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Cher, Educator-40+ yrs
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 20861
Experience:  M.A., B.A., Author, Information & Research Specialist
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I have decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology

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I have decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology and I'm deciding on what University to attend.

Some universities are known as being 'better' in particular subjects and all universities have a particular tag of perceived 'quality' in research, student satisfaction and other factors which differentiate them from each other. Harvard University has a strong reputation amongst employers, whereas a small University from an unknown rural town, might be less highly regarded.

Luckily, I have been given the option to attend various Universities. As I have a good academic background, I have been given the option to attend some very good Universities and the less well known ones too.

Ideally, when I graduate, I would like to be awarded a good degree ranking. In Scotland where I live, when someone receives a degree, their degree will fall into four categories. These categories reflect the quality of the persons work and their scores in exams. The career path I wish to pursue requires me to get a '2:2' (basically a 'C' out of a scale consisting of ABCD, where A is best and D is poorest.)

Although I have the qualifications to enter a better known university, I am reluctant in proceeding straight into an 'ivory tower' university. My reason behind this, is that although I have a good academic background, I want to give myself the absolute best chance of gaining a good degree ranking (preferably an A or B, from the aforementioned scale.)

My question is:
Would two people, both with an equivilant academic background and intellectual capacity, entering two separate Universities (one highly regarded, the other less well regarded), leave with a different degree 'rating'. Would an individual jepordize their opportunity to leave university with a good degree rating, by attending a University with standards exceeding the individuals capacity to realistically work towards an 'A' or 'B' in their degree outcome. The core question I am asking, is whether an extremely intelectually competent individual, attending a less reputable University, is more likely to leave with a good degree, in contrast to them attending an 'ivory tower' establishment, where they might struggle to reach higher standards.

Some people assume that the better the University is 'rated,' the better a choice it is for a prospective student but I disagree. Unless the person is capable of meeting the Universities standards to achieve a good degree, then they would be better attending a less reputable University and achieving a better degree there, thus reflecting their hard work and commitment. A 'D' from Oxford University, Cambridge or Harvard surely doesn't sound particulalry impressive despite the establishments reputation?
HelloCustomer and thanks for your insightful question.

I understand completely, what you are asking, and how your decision regarding which University to attend, has become a dilemma.

You are absolutely correct, that a lower ranking from a more highly regarded University would certainly not be impressive to a future employer. You are an intelligent, mature student who is well-spoken and it is wise of you to consider this important decision, carefully.

The most important things to consider are, which Universities offer the best specialized programs for your desired course of study, and which will help you fulfill your goal of getting a great education and emerging with the best grades. While an 'A' from Harvard may sound more impressive to a prospective employer, than an 'A' from a lesser known, local University, and 'A' is an 'A'. As you reasoned, a 'D' from Oxford is not impressive at all, equally as unimpressive as a 'D' from a lesser known University.

In the grand scheme of things, your decision must be made based upon which school will provide you the most comprehensive education in your chosen field, Psychology, and where you feel you will excel. If you are fortunate enough to have the choice of any University you would like to attend, and you know that you can endure the rigors of a demanding course curriculum and do well, grade-wise, enabling you to end up with an impressive ranking, I would go for the better known Universities, as that will look very good on your resumé. However, if a lesser known school is more conveniently located, offers an equally comprehensive program in your chosen field, and you are confident you will also do well, there, there should be no disadvantage in the eyes of an employer when you list your school on your resume.

Your academic accomplishments will be what impress a potential employer, and the name of the school should not matter as much as your capabilities to do a job well; in addition, your confidence and personality, if you are self-assured and know you are capable of doing the best job possible, are taken into account when you apply for a position in your chosen field, so I don't think you will have too much to worry about.

The school choice should be based on what they can offer you, in addition to what you can offer them. Select, high ranking students are encouraged to attend certain schools, to help their reputation, also.

I hope I've been of help to you; if so, please click 'ACCEPT'. Please let me know if you have any further questions or I can be of additional help.

Best wishes in your future endeavors,
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