Which university should I choose?

The place to ask about degree courses, conversion courses, masters, PhD or other qualifications. Discuss specific courses, their pros and cons, the content, the application process, different institutions, how to fund them, etc. Includes advice if you have a 2:2 and questions on transcripts
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Which university should I choose?

Post by kezkel » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:27 pm

I am still waiting to hear from two universities but now that I have 3 offers for Psychology Bsc courses, I am trying to decide which university to go to.
My end goal is to become a clinical psychologists so all the courses I have applied to are BPS approved. What I would like to know is how important are university ranking and reputation? Should I go to the best university that gives me an offer or can I just go to my local uni? What difference will it make in the long run when it comes to applying for ap posts and then doctorates?
Lastly one of the university's I have applied to hull has their own fastrack psychology course. You do the 3 year degree as normal and then the top 30 students move straight onto the doctorate. I was wondering if anyone else has done this? Is it a good idea or would I be better of getting some experience between the degree and doctorate?

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Re: Which university should I choose?

Post by MarkM » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:42 pm

Hey! Welcome to the forum and congrats on your offers so far.

I've not done my degree at Hull but I think the process is a bit more complicated; not quite like getting straight onto the doctorate just based on your degree results. As far as I know, it involves a very competitive process. I may not be 100% correct in this, but I think they select 30 year two students for their clinical modules (which they take in their final year). So you need to be on top of your game from day one. And then, upon graduating there are 7 or 8 places on their doctoral programme reserved for UG students. BUT it's not guaranteed that the student with the highest marks gets those, because that depends on their references, interview performance etc.. However, like I said, I didn't do my degree there, so maybe someone else will have more accurate information... please do correct me if I am wrong. (:

In terms of getting experience first... I'm pretty sure Hull said that whilst they don't expect you to have done years and years of work experience, they do require some sort of experience (e.g. voluntary work). I think sometimes work experience can be framed as the 'pesky requirement' but honestly I'd argue that it is invaluable and can really help you develop as a person and a professional.

Finally, regarding the issue of rankings and reputation... from what I know in psychology it's not as bad as in other fields. Some people suggest that having a post-1992 university degree can be detrimental but that's not conclusive at all. On the whole, degree class is much more important... A 2:1 from a post-1992 university is going to put you in a better place than a 2:2 from a redbrick university (as the latter would result in an automatic rejection for some programmes). I'd argue that you are more likely to do well if you are happy where you are, so... go with what feels right to you - it's probably the best choice! If you look around the forums here you'll see people who did their degrees/conversion courses with 'lowly ranked' universities and still fared well in getting AP posts and getting on the doctorate. Also, some universities may not have the highest undergraduate ranking but be held in high esteem in other ways (UEL comes to mind).

Good luck! (:
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Re: Which university should I choose?

Post by Geishawife » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:24 pm

MarkM wrote: I'd argue that you are more likely to do well if you are happy where you are, so... go with what feels right to you - it's probably the best choice!
This!! If all your choices are BPS approved and offer GBC then go with the one that feels the best "fit" for you as a person. You need to be aiming for a good 2:1 or better, and you're far more likely to achieve that at a university that suits you in terms of location, ethos, teaching/assessment methods, course options etc. "Old" vs "new" really isn't an issue when people are short-listing. Degree class and having GBC definitely are.
kezkel wrote:would I be better of getting some experience between the degree and doctorate
Short answer, "yes"!! There really is no rush to get onto the doctorate! You will be far better equipped and ready for the challenge if you spend a couple of years gaining good clinical experience. (Indeed, some courses will only consider people whose experience has been in the form of paid employment). So, for now, pick the university that really suits you, concentrate on getting the grades you need to go there, get a good degree and worry about experience in a few years.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your undergrad years as much as I did.

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Re: Which university should I choose?

Post by jyddx » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:40 pm

Just to add to what the other two commenters said re experience - when I got to uni I kinda held the view that getting experience in between UG and the doctorate was 'pesky'. I remember thinking 'whyyyyy can't I just go straight into it?!?!?'. Now having done some MH work I realise woooaaah - there's no way I personally would be ready for the doctorate if I was hypothetically selected this time round, straight after graduating. The work I have done so far is fairly minimal, but has really taught me a lot that I don't think you can get without putting the hours in. There's no hurry and all the work you do from now on will be worthwhile to the end goal in terms of your own development and learning :) Enjoy the journey.

In terms of what uni to go to - just need to totally mirror what everyone else has said. Go where you like best! I have so many friends who picked unis based on rankings even though they didn't really like them that much/at all. These people now really regret it and are having a hard time living/studying somewhere they don't like. Degrees are hard work and so you should make it as easy as poss for yourself by going where feels right for you :) That may well be the best ranking uni you've applied for! But if it isn't, I'd go with your heart on this one.

Best of luck, and enjoy undergrad psychology! (P.s. stats aren't nearly as bad as you might be expecting them to be :shock: - this is what everyone asks at open days haha)

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