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?

Delphiniumsblue Fri 11-Jul-14 07:06:46

MN is a totally different world I find- just as well it would be hard going if it reflected RL!
Let your DC do the research and find the best university for them. It may well not be in RG.

LineRunner Thu 10-Jul-14 23:38:40

Only on MN do I see people refer to 'top' anything.

Top grammar schools. Top RG universities (for undergraduate courses ffs). Top blue chip companies.

It's trying too hard with a cherry ... on top.

fluffymouse Thu 10-Jul-14 23:36:29

People refer to top RG universities as being RG in itself means rather little.

FFSFFS Thu 10-Jul-14 23:29:36

I've watched the league tables on medicine courses for the last few years and it's crazy how the universities can go up and down the rankings. It shows how fickle the league table can be.
I still think they are worth looking at but only as a small part of the bigger picture IYSWIM

TillyTellTale Thu 10-Jul-14 22:17:02

Do we blame the Russell group for tuition fees in England?

Funny you should say that. The lobby that is the RG has a rather strong stance for tuition fees. Apparently 9000 a year is too low. According to them.

ChelsyHandy Thu 10-Jul-14 17:48:31

Apparently I've been to one. Feeling underwhelmed. Apparently there is also one to be found in every major city in the UK. So why do posters on here keep mentioning it then?

I'm impressed if someone went to Oxbridge as an undergraduate (not as a postgraduate, in some subjects its a given right of perpetual studenthood).

It really sounds a bit pretentious and cringeworthy. What other university would you go to? Maybe I'd mention the name of the university I went to if relevant.

Maybe dependent on the subject.

MyFairyKing Thu 10-Jul-14 17:39:25

The best part of this thread is people calling them Russell Grant universities. grin

2rebecca Thu 10-Jul-14 16:57:41

So the unis in the russell group have to pay to be in there, they also have to spend money sending people to the various committees the group produces and they then campaign to be given more money (because they are spending more money on keeping the whole Russell Group organisation going.). I remember in sociology being taught that "the purpose of an organisation is to perpetuate itself and preserve the structure of the organisation" (or something similar) . Do we blame the Russell group for tuition fees in England? I can now see why many Scottish unis with no tuition fees aren't as fussed about joining in.

titchy Thu 10-Jul-14 16:05:11

Leicester, UEA, queen Mary's and many other smaller institutions were part of the now defunct 94 group. When this group went tits-up QM and others PAID to join the Russell grant group. UEA, Leicester et al didn't.

callamia Thu 10-Jul-14 15:55:48

The upping the entry requirements is funny. I can think of two places that did that, and have quietly dropped them again after they couldn't fill the course.

sashh Thu 10-Jul-14 15:42:35

Oh no! Leicester University isn't a Russell Grant one! How can that be? They invented genetic fingerprinting after all. I'm cross.

Because it's not big enough, it was in the 1994 group.

A physics professor friend of mine got his uni higher up the league table just by upping their entry requirements, the harder you seem to be to get in to the more people want to try and get there and you appear to be more prestigious.

And because some of the league tables, certainly the times, includes A Level grades of freshers, so if you have a lot of mature or non typical students you don't stand a chance.

So you will never see the likes of RADA in the league tables, but if you want to be an actor you would be better off there.

2rebecca Thu 10-Jul-14 15:10:09

The guardian rankings for some subjects are just strange, their top ranked Scottish uni for mechanical engineering is Dundee and it doesn't even offer an MEng just a BEng.
I think that as long as league tables continue to put you higher up the league table if you are hard to get into they will be a bit dubious anyway.
A physics professor friend of mine got his uni higher up the league table just by upping their entry requirements, the harder you seem to be to get in to the more people want to try and get there and you appear to be more prestigious. Some of it is a confidence trick.

Ketchuphidestheburntbits Thu 10-Jul-14 13:44:53

I've only just realised that my DC attends a RG university. blush

Things you learn on Mumsnet!

Honsandrevels Thu 10-Jul-14 13:42:42

The Guardian league table rank uk universities by various criteria including student satisfaction and percentage with a career after graduation. There is at least one non RG university in the top ten.

RG seem to be a consortium of businesses seeking (successfully) to position themselves as a premium brand. There seems to be little evidence as to how this benefits undergraduates.

autumnmum Thu 10-Jul-14 13:25:04

I started reading this thread because I had no idea what an RG university was - turns out I got my degree from one and my masters from another. Should I be boasting about this? smile

callamia Thu 10-Jul-14 12:26:27

QM is pretty big and left 1994 to join RG recently.

Their entry requirements for the equivalent degree programme to ours (we were 1994 too) are below ours. We're too small and specialist to be RG. RG - it doesn't mean what most people seem to think it does...

Upthread a bit but Queen Mary in London is Russell Group? Are we sure? I got in there with a very sorry clutch of A Levels.

I went to a Russell group university preens I feel like I've just won university challenge or something.

Georgina1975 Thu 10-Jul-14 09:58:35

I find this really odd and I work at one!

I think some RG universities have become a little complacent tbh, as they do not have to try hard to attract students. I would be most interested in the National Student Survey (NSS) as a student.

lljkk Thu 10-Jul-14 09:55:33

ps, since it was mentioned twice... I think UEA research funding is only about £26million/annum. I looked into this last yr but numbers are only off top of my head. The smallest RG Uni in terms of funding is Exeter, about £45kmillion off top of my head. One of the Oxbridge Unis gets most at maybe £180-200million/yr.

Loughborough is another one that arguably belongs in RG club.

My Uni's official email sig (we are all supposed to use) is a bragfest of statistics about things like our research ratings & student satisfaction. Ridiculous advertising our insecurities like that, I bet Oxbridge academics don't have to.

lljkk Thu 10-Jul-14 09:50:41

Does anyone know with those university rankings if they take into account the research funding? So what I'd like to see is a league table for ratio of
output/research funding. It's not fair to compare Caltech to UCL if Caltech receives (for instance) 10x as much funding, then Caltech should produce 10x as much cited research, I would have thought. But do they?

SaveTheMockingBird Thu 10-Jul-14 09:45:53

Another one that hadn't heard of the term RG, but just found out that infact I went to a "top" RG uni!

2rebecca Thu 10-Jul-14 09:21:32

RG is fairly meaningless if doing an engineering degree, especially in Scotland as the technical universities like Strathclyde and Heriot Watt aren't there. It seems to have an English bias as old Scottish unis like St Andrews and Aberdeen are also not included.
My son's just finished school in Scotland and RG/nonRG didn't come it to it. He and his friends started with the course they wanted to do and then just looked at course content of the unis/ unistats/ league tables/ what they thought on open days/ which courses played to their strengths and interests/ where they fancied living for 4-5 years.
My husband and I did vocational courses with near 100% employment at non RG unis.
To me it seems to be some unis getting together and trying to bring back the uni/ poly divide but under a different name. When you look at the blurb on their site they do seem to aim to just support each other and exclude non-RG unis (and go on lots of committees)

BeckAndCall Thu 10-Jul-14 08:19:29

You can't answer the question o'whats a top university' unless you expand the question to 'top for what?'

In world rankings - only Oxford, Cambridge and imperial make the top 20. UCL and. LSE come next.

For research rankings - measured in a massive national exercise every 5 or 7 years - you can get a ranked list both overall and for each subject group. So you can be top for one subject but in the middle for others whilst being either near the top of the overall list or near the bottom of the overall list.

Or you can be top for graduate destinations - ie have the highest percentage of students in employment after 6 months or 18 months.

Or you can be top for educating the highest number or best prepared vocational graduates - so health professionals and teachers.

You just can't answer the question without more specific criteria.

But in general, the RG unis which appear on most of the lists for most aspects near the top of most of them are the usual suspects - Oxford, Cambridge, imperial, UCL, LSE, Edinburgh, Durham, Bristol. Noting that Durham didn't even join the RG until 2012 so the grouping really doesn't imply much.

TiggyD Thu 10-Jul-14 08:05:07

Assumed RG meant Reading.

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