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Is it better to use Despite she received or Despite receiving here? I am trying to add variety to my writing by avoiding repeating so many times the subject. However, I am not sure whether excluding the subject in sentences like this could be confusing or annoying to the reader?.

Despite receiving secondary education in a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational performance, she graduated from one of the most academically demanding universities in the capital city of our country with an excellent thesis.

Despite the secondary education she received in the countryside is below the national average, she graduated from one of the most academically demanding universities in the capital city of our country with an excellent thesis.

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"Despite" always takes a noun, often the gerund.

"Despite she received" is incorrect. The subject is explicitly specified later in the sentence: "she graduated...".

There are other words that function differently, for example

Although she received secondary education in a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational performance, she graduated from one of the most academically demanding universities.

You can also make the subject explicit whiles still retaining the gerund construction:

Despite her having received secondary education in a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational performance, she graduated from one of the most academically demanding universities.

In your second example "the secondary education she received in the countryside is below the national average" is not a noun phrase. You can convert it to a noun phrase with constructs such as "the fact that the secondary education she received in the countryside is below the national average" or "the secondary education she received in the countryside being below the national average"

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  • I was updating that issue just before your comment, I beg you check it again to see if it improved.
    – pepo
    Oct 30 '20 at 15:56
  • Despite takes a noun phrase, but "the secondary education she received in the countryside is below the national average" is not a noun phrase. Oct 30 '20 at 15:59
  • The last edition of your answer did clarify me your suggestion. Thank you.
    – pepo
    Oct 30 '20 at 16:19

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