degree level to a high level. To me this trumps your undergraduate result.

Personally I would worry that mentioning English is not your first language as an explanation for a lower grade might put more doubts into a selectors mind about your abilities to manage the course rather than help. On the course I have selected for, degree score only equates to a mark and as long one of the degrees is relevant to psychology (i.e. meets that basic entry requirement) I would not think much more about it than just giving you the relevant score.*

Perhaps a reflection in your form at some point about your experiences of studying/working in another language and how this would be of benefit to you as a CP would be a more helpful reflection if it feels appropriate. Or you could reflect in a positive way how you have developed over your academic career and this has improved both your critical thinking (if it has!) and written and verbal communication skills.

* I have only selected for one course and other course may reflect differently on this, but your undergraduate grade is only one part of your form and often courses are keen to hear how you have reflected on all your learning and experience. Miriam wrote a really good comment on a thread about tailoring applications to AP jobs and I would say the same advice would broadly apply to doctorate applications - have a search through the forum. there are lots of other threads as well about the application form that will give you more advice.

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