To not understand why MN posters refer to top RG universities?

(110 Posts)
Dolcelatte Wed 09-Jul-14 14:08:03

Surely there is Oxbridge, RG and the rest - or is that oversimplifying the position?

I'm not sure it's MN posters. I didn't even know I'd been to one until MN.

Schooltrip Wed 09-Jul-14 14:11:38

Another person who didnt know they'd been to a RG uni until reading about RG on. MN.

CSIJanner Wed 09-Jul-14 14:12:55

Russell Group universities can be found here. Thy tend to have more research and private funding, that's all. I just see it a a group, because let's face, whilst they might be good for certain subjects, other unis may be top of the field for specialist/specific subjects.

EarthWindFire Wed 09-Jul-14 14:12:55

Me neither smile

SusannahReid Wed 09-Jul-14 14:14:48

Just realised I did too.

netty7070 Wed 09-Jul-14 14:15:06

Never heard of RG until I came on here. Seems a bit of a white elephant to me.

RobinHumphries Wed 09-Jul-14 14:15:12

I had to google RG, I'd heard of redbrick and knew I'd been to a redbrick but had never heard of it being referred to as RG

Well, RG isn't all the 'good' universities - some just didn't join up when RG started, even though they could have done, or because they are more recent universities.

I went to 2 universities, both of which come high up in league tables etc, neither of which was in the Russell Group.

One has since joined it - it didn't magically become 'better' by joining that group than it had been previously!

ElephantsNeverForgive Wed 09-Jul-14 14:20:21

I think it's simply shorthand for "and not go to an ex poly"

Even if the ex-poly is excellent in some fields of study.

sparechange Wed 09-Jul-14 14:22:03

The only time I've seen references to RG universities is when a poster gets picked on up for their bad grammar and/or spelling, or need to get defensive about their attitude at work, and they leap to defend themselves by saying they went to a RG university so they can't possibly be wrong.
And occasionally when people give examples of their relative/neighbour/hairdresser whose academic outcomes weren't impacted by having a SAHP/being homeschooled/having divorced parents/not being allowed the class hamster, and the proof is they got into a RG university

Bunbaker Wed 09-Jul-14 14:22:08

Secondary schools aim to get as many pupils as they can to RG universities because it looks good on their prospectus.

CulturalBear Wed 09-Jul-14 14:31:39

Think of the Russell Group as like the Ivy League of colleges in America - it has become lazy shorthand for 'good university'.

There is a tariff correlation - ie RG universities tend to demand higher entry grades (and achieve them).

But in reality what is a 'good university' is not black and white - it can vary hugely depending on subject etc. Ie one university might be good for chemistry but not psychology, and vice versa.

There is a huge educational snobbery at play when, ultimately, many students are much better off at a non-RG university because they might get better pastoral care, teaching might be better, there is a specialism for their subject there, direct employment opportunities might be better.

It's not one-size fits all - the RG/non-RG debate totally misses the point and ends up fostering miserable students who have ended up somewhere they don't want to be based on the fact that mum and dad insisted they went to a 'proper' university.

MamaMary Wed 09-Jul-14 14:33:06

I think OP means why do people refer to TOP Russell Grant unis? And I agree - there is no such thing as a TOP RG - just RG.

MamaMary Wed 09-Jul-14 14:34:38

Looking at that list - there aren't actually that many RG universities. I went to one.

But I can think of excellent universities that aren't on that list - St Andrews, for example.

Well Mama yes but people are making the point that most people don't even bother referring to RG universities at all, never mind with a stupid tautology. FWIW I think the UCL and the LSE might well be 'top' RG universities. Certainly UCL is better for my subject (and my university is great for my subject).

PeppermintInfusion Wed 09-Jul-14 14:38:44

I think people just want a comparable term to Ivy League for their stealth boasts wink

As for top RGs, I presume they mean the more 'established' unis in the group eg Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Durham, the London unis etc which are red bricks/ancients rather than the newer ones like Southampton, Cardiff etc

It could be fun to go to a Russell Grant university wink

But yes, RG universities are all going to be 'prestigious' so if that's what parents/teachers/students are looking for then you don't have to rank some as 'better' than others in an overall kind of ranking.

But the whole idea that there is Oxbridge at the top of everyone's wishlist, then RG, then anywhere else, is a wrong way of looking at choices anyway. Oxbridge don't automatically churn out people who are better in their subject than those who went anywhere else, even for 'traditional' subjects.

TillyTellTale Wed 09-Jul-14 14:48:47

Why do people refer to top RG universities?

It's quite simple. They want people to infer that they/their child went to one of the really famous members of the Russell Group, like Oxford, Cambridge, or Imperial College London, as opposed to somewhere less well-known, such as Queen Mary University of London. (All those universities are members.)

MamaMary Wed 09-Jul-14 14:52:13

There is no league of RG universities. It's bad enough to brag about RG universities, let along fictional 'top' ones.

Maybe they mean 'Russell group and top of its field in [subject]'?

They do vary quite a bit. But then some of the non-Russell group ones are better than some of the RG for some subjects anyway.

I do think by now, there's inverse snobbery about it, so if some poor poster comes along asking about this term they've heard from the teachers at school, they always seem to get dozens of posts banging on about how everyone had no idea what the term meant (oh, except, you know, I went to one doncha know ...). It's a bit cringey.

callamia Wed 09-Jul-14 14:57:42

I also assume that some people don't know what makes for RG membership, and why there are plenty of research-focused universities who are not RG (eg the old 1994 group). It's all snobbery, and usually half-informed snobbery. Boring.

Pangaea Wed 09-Jul-14 14:59:50

The Sutton 13 is much more impressive than the RG!

MamaMary Wed 09-Jul-14 15:00:50

Certainly, the one I went to, the quality of teaching has declined and been relegated to a low priority since getting RG status. (all the focus is on research). It would not be a particularly good choice for students.

I read in the Sunday Times last week that students are less and less satisfied with universities because of poor teaching - very few contact hours and being palmed off with postgrads rather than established lectuers/ professors. Oxbridge is as guilty of this as anywhere.

Pangaea Wed 09-Jul-14 15:01:09

^that should have had a windy face for obvious Hyacinth-ing. wink

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