How important are different schools for undergrad and graduate degree?

  • #1
Education Advisor
Hey everyone, I'm currently attending a community college, and heading into my last year here. I'm starting to fill out my transfer applications, and I was wondering how important it really is to attend different universities for your undergraduate and graduate degrees.

I've always heard that one should do their degrees at different schools to gain wider exposure to different departments and different perspectives. I'm in a community college in Illinois. My two main target transfer schools are UC Berkeley, and U of I Urbana-Champaign. My ultimate goal is to go to Berkeley for my PhD, and I'm wondering if I should cross Berkeley off of my list for the remainder of my undergrad.

As far as the quality of the school goes, there really isn't a whole lot of difference between UIUC and Berkeley, at least as far as I can tell. They're at least comparable in most respects. So I don't feel that I'd really be missing out on much either way. Berkeley has a larger draw in some respects because I've always intended to move to the west coast. UIUC has the draw of saving me around $20,000 in student loans.

I'm hoping I can get some input on this. It would be much appreciated.

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
It's not that important.

I think what's often said is something along the lines of: "It's a good idea to apply to different schools for your graduate studies because it allows you to expand your horizons, learn from different perspectives, and increase your networking base."

This is different from: "Do not stay in the same place for your graduate studies as your were in for your undergraduate studies as it will somehow present you with academic or professional obstacles."

Unfortunately the advice is often interpreted as the latter.

There can be many good reasons for staying at the same school. You may find a professor or a group that you really like working with. Cost of living might be an issue. Social factors could even play a role in your decision.
Ultimately you should make the decision based on where you think you will learn and perform the best.
  • #3
Education Advisor
Thanks for the the input. My interpretation of it has indeed always been the latter.

That puts me a bit more at ease about the situation. I'll most likely end up going to UIUC because of the drastically lower tuition and lower cost of living, but it's still up in the air. Berkeley still has a lot of draw, perhaps more so if it really isn't that crucial to attend separate universities for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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