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esfdhtfy March 26th 2012 04:01 PM

Worth it?
I am currently a second year undergraduate student at a Canadian university. I will be going on an exchange to England for the full 2012-2013 academic year - and I'm excited.

I'm probably going to graduate with an Honours Specialization degree in Criminology, with a Minor in Psychology.

My question is this:

Which route should I take?

1) Focus on completing my program requirements (which means I will be taking all Criminology courses) while on exchange in England so that I can graduate on time.

2) Take unique and interesting courses that I would not take back in Canada - like European History or Art History or other similar classes. One of the Art History classes offered has a mandatory 2-week trip to Florence - wow. If I take this route, I will have to take an extra year before graduating.

*Note: I plan to go to a top Law School following the completion of my undergraduate degree.

Any thoughts?

Dr.Bobby March 26th 2012 05:04 PM

Re: Worth it?
Florence, wow. Been there, done that...I'm biased here, so beware.

I think you have to look at this objectively as possible..which is hard when you throw Firenze into the mix....the art capital of the universe and a true Renaissance masterpiece in it's own right...with extraordinary food, to boot...*Sigh*..I'm not helping am, I?

Anyways, back on topic. Look at this objectively, two points. First, how can a year abroad best help your chances of getting into grad school in terms of class work and extra curriculars. Look at some of the grad programs you'd likely attend, and see what the requirements are, and then super impose them on the two choices here and see which one fits best. Remember, when you're going for an advanced degree in something that requires grad school, you need to keep in mind that what you do now as an undergrad is primarily to advance your education to the next level, which in your case, is getting into (and successfully completing) a graduate program. Typically, there's really one right answer there, and to find that you really do need to strip away all the glamour and emotion and see which choice best advances your career.

The second issue (once you presumably get past #1 and have accurately determined that it's an either/or situation) is to look at this objectively, too, now using a "$ x time" formula: If you've got the additional funds, as well as the motivation to take the extra time to complete your degree.

Lastly, if the cold, hard facts indicate that you'll 'Just' have to keep it in the UK with courses in your major, keep in mind that Florence has been Florence for about 600 years now, and will certainly be so when you graduate. You'll just have more money to enjoy it!

OMFG!You'reActuallySmart! March 26th 2012 05:38 PM

Re: Worth it?
I see two feasible options. First, take a variety of unique courses, after all you're studying in England for a reason so make it count. Second, take some unique courses but take predominantly criminology or psychology courses to complete your intended programs of study, while still getting some knowledge from England. Engage in various activities in England that are both fun (some sight-seeing) as well as activities that would benefit your current study and future goals of law school. For example, if there are criminology programs where you study and take field trips to historic law sites, then that's something I would do as not only does it serve as excellent information on your statement of interest (SOI) and CV, but also serves as personal motivation. I'm applying for my Masters right now and you want to make your SOI and CV amazing, something that will set you apart from the other applying students. I know quite a few of the applying students have some background in research labs, teaching or mentoring 1st or 2nd year students, may have won academic awards, etc... . If I were in your shoes, studying in England can set you apart if you make the most of it. I wouldn't be focused on going to Florence, I've never been there, although Dr. Bobby said it's amazing which I wouldn't doubt and has been around for give or take 600 years. Once you complete your law degree, then you can browse Florence.

esfdhtfy March 26th 2012 10:59 PM

Re: Worth it?
Note: I will definitely be traveling on my own. So, I could potentially go to Florence on my own (outside of class).

I already have a secured research assistantship position in England, which will undoubtedly look good on my resume. I have a pretty strong resume and I will continue to build on that when I'm in England.

I don't know if taking a 5th year is worth it in exchange for taking courses outside of Criminology.

OMFG!You'reActuallySmart! March 26th 2012 11:14 PM

Re: Worth it?

Originally Posted by PurpleMustang (Post 841490)

I don't know if taking a 5th year is worth it in exchange for taking courses outside of Criminology.

Put it this way, it's not going to hurt, I'm finishing my fifth year. I could have graduated at only 4 years but I doddled around and added in a minor on top of my double-major. The majority of people in the 4th year courses in biology are either going to do a 5th year or completing their 5th year also. From what I've been told by graduate program assistants at the various universities I've applied to, it's pretty common to see transcripts across 5 years so it's fine but 6 years and beyond begins to look negative. Three of my friends are going into law as well and one of my professors who has his LLB as well as PhD took 5 years to complete his Bachelors.

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