Would you - Lower RG uni or Non RG but high on league tables?

(92 Posts)
Demeldark Fri 03-Aug-18 19:48:26

All other things being equal. Is it better to apply for a lower down RG university of a higher up the league table non RG?

Like I said all other things being equal.

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thesandwich Fri 03-Aug-18 21:00:20

Depends very much on the subject. Look at unistats and employment/ average salaries etc. Industry links etc. And whether your dc likes it!

LeiatheSchnauzer Fri 03-Aug-18 21:44:06

All things being equal I would advise my ds to go for the higher ranking over RG. RG didn't come into his consideration at all, just the course and the reputation and standing of the university.

ReservoirDogs Fri 03-Aug-18 21:48:11

Depends on the subject/course.

Some non RGs are still highly regarded eg. Bath

CountFosco Fri 03-Aug-18 22:05:25

Some non RGs are still highly regarded eg. Bath

I once had the misfortune to have to screen some CVs from students from Bath for a sandwich year. There was nothing to distinguish any of them, it was all 'I played an instrument to grade X, captained my sports team, did DoE Gold award/am a Queen's Guide/scout, and spent my gap year helping some terribly unfortunate people in the third world, am averaging a 2:1 in my degree and have never done a days work in my life because Mummy and Daddy have paid for everything I've ever 'achieved' in my life'. The mature students from the local poly completely outshone them.

Anyway, get your DC to look at the reputation of the course, the earning potential of the graduates, and the links to industry/oportunities to get some work experience during their degree. What subject are they thinking about?

ReservoirDogs Fri 03-Aug-18 22:15:51

CountFosco I assume you didn't come across the studenta doing architecture then. Also I woukd suspect that mature students often offer more than younger students in terms of life experience and the fact that they have made sacrifices to commit to studying as a mature student.

I suspect many of the students similar to those you describe as being Bath students attend RG unis too. The original question relates to RG v nonRG rather than ex poly, leaving school v mature student.

Demeldark Fri 03-Aug-18 22:56:55

Great comments. I purposefully did not want to name the unis or the course, because that might automatically skew how you think of them. believe me i considered the reputation, course, facilities, employability, student satisfaction just for example Computer Science - Cardiff versus Surrey or Sussex. On paper Surrey seems much better, but Cardiff has a bigger name?

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Motheroffourdragons Fri 03-Aug-18 23:02:59

I'm not that bothered abut RG universities. One of mine had a choice between Southampton and Kent, and Kent came up way better in so many areas, that it was a no-brainer. Another went to Exeter pre RG days, and it was a funny graduation day where they were laughing about the fact that it was still the same uni as it was the day before.

For mine, it has all been about the courses they've been doing.

I'd definitely look at the courses they were doing and see where the best fit is.

CountFosco Sat 04-Aug-18 06:53:59

I suspect many of the students similar to those you describe as being Bath students attend RG unis too

The job lot of Bath CVs were the worst TBH because of just how uniform the CVs were. They all had exactly the same format which was probably recommended by the Uni and we received about 30 of them so it felt like the students themselves hadn't made an informed choice to apply, the university had sent them all to us. So I'm blaming the university for parenting the students too much. This was biological sciences BTW.

I do think it very much depends on the course and what the student wants to do afterwards. Some industries are more biased about the 'class' of university than others (I'm nearly 50 and yet still experience the Oxbridge bias when I mentioned I studied there, very useful with customers). Some courses are so outstanding (e.g. Teesside Computing courses) that the early history of the uni offering them makes no difference. So go for the best course you can manage but if not it is worth bearing in mind that an average course from an old research based university will still be rated higher than an average course from a newer university by the average recruiter.

Demeldark Sat 04-Aug-18 08:45:45

Please keep you’re comments coming, I’m still reading. As you can see my not wanting to mention any University name was to avoid people focusing on that, case in point ‘Bath’.

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Plural Sat 04-Aug-18 08:54:51

The thing is the universities do matter because it's individual. ImperiAl isn't Russel group but obviously fantastic. It's also dependent on course. There will be outstanding courses at non RG unis and she which are on a level. So naming the courses and unis would make a difference

JetsetJetlaggedJaded Sat 04-Aug-18 09:11:58

Imperial is a Russell Group, just FYI

JetsetJetlaggedJaded Sat 04-Aug-18 09:29:26

I've worked in student recruitment for a Russell Group and an ex-Poly and have qualifications from both too. In my experience I do think that a RG degree can help to open doors sometimes (- not to the extent of an Oxbridge degree -) but I honestly believe that the most important things, above university classification or ranking, are;

1) the content of the program - how flexible is it? How many elective subjects does it have or is it a very rigid structure? Is the student going to be able to choose modules that prepare them for the specific area they want to work in? What professional accreditations can the student earn throughout the degree and are they guaranteed for all graduates or does the student have to select specific modules / do extra study or work in order to earn these accreditations?

2) extra-curricular activities - as it's getting increasingly difficult to choose between graduates, what can the student do at university to make their CV and interview stand out? Eg. Can they do a semester or year abroad and is this guaranteed or difficult to arrange? Can they do internships? Does the university offer advice on entrepreneurship / start-ups and how accessible is this? Can the student do some research experience in the holidays if they think that they might want to go down the PhD route? What are the societies like? Volunteering opportunities? Sports?

3) where is the student most happy? What is their favourite location - can they afford to live comfortably in that place? (I had to work 25 hours a week on top of my RG bachelors degree study and would not recommend that to anyone) Do they want campus / city?

Ultimately if you get those things right, then the experience section of the CV will be so packed out that the name of the university will be less of a concern (- still important to aim for a 2:1 though, wherever they are)

LIZS Sat 04-Aug-18 09:36:39

Surrey has high satisfaction ratings and strong connections to business but is probably the most expensive area to live and suburban. Sussex campus is large but outside the city. There is no point going just on RG or not if the environment or course will not suit the individual.

Demeldark Sat 04-Aug-18 10:01:08

Liz - Thanks for you comments. Like I said, all other things being equal, so assume all the aforementioned have been okayed I.e environment, course, accommodation etc which one would you choose. The lower ranking RG or the higher ranking non RG?

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titchy Sat 04-Aug-18 10:06:42

But those things are never going to be exactly equal. One of them will be better for the particular subject than the other - I'd choose Surrey for science over Cardiff for instance, but the other way round for Arts.

CountFosco Sat 04-Aug-18 10:49:02

Can the student do some research experience in the holidays if they think that they might want to go down the PhD route?

Not just a PhD. I interview for Pharma and the students from universities who offer the most opportunity to do extended work in a lab are always the best to interview because you can get a much better idea of how good a scientist they'll. Some can chat away for ages around the subject, some say 'eh, there was a colour change but I can't remember what colour it changed to'.

BubblesBuddy Sat 04-Aug-18 10:49:47

If it’s an Arts subject, definitely RG. This is where university might count more than subject. These students don’t just walk into good jobs and there is more of a pecking order of university and subjects. I totally agree with all the extra things a young person can do to enhance their cv. I am also aghast that an employer doesn’t recognise the years of commitment and talent that it takes to play a musical instrument to a high grade. Often tuition is provided quite cheaply or even for free in some schools. It’s not good enough that an employer doesn’t recognise that this is a great achievement by a young person.

For sciences, there is more choice because so many grads will be employable in shortage areas, although not sure if CS is one. Therefore to enhance a cv I would certainly look for availability of a year abroad or sandwich year. Employer links too and the overall standing of the university for that department and in the field of science and engineering. Not just the course. If it’s computer science, then are they teaching what employers want?

Student satisfaction is not worth much. Students cannot compare other universities. They just like what they know and hardly any respond anyway. Some of the best universities don’t score that highly on this count. Ditto teaching but the best universities don’t hand hold either. As for the three universities mentioned, not much difference in my view. So Brighton, Guildford or Cardiff? Whichever floats your boat. Are all entry requirements the same? The highest tariff might get the best students?

Piggywaspushed Sat 04-Aug-18 10:58:01

I think, in all honesty, most employers have an idea of 'good university' and don't encessarily know about/apply Russell Group. they might even assume some unis (eg Bath) are Russell Group when they aren't.

I'd be looking at a more generalised idea of calibre of uni/ course offered and Times or Guardian subject league tables, especially student satisfaction. For example, Huddersfield has a brilliant reputation for music.

Demeldark Sat 04-Aug-18 11:26:27

Bubbles - I think that’s a very good point you made about the Arts. A good RG would be quite important. I think the point the poster was making about music was that all the applications were uniform in what they offered so it was difficult to pick out anything outstanding or any uniqueness in what the applicants offered.

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Demeldark Sat 04-Aug-18 11:33:35

Pigggy - I often wonder on MN, wether employers have a list of RG Unis stuck to their desk or an RG spreadsheet (as it were), they enter the uni name into and comes back with ‘nil points’ if you put in a non RG grin.

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whattimeislove Sat 04-Aug-18 11:36:15

I don't even know which universities are RG - when was this established? Either before my time or I'm really unobservant

sporadicrains Sat 04-Aug-18 11:53:43

The only people who actually care about whether a qualification is from a RG uni or not are the people who went to one themselves IMO.

boys3 Sat 04-Aug-18 12:34:46

If applying half a dozen years back would, all other things being equal, you have discounted Durham, Exeter, or York? Given pre 2012 none of these were RG universities?

Demeldark Sat 04-Aug-18 12:50:15

But the point is I am not discounting non RG unis. I am more than aware of the fantastic non RG unis out there. I'm trying to get an idea of how other people would choose, faced with lower ranked RG v a higher ranked non RG. I gave the example of Surrey and Cardiff or Queen Mary even. I'm not looking at the heady heights of Bath, Loughborough because that's a no brainer.

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