to ask if DC shouldn't bother with university if they can't get into a Russell Group one?

(663 Posts)
TuTuTilly Fri 14-Jun-13 18:31:36

I'd never heard of the ruddy things before I joined MN. Didn't even realise I'd been to one. I do recall when I had a tedious summer job in Human Resources which included "sifting" job applications for an international firm of accountants, being told to dump any that weren't from a handful of universities.

So my question is; if your child can't get into an RG university - should they accept that they will be unemployable oiks upon graduation and resign themselves to a life working in call centres?

exoticfruits Fri 14-Jun-13 19:22:36

A more interesting question, and one that will increasingly get asked, is 'should I go to university?'.

iamadoozermum Fri 14-Jun-13 19:23:56

I didn't go to a Russell Group Uni for my undergrad degree and I'm an academic so it didn't do me any harm smile. I would go by the quality of the course and having worked and studied at a variety of institutions - Russell Group, 1994 Group, University Alliance, Million+ and GuildHE - being at a Russell Group is no guarantee of a good educational experience. At Russell Group unis, a fair bit of teaching is often done by the PhD students, for example. Different unis have different specialities and so have reputations in different fields. So it is more important to go to the place with the good reputation in that field, sometimes that will be Russell Group, sometimes not.

Latara Fri 14-Jun-13 19:24:18

Sorry i meant all those from the current intake at my ex-poly uni Nursing course are likely to get employment in nursing jobs, hope that's clearer.

exoticfruits Fri 14-Jun-13 19:25:05

Because you use the word 'surely',BekindtoyourKnees and there is no 'surely' about it. They are not the best place for some courses.

EstelleGetty Fri 14-Jun-13 19:27:12

It's sad that any employer would judge a candidate on that basis. I teach at an RG university just now and, to be honest, I think the research culture in many former polys and red bricks that I've visited is far more interesting and vibrant. Far less stuck in the past. I was blown away by Edge Hill and Sussex.

I did my undergrad at art school. Didn't stop me getting the only fully funded PhD place in the department that I'm now researching and teaching in in an RG! It totally depends what sort of career/subject your DCs are interested in.

blueemerald Fri 14-Jun-13 19:28:41

I don't think it used to matter so much but I'm 25 and several of my friends have mentioned their companies/industries using the Russell Group/Non Russell Group check as a way of whittling down extreme numbers of job applications. These fields include teaching, actuarial work, law, scientific research and so on. I think with ever increasing numbers of people going to university which university you went to will start to make a much bigger difference soon.

exoticfruits Fri 14-Jun-13 19:31:27

Very good graduates from RG universities are working in shops and coffee bars etc- the country is staffed with them! Graduate employment is dire at the moment- I don't think people understand that.

INeedSomeSun Fri 14-Jun-13 19:32:08

I went to an ex-poly. I did law. It definately hindered my career prospects going to that uni. I probably could have got into a better uni as most of the other people on my course had lower grade A levels than me...

I will make sure that my DC go to established unis and not ex-polys. Obviously law is very competitive though, it might not be the same in all cases.

exoticfruits Fri 14-Jun-13 19:33:47

That is where you need to do your homework a d find the best places for law, which are no doubt some RG universities.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 14-Jun-13 19:36:27

Yanbu.

Bobyan Fri 14-Jun-13 19:36:50

Maybe you should look at performance indicators, such as drop out rates, post graduate employment rates and earning levels for graduates and make an informed decision...

But maybe that's just me.

exoticfruits Fri 14-Jun-13 19:36:59

I think we are failing a whole generation- they jump through all the right educational hoops and then BANG - they meet the real world and it is tough- you need far more than the 'right' university. I have 10 yrs between my DSs and it is far, far worse now than 10 yrs ago (and it was pretty bad then).

IgnatiusSprat Fri 14-Jun-13 19:37:25

I went to an RG uni. I got a First and everything. I even won an award. I have a shit job grin

invicta Fri 14-Jun-13 19:40:02

Some non RG courses are better for certain industries. Eg, for motor sports, I thing Oxford Brooks is best.

cranverry Fri 14-Jun-13 19:42:19

Well I went to a non RG university and was offered a job by one of the biggest accounting firms in the world. Some recruiters can see past the university name thankfully.

nemno Fri 14-Jun-13 19:46:16

It depends on what your DC want to be. For some , mainly vocational, courses an ex poly might be the very best place to go. For some firms eg in investment banking, law, accountancy then even some RG universities are not 'good enough'.

But my son graduated last year from a non RG/not top notch university but had a job lined up before he even graduated with a £28,000 starting salary. His course has excellent graduate recruitment prospects but many of his friends on other courses are struggling. My other recently graduated son was at a solid RG university but also has many friends who have yet to get relevant graduate employment.

southeastastra Fri 14-Jun-13 19:46:31

i know so many grads who have gone to bog standard universities and have got proper jobs and everything hmm

silly op but only on mn would a child be deemed a failure if they didn't get 22 x A*s and into a top university. I feel sorry for the kids mostly, wonder how many of them actually want the careers thrust upon them by parents who live in some sort of bubble outside of the real world.

Startail Fri 14-Jun-13 19:48:25

Like sweetkitty I'm another SAHM *RG graduate who stand zero chance of getting a job.

*actually RG was formed as I left, I'm old.

Honestly don't get hung up on RG only, St Andrews for example isn't on the list, but is a very well regarded uni,

DD1 wants to do something specialised and many of the best courses are at non RG universities.

FiftyshadesofYoni Fri 14-Jun-13 19:49:58

Totally depends on what course and career path they want to follow, some careers it matters, others it doesn't.

wordfactory Fri 14-Jun-13 19:53:02

Well OP , it's yes and no.

I mean, obviously many studnets graduate from non-RG universities and get good jobs.

Indeed for some courses, RG would not be the way to go.

However, there is no point pretending that in some (generally highly paid) fields it is far far easier to secure a position if you attended an RG university.

And yes, there are some fields where you would be excluded in all liklihoon if you did not attend an RG.

Things have got much worse on this score during the recession!

TuTuTilly Fri 14-Jun-13 20:02:46

Christ - those of you who think my OP is silly musn't get around much on MN hmm

RevoltingPeasant Fri 14-Jun-13 20:05:10

OP - I taught for seven years at a large RG university and now at a big regional ex poly.

RG unis mostly get more research funding. The plus is they are more likely to have starry professors. The minus is said professors are more likely to be off on leave. My old institution had PhD students doing nearly all the 1st year teaching, eg.

By contrast, I now run our dept's MA scheme and over half our intake are our own undergrads, who have had such a good time with, they don't want to leave. A lot more thought is put into teaching than in my previous job.

There are various indicators to use. One is the DLHE study, which charts the destinations of leavers of higher education - so you can see what jobs former students tend to get. Another is to look at the KIS data - key information sets - now available on all UCAS pages for each course. It will give you in depth data on contact time and student satisfaction. You should also go to open days and talk to staff and student reps.

Personally, I also believe strongly that university is about education which is valuable in its own right. But you will find a lot of people who are very snobbish about that view...!

CSIJanner Fri 14-Jun-13 20:05:39

DH lectures at a non-RG university. His courses have 94% employment rates within the discipline they are taught. It's how you apply yourself and also the schools connections to their industry that count.

That success rate is after they toss out the cheating plagerising little shits that chance their luck - but you'll find those in any academic circle, RG or not.

Lazyjaney Fri 14-Jun-13 20:28:59

Not all top Unis are Russel Group, some very good ones are outside it
Not all Russel Group Unis are top ones, some have slipped in rankings

This is a better guide of good Unis, searchable by course

www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings

The real think to look for are the average UCAS scores, tells you the A level results of the student body.

In my experience the more independently measurable your degree is (technology, law. medicine, maths, accountancy etc) the less you need RG.

emess Fri 14-Jun-13 20:32:01

I went to a RG uni and was unemployed on leaving. Later carved out a career in an unrelated field, and did an HNC at a then-poly (now a uni) which helped me change employers. Now moved on into a different field and, ironically, work in a non-RG but highly-research-intensive uni which has a really high reputation in many fields. I know many companies rate my current employer very highly re producing quality graduates.

DD went to another non-RG uni which has a really high reputation in her chosen field of study. She got a 2:1 and is currently doing a masters, abroad, in a very choosy university.

So, does it matter? Not necessarily. You need to scratch beneath the surface. RG is a nice club. End of.

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