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university - how to chose? Russell group really necessary?

(30 Posts)
Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 09:26:02

just after advice for dd
one of her teachers said she should go for a Russell Group owing to her predicted grades.
another suggested she should go where she is happy because she will meet likeminded people, and therefore be happy.

why would a russell group be better?
doing eng lit.

flyingpigsinclover Sun 22-Oct-17 09:46:33

If there is an RG uni that she likes and feels like she would be happy then I'd say to go for it. DD was looking last year and was advised to go to an RG uni but she also looked at one that wasn't RG and is also low down in the league tables for admission grades.

She turned down two RG universities because she felt that she'd be unhappy there and opted for one RG and the one lower down the league tables for her insurance because she thought she'd be happy at either of them after the open day and before the offer holders day

However, and there isn't really a nice way to put this, she passed comment that when she was having discussions with prospective student peers on the offer holders day that they didn't really seem to have the same interests as her in terms of academics - she wanted the degree to go into a specific profession and was wanting to be with like minded people but a lot of them just wanted to go to university because 'that is what you do' and didn't seem that interested in the academic side of university life - several said they were going for the social life and wouldn't go to all the lectures. She was extremely impressed with the university and it's academic facilities and the lecturers that she met and I think she'd have done well there but might have struggled socially.

ShanghaiDiva Sun 22-Oct-17 09:54:43

There are excellent universities (eg in top 15 on consolidated league tables ) such as Loughborough, Bath and Lancaster which are not Russell Group.
I would start with subject league tables, required grades, employment prospects upon graduation. Then once you have this list look at course options, location of university, campus or not etc to narrow down your list.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 22-Oct-17 09:55:34

There are plenty of universities that are very good that aren’t in Russell group, for example Bath isn’t.

dds college told them it’s much more important to choose a degree that matches their interests, so with English Lit, she would need to look at how texts are studied and which ones and all that (I’m a bit vague on English Lit grin ) and then to select places that are around their predicted grade.

Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 09:56:57

oh thanks all.

permatiredmum Sun 22-Oct-17 10:01:52

Unless you can get in at a Russell Group or doing a degree which is essential for your chosen career, I wouldn't bother.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 22-Oct-17 10:06:37

I think its really important to find a course where you're happy with the structure /options available. Also look at the national student satisfaction survey results.

flyingpigsinclover Sun 22-Oct-17 10:10:50

Bath has an excellent reputation, DD was going to consider Bath over an RG university but in the end she felt she'd be more suited to a different one. I know a professor at Bath, as does DD (they teach her subject so that was part of the reason she rejected it).

albertatrilogy Sun 22-Oct-17 10:18:23

I'd have thought a better starting point would be the kind of literature course that particularly interested her

Is she interested in American and colonial/post-colonial literature. Feminist/LGBT writing? Or is she more interested in the history and evolution of literature written in English - the opportunity to read Chaucer for example?

Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 10:23:28

i had no idea, i though all eng lit courses were the same blush

VivaLeBeaver Sun 22-Oct-17 10:27:35

No in each subject courses vary a lot. My brother dropped out a maths degree as he decided it focused on the wrong sort of maths.

Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 10:31:50

will the english offered be available online? we dont have to go to All the open days? I hope

albertatrilogy Sun 22-Oct-17 10:42:46

I reckon it's time your daughter did some serious thinking and started looking some stuff up herself. (Yes, there is plenty of info available on university websites.)

VivaLeBeaver Sun 22-Oct-17 10:47:45

Online prospectuses will outline options. Also get her on the student room website and she will find other students to talk to.

ShanghaiDiva Sun 22-Oct-17 11:36:32

Lots of info online re courses - compulsory elements and options. I am in English graduate from the 1980s and chose Southampton because of old English and Middle English options.

GnomeDePlume Sun 22-Oct-17 11:55:38

Where possible it is worth going to open days for courses which interest your DD. Go to a range and find out which course and institution your DD feels gives the best fit. Not all courses and universities are the same.

littlemissneela Sun 22-Oct-17 12:13:44

We looked at the Times uni lists they do every year, where you can view the list by subject. ED had a list of where she wanted to go, and then went from there. We visited as many open days as she could, which really does help give you a feel of what they are like. You should also take into account the student satisfaction ratings of the unis as that says a lot.
From what we have seen of the Russell group unis, they are very good but they are very focused on getting top results. Which is good, but not when it outweighs the health and well being of the students.

Roomba Sun 22-Oct-17 12:15:26

English degree courses vary significantly in content. I chose Lancaster as I liked that the course wasn't chronological in content - most unis I looked at at the time started with Chaucer then proceeded chronologically until you reached postmodern literature. I wanted to study modern, postcolonial and postmodern literature principally so I chose a course that focussed on these aspects more. If I'd gone elsewhere I'd have been wading through centuries of novels for years before I'd be allowed to study my main passion.

All of this info is available on the university websites - your DD need to look through what courses are offered at each university and work out which one would suit her interests/future career path best.

albertatrilogy Sun 22-Oct-17 12:24:32

I suppose you could argue that for someone who essentially wants a good social life/student experience it makes sense to go to somewhere where there's a good nightlife/accommodation etc.

On the other hand if someone's a bit more academically inclined ie. is actually motivated towards studying and wants to be around other people who are enthusiastic about their chosen course, then a different set of parameters comes into play.

Without knowing much about your daughter it's hard to give any meaningful advice. Other than reiterating that pretty well every university offers the opportunity to study English Literature but that the courses and institutions will vary very widely.

Ttbb Sun 22-Oct-17 12:30:29

Going to university is about getting an education, not making friends, she should go to whichever university is best in her field of study (often but not always a Russell group). I would also be a bit hmm as to why the teacher thinks that she won't meet likeminded (what does that even mean at that age) people-does the teacher just think that your DD is too stupid to make friends at a Russell group?

albertatrilogy Sun 22-Oct-17 12:48:40

I think when we are deciding to accept a job in a new town we think, 'Is this a place I'd like to live? Could I be happy here?'

It's not unreasonable for prospective students to think the same thing.

However, it's also a time when people change.

My daughter who is used to biggish provincial cities felt initially she'd be happier in London than in a university in a rather smaller town. But she's ended up very much liking aspects of living in a place with a smaller population - and cheesier, more old-fashioned night clubs.

eatyourveg Sun 22-Oct-17 13:33:47

ds1 did English Lit and the courses varied hugely between institutions. Your dd really needs to look at the modules available and look for somewhere with a good reputation and which focuses on her areas of interest. ds wanted poetry, shakespeare, lost generation and the beats. (I think chaucer is probably compulsory everywhere) If he had to read a ton of books he wasn't interested in, he would have found it very difficult and his marks would have undoubtedly suffered.

Trippy4 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:46:51

I studied English at Nottingham in the eighties .Chose it for the night life not the two years of Anglo Saxon English but this was before tuition loans .Going where you know you are likely to have fun and make friends is important too ,but perhaps it’s wise to pair this with the most academically highly rated course you can realistically study at.

Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 14:54:16

No, one teacher wasn't anti russel group, just I understand dd should choose to live where she would be happy

Slartybartfast Sun 22-Oct-17 14:55:12

Some things to consider

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