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Thread: Dalyell Scholar?

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    Dalyell Scholar?

    Hello,

    I got into Usyd, and received an invitation to join their Dalyell Scholar Program. I looked online for more information about what it actually entails, and everything seems a bit vague. Can someone tell me what the actual benefits of joining are or if there is any? What are these accelerated and advanced units that are available to the Scholars? Do you actually get a professor as a mentor, and how do they 'mentor' you? Does it actually help you study or get better grades? I don't really care about the employability and leadership part; I am only interested in the academic part. Hence, are there even any academic benefits?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by A_Cacti; 20 Dec 2018 at 2:46 PM.

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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    I doubt there's any real benefit of it. It's all about marketing - being a "Daylell scholar" sounds pretty cool, so it attracts students. You might have access to some special units. When I was in first year, we had a similar thing where anyone who got above 98 was eligible for the "advanced engineering stream", which was basically one subject per year where you worked in groups on chosen project. In the end it was nothing special. There's was also a similar "special studies" math stream, which offered a special subject once a year where you learnt some topics chosen by the lecturer with a very small group of students - again, nothing special.

    Also I doubt you get your own personal professor as a mentor - there's a ton of students who get above 98 and there's simply not enough professors and not enough time for them to babysit students. My guess is they'll assign one professor to look after each faculty (or maybe a group of students) of the scholar program, and on the open day they'll tell you that you can contact these professors if you have any questions about your degree and whatnot. They're definitely not going to hold your hand through university and give you life advice or study tips, if that's what you're thinking lol.

    That being said, there's no harm in being in it, since you can always drop out if you can't be screwed in the end (which usually happens to most students after the first semester).

    I could be completely wrong, so if someone is a current scholar feel free to correct me. I'm just speculating based on my own tertiary experience.
    A_Cacti likes this.
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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    I accepted it already but it sounds like trash. ty.

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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    The Dalyell program is basically a worse version of the Talented Students Program which it replaced. I actually like TSP, but I'm not as sure about Dalyell.

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Cacti View Post
    Can someone tell me what the actual benefits of joining are or if there is any? What are these accelerated and advanced units that are available to the Scholars?
    The "accelerated" and "advanced" units are really just you being more likely to be granted the ability to take 2nd and 3rd year units earlier. Personally, unless if you're very good and confident, I wouldn't recommend it, even though it might sound kind of enticing.

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Cacti View Post
    Do you actually get a professor as a mentor, and how do they 'mentor' you?
    Yes. As a part of Dalyell, you get to do these project units (equivalent to the old TSP units, which I still get to do), where a professor proposes a 1-on-1
    or 1-on-small-group project or course throughout the semester. These count towards your degree and major, and from both experience and the opinions of other students, these are pretty good, and probably the best part of Dalyell.

    For example, I entered into a 1-on-1 reading course with a lecturer of mine last semester, and while stressful, I ended up learning a lot and we've decided to enter into another one next year, which will be much more research-based. The progress I've made with the subject area will very very likely end up as a part of my honours thesis, which is very helpful. Moreover, doing these courses allows me to skip a third year stats course, which is very nice.

    Other students do projects as a group, and they may have to present their project and findings.

    So generally, these project units are informative, very educational (often more than the usual courses), and fosters close connections with your lecturers, which is definitely useful for honours/research opportunities in the future.

    You can take these project units at any point in your degree. I decided not to do any back in first and second year. I think third year is the best time to take them, since 1. they contribute to your major, and 2. the projects/courses are much more relevant to your honours and future research.

    So if there is a reason for me to do Dalyell, this would be it.

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Cacti View Post
    Does it actually help you study or get better grades?
    Often, people take these project units on top of their normal workload (as I did), and so it usually makes your semester even busier.

    However, what you can also do is to take these units (in third year) to substitute units of your major that you don't want to take, which I'm also doing.

    Also, depending on the nature of your project/course and your supervisor, they might give you very high marks for these units. But this depends on how chill your supervisor is.

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Cacti View Post
    I don't really care about the employability and leadership part; I am only interested in the academic part. Hence, are there even any academic benefits?
    Academic benefits? Yes - these project units are probably the best thing you can do as an undergrad (within semesters) to prepare for research.

    I know a few students who are publishing as a result of these units. Although realistically, this is pretty rare and you shouldn't expect it.


    Also, I think I heard something about how with Dalyell, you automatically get $2,000 scholarship for exchange, should you decide to go on one. I personally don't think this is all that great, but maybe that's just because I don't like exchanges.

    So all in all, Dalyell's main benefit is the ability to initiate into project units with your lecturers. You should purely decide on this point - whether you think it's worth the extra effort.
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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    The Dalyell program is basically a worse version of the Talented Students Program which it replaced. I actually like TSP, but I'm not as sure about Dalyell.



    The "accelerated" and "advanced" units are really just you being more likely to be granted the ability to take 2nd and 3rd year units earlier. Personally, unless if you're very good and confident, I wouldn't recommend it, even though it might sound kind of enticing.



    Yes. As a part of Dalyell, you get to do these project units (equivalent to the old TSP units, which I still get to do), where a professor proposes a 1-on-1
    or 1-on-small-group project or course throughout the semester. These count towards your degree and major, and from both experience and the opinions of other students, these are pretty good, and probably the best part of Dalyell.

    For example, I entered into a 1-on-1 reading course with a lecturer of mine last semester, and while stressful, I ended up learning a lot and we've decided to enter into another one next year, which will be much more research-based. The progress I've made with the subject area will very very likely end up as a part of my honours thesis, which is very helpful. Moreover, doing these courses allows me to skip a third year stats course, which is very nice.

    Other students do projects as a group, and they may have to present their project and findings.

    So generally, these project units are informative, very educational (often more than the usual courses), and fosters close connections with your lecturers, which is definitely useful for honours/research opportunities in the future.

    You can take these project units at any point in your degree. I decided not to do any back in first and second year. I think third year is the best time to take them, since 1. they contribute to your major, and 2. the projects/courses are much more relevant to your honours and future research.

    So if there is a reason for me to do Dalyell, this would be it.



    Often, people take these project units on top of their normal workload (as I did), and so it usually makes your semester even busier.

    However, what you can also do is to take these units (in third year) to substitute units of your major that you don't want to take, which I'm also doing.

    Also, depending on the nature of your project/course and your supervisor, they might give you very high marks for these units. But this depends on how chill your supervisor is.



    Academic benefits? Yes - these project units are probably the best thing you can do as an undergrad (within semesters) to prepare for research.

    I know a few students who are publishing as a result of these units. Although realistically, this is pretty rare and you shouldn't expect it.


    Also, I think I heard something about how with Dalyell, you automatically get $2,000 scholarship for exchange, should you decide to go on one. I personally don't think this is all that great, but maybe that's just because I don't like exchanges.

    So all in all, Dalyell's main benefit is the ability to initiate into project units with your lecturers. You should purely decide on this point - whether you think it's worth the extra effort.
    Thanks so much for the information; it was very helpful! Would you say that the Dalyell Scholar Program is equivalent to PhB (Bachelor of Philosophy) at ANU, since both programs allow their students to do research in their undergraduate years? Lastly, would the units be purely research like if you were doing a PhD or is it mainly coursework with infinitesimal amounts of research dispersed throughout the duration of the unit?

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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Quote Originally Posted by A_Cacti View Post
    Thanks so much for the information; it was very helpful! Would you say that the Dalyell Scholar Program is equivalent to PhB (Bachelor of Philosophy) at ANU, since both programs allow their students to do research in their undergraduate years? Lastly, would the units be purely research like if you were doing a PhD or is it mainly coursework with infinitesimal amounts of research dispersed throughout the duration of the unit?
    I've had a quick look at the B. Philosophy course at ANU, and in some ways, the Dalyell scholars (or TSP for older degrees) is very similar - you have project units dispersed across your degree.

    Research in a postgrad degree is very different; you can spend nearly all of your time on writing even a single paper for a long duration of time. I don't think neither B. Philosophy at ANU nor Dalyell scholars at USYD can emulate that experience to its fullest as a part of an undergraduate experience, and it shouldn't. Generally, a person spends most of their undergrad acquiring the knowledge required to reach a level at which they're able to carry out independent research (and for many people, they only hit this point half-way through their honours year).

    So the undergrad project units (for Dalyell and B. Philosophy) would usually have at least 60% (and likely an even higher portion) of the time allocated to studying and reading papers on the subject area you're looking at with your supervisor, and the rest of the time doing a bit of research, which realistically won't amount to that much since research is ultimately extremely challenging and time consuming, and you have other units to worry about. This kind of depends on the area you're working in though; for example, if you're doing computer science, you will have a higher percentage of the time allocated to practical implementation and generating data for your research, as comp sci projects often involve you programming something significant. Also, the assessments for project units are often something like submitting an essay at the end and possible a presentation.

    The only possible way you can have a project unit completely dedicated to research from start to finish is if you are already well acquainted with the topic. This is kind of what I'm doing, and I would recommend it to you too. My suggestion to you is to not jump into just any project that is offered to you. Instead, I recommend taking the first 1.5 years easy, and see which lecturers work in areas that you're personally interested in, who you can get along with. Once you've found lecturers who suit your interests, then you can approach them about possible project opportunities. This way, you can perhaps spend one project unit (a reading course) on studying as much of the subject area as possible, then a second project with them where you purely focus on research in that area (assuming you enjoyed the previous unit). That way, your research is more of a long-term thing, and it can easily lead into your honours thesis and possibly even further.


    One thing I forgot to mention is that the new Dalyell scholars program requires you to do a project unit in first year and present it, and also for you to mentor a first-year Dalyell research group later on in your degree. I personally don't like these changes, although that might be because I avoided the program in first-year.
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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Oh, and I should probably mention that my reading course (where I just read papers and write about them) was probably the hardest thing I've done at uni, and the unit was only worth half of the credit points of a typical unit. But that might just be the topic area. So be prepared to put in a reasonable amount of work for this stuff, if you're interested. (I guess what you get out of these units is proportional to put you put into them, though I guess that applies to everything lol)
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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    I've had a quick look at the B. Philosophy course at ANU, and in some ways, the Dalyell scholars (or TSP for older degrees) is very similar - you have project units dispersed across your degree.

    Research in a postgrad degree is very different; you can spend nearly all of your time on writing even a single paper for a long duration of time. I don't think neither B. Philosophy at ANU nor Dalyell scholars at USYD can emulate that experience to its fullest as a part of an undergraduate experience, and it shouldn't. Generally, a person spends most of their undergrad acquiring the knowledge required to reach a level at which they're able to carry out independent research (and for many people, they only hit this point half-way through their honours year).

    So the undergrad project units (for Dalyell and B. Philosophy) would usually have at least 60% (and likely an even higher portion) of the time allocated to studying and reading papers on the subject area you're looking at with your supervisor, and the rest of the time doing a bit of research, which realistically won't amount to that much since research is ultimately extremely challenging and time consuming, and you have other units to worry about. This kind of depends on the area you're working in though; for example, if you're doing computer science, you will have a higher percentage of the time allocated to practical implementation and generating data for your research, as comp sci projects often involve you programming something significant. Also, the assessments for project units are often something like submitting an essay at the end and possible a presentation.

    The only possible way you can have a project unit completely dedicated to research from start to finish is if you are already well acquainted with the topic. This is kind of what I'm doing, and I would recommend it to you too. My suggestion to you is to not jump into just any project that is offered to you. Instead, I recommend taking the first 1.5 years easy, and see which lecturers work in areas that you're personally interested in, who you can get along with. Once you've found lecturers who suit your interests, then you can approach them about possible project opportunities. This way, you can perhaps spend one project unit (a reading course) on studying as much of the subject area as possible, then a second project with them where you purely focus on research in that area (assuming you enjoyed the previous unit). That way, your research is more of a long-term thing, and it can easily lead into your honours thesis and possibly even further.


    One thing I forgot to mention is that the new Dalyell scholars program requires you to do a project unit in first year and present it, and also for you to mentor a first-year Dalyell research group later on in your degree. I personally don't like these changes, although that might be because I avoided the program in first-year.
    Thanks for all the info! I now look forward to being a Dalyell Scholar.

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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    I'm glad to hear.

    But since it's a relatively new program, there are bound to be various administrative issues with it that you will encounter. So make sure you chase things up, and read the rules and resolutions for your degree like it's the holy bible.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) III, USYD

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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Quote Originally Posted by sida1049 View Post
    I'm glad to hear.

    But since it's a relatively new program, there are bound to be various administrative issues with it that you will encounter. So make sure you chase things up, and read the rules and resolutions for your degree like it's the holy bible.
    Seems like that applies university wide
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    Re: Dalyell Scholar?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoldingOn View Post
    Seems like that applies university wide
    Oh yeah, definitely dude. But for things that are newer, it applies even more, unfortunately. Bureaucracy sucks ass.

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