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The bumper thread of University League Tables discussion - includes an info post

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    (Original post by tengil)
    As the topic. At which university in the world will i find the truly gifted people.

    The ones that are naturally intelligent and havent just studied their way to the top.

    I've got the impression that you find more of these people at the top colleges in the US since they tend do focus more on the applicants essay and extra curriculars than pure grades.

    What I'm basically asking is if it is equally likely to find these kinds of people in oxbridge as it is in the Ivies.
    No. The UK universities, unlike their US counter parts, do not offer places at university based on full sports scholarships. Whilst there are anomalous exceptions, e.g. the former New Zealand Rugby captain's admittance into Oxford, these cases are so exception that they aren't even worth noting. UK universities put all their emphasis on academic brilliance as well as suitability to the course. Oxbridge in particular focus on admitting highly gifted individuals who'll lead their subject area in future. This is the reason why many people achieve perfect grades yet fail the interview (in addition to the high applicants).

    So in short, there are likely to be a greater proportion of naturally gifted students at Oxbridge than Ivies as all get in through academic merit; moreover Oxbridge puts on emphasis specifically in admitting the exceptionally gifted.
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    (Original post by Henerz)
    Because if you juggle having a life with doing well at uni, you're clearly more intelligent/gifted than someone who studies constantly and gets the same grades.
    This is nonsense. Having good time-management is not the same as being academically brilliant. There are many highly intelligent individuals who do not possess good time management skills. Moreover, time management; the ability to juggle studying with sports; is a skill that can easily be acquired.
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    as of next year i would deffo say plymouth
    realistically though this is something that no one will ever know and any guesses will be purely guesses
    a lot of people are screwed by the UKs school system
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    (Original post by Henerz)
    Because if you juggle having a life with doing well at uni, you're clearly more intelligent/gifted than someone who studies constantly and gets the same grades.
    But what about the people who get the grades without studying constantly but don't bother doing ECs. They'd get into Oxbridge but not the Ivies. Intelligence is just intelligence- it doesn't matter if you're captain of the football team or not. And even the captain of the football team may still study for exams.
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    (Original post by Leto)
    But what about the people who get the grades without studying constantly but don't bother doing ECs. They'd get into Oxbridge but not the Ivies. Intelligence is just intelligence- it doesn't matter if you're captain of the football team or not. And even the captain of the football team may still study for exams.
    Indeed. And the people who can achieve a high standard without studying but choose to study to push themselves even further.
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    I think we can all agree: mine.
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    Ok so I was looking at the Guardian good uni guide and saw that RHUL and QMUL are really low in the list and unis like UEA and Surrey are much higher. Does this really mean that UEA and Surrey are better because it is much harder to get into the London unis.

    So basically are these rankings relevant?
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    well some of the rankings are a bit politically correct. the key thing is to get into a university with a good research reputation. now the good london colleges are ucl, imperial, lse. king's and soas are also good. for some things goldsmith's. royal holloway and queen mary are good, but not as good as the other colleges i've mentioned. for my money they are probably at about the same level as surrey and UEA.
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    (Original post by Redreynard)
    well some of the rankings are a bit politically correct. the key thing is to get into a university with a good research reputation. now the good london colleges are ucl, imperial, lse. king's and soas are also good. for some things goldsmith's. royal holloway and queen mary are good, but not as good as the other colleges i've mentioned. for my money they are probably at about the same level as surrey and UEA.
    So a first class English Lit degree from RHUL is the same as a first from Surrey? I dont know.

    Also what about unis in the South of England like Kent, Sussex, Southampton?
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    Rankings are fine if you just wanna get an idea of how well respected each uni is.
    Other than that it's more important to check the rankings per course..
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    I see. But its still confusing because I did think RHUL was good. Its part of UoL. It looks classy plus my mates there act as if its the coolest uni ever ha.

    But rankings change everything.
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    No they are the most important thing to know which university is best.
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    (Original post by starforsure)
    Ok so I was looking at the Guardian good uni guide and saw that RHUL and QMUL are really low in the list and unis like UEA and Surrey are much higher. Does this really mean that UEA and Surrey are better because it is much harder to get into the London unis.

    So basically are these rankings relevant?
    Yes and no. Take them all with a pinch of salt, but there's a grain of truth in them.

    It's probably best to take universities in bands. I'd say those unis were in the same band as Leeds, Liverpool and a few other red bricks, but behind Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh, etc, who in turn are behind UCL, Warwick, Durham, LSE and ICL, who are behind Oxbridge.

    There's no point nitpicking over which uni may or may not have a marginally better reputation than any other.

    In medicine rankings were completely useless. Guardian rankings are nothing like Times, they chance vastly from one year to the next and nobody cares where you studied anyway.
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    Does this really mean that UEA and Surrey are better because it is much harder to get into the London unis.
    Well, not necessarily, it's no more difficult to gain entry to Queen Mary, SOAS, even some UCL courses than it is to enter comparable courses at rebricks (eg. Manchester, Leeds).

    But just because a university is slightly more difficult to get into it does not make it better. It only makes it more popular.

    (Original post by starforsure)
    So basically are these rankings relevant?
    Get the Guardian ranking, the Times, The Indepedent and the THES rankings (there are plenty more) and notice the differences between them. You can use statistics to prove almost everything. This is all league tables are.

    You can play around with the weightings on the Independent table and get significantly different results.

    Many people will only like a league tables if it conforms to their already pre-conceived ideas of what's good. This is why the Guardian is often dismissed as its places ex-polytechnics above some Russell Group Universities. Whereas they'll cream over the Times because it has the "top" universities like Warwick, Durham and Bristol in the top ten.

    I don't particularly like aspects of the Guardian's ranking (eg. it's value added score) but this doesn't mean that I'm not aware of the faults of other league tables.

    (Original post by starforsure)
    So a first class English Lit degree from RHUL is the same as a first from Surrey? I dont know
    Simple answer: Yes.
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    They're not pointless at all. You can use it as a guide, but it is not very accurate.

    And don't look at the Guardian, it's quite stupid in my opinion. Bristol should not be 29th. I will not say anymore.
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    It's a bit weird, especially if they don't say how they ranked them. Sometimes, unis have plus points which aren't included in the rankings, and equally some of the higher ones have points that could drag them down.

    In a general way though, they are worth looking at when you apply. Maybe not hugely important if you're planning on going onto post grad, as you can always go to a better uni after your degree, but if all you're doing is under grad, then you should probably look into it
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    Oxbridge, obviously, though if we're talking about being naturally gifted then of course the top music, drama, art and dance colleges too. I don't have much knowledge of other unis and what their students are like but you're undoubtedly gonna find naturally gifted people all over the place at many different unis :yes:
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    The only two things you should look at are:

    The % of graduates from the specific course you are thinking of applying to that get a 1st or 2:1 : that should give you a rough idea of how good the course is at getting you up to a decent standard.

    The average grade intake in that course - simply to see if you have a shot of getting in. It tells you nothing else of any use about the institution.

    Even this should only be used to make a shortlist of 10-12 unis that you then think about applying to. The most important thing is whether you like the university when you visit, and whether the course covers topics that you are particularly interested in.

    Nothing else is relevent.
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    (Original post by Llamageddon)
    Yes and no. Take them all with a pinch of salt, but there's a grain of truth in them.

    It's probably best to take universities in bands. I'd say those unis were in the same band as Leeds, Liverpool and a few other red bricks, but behind Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh, etc, who in turn are behind UCL, Warwick, Durham, LSE and ICL, who are behind Oxbridge.

    There's no point nitpicking over which uni may or may not have a marginally better reputation than any other.

    In medicine rankings were completely useless. Guardian rankings are nothing like Times, they chance vastly from one year to the next and nobody cares where you studied anyway.
    There is absolutely no flaming way that Leeds and Liverpool are 'behind' Manchester and Nottingham, and so on. I've made numerous posts on here on this, but they go in one ear and out the other. They're large, serious and selective research intensive universities, all of them. The fact that some go through temporary peaks and troughs of fashionability is a complete non-issue. The quality of staff, facilities and course will be near-identical, and the vast majority of students will have the same grades. If it was 'better' to go to some of them now, does that mean the graduate from St Andrews twelve years ago has a degree that's worth less and the Liverpool degree worth more? Because St Andrews was ranked down with Kent in the 40s back then and asked for Bs and Cs to get in. It's a nonsense. From everything I've seen, employers and academics treat the next 30 or so behind Oxford, Cambridge, and some courses at Imperial and LSE as much the same- and there's a chunk of a couple of dozen that could lay a good claim to being top 10 in the UK. I know it can be hard for Durham students or somewhere else ranked 7th to accept that on the whole they wont have better prospects that Cardiff ranked 30somethingth- but that's the way it works- besides, anyone in their mid-30s, so still fairly young, picked university before league tables existed, and none of this mattered then.

    (Original post by starforsure)
    Ok so I was looking at the Guardian good uni guide and saw that RHUL and QMUL are really low in the list and unis like UEA and Surrey are much higher. Does this really mean that UEA and Surrey are better because it is much harder to get into the London unis.

    So basically are these rankings relevant?
    As for the difficulty of courses, see my post here: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...&postcount=154
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    (Original post by starforsure)
    Ok so I was looking at the Guardian good uni guide and saw that RHUL and QMUL are really low in the list and unis like UEA and Surrey are much higher. Does this really mean that UEA and Surrey are better because it is much harder to get into the London unis.

    So basically are these rankings relevant?
    The guardian is using a older system of measurements (and less factors) then the independent and the times, so my Durham professor says (probably because guardian gave Durham a lower ranking, so you understand his view)

    its quite useless due to fluctuations, but it is important because,

    employers MAY care,
    you MAY care, in forming your decision,
    a sense of pride/annoyance/frustration comes in if its up or down,

    world ranking tables are even more sketchy

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