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Prestige of St Andrews

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    As an American, I am still trying to ascertain the quality of St Andrews. It is not too well known in America, where the only UK colleges we typically know about are Oxford, Cambridge, and perhaps LSE.

    I know about the league tables, but I am interested in YOUR opinion. Is it considered a VERY prestigious school, a SOMEWHAT prestigious school, or just a DECENT school. I know it is not Oxford or Cambridge, but is it close?

    By the way, if my son attends there, it would be for international relations.
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    Well unfortunately I think there is a massive gap in this country in the prestige and reputation between Oxford and Cambridge and the rest of the top 10. I think St Andrews has got itself a name that is comparable to UCL, Imperial, LSE, etc - all good solid universities. But in the UK, at least in my opinion, the only universities that are really 'WOW' are Oxford and Cambridge. Now I don't believe this should be the case as your teaching and job prospects are probably pretty similar at all of the top 10, but the fact that everyone does almost idealise these two institutions with their tough entrance interviews (with even UCAS doing the same as you can only apply to one of them) means that St Andrews will never have the reputation of them. In fact none of the top 10 will. Nonetheless it is a 'good' university. Everyone will have their own opinion on the matter but mine is Oxbridge, take a step down, rest of the top ten, take a step down, the rest. I think many 16-18 year old Oxbridge applicants may well agree with me (because of all the hype they get). But like I say job prospects and teaching are probably similar except perhaps for top magic circle law firms and big investment banks who may only recruit from Oxbridge. As for the reputation of IR as a specific subject I don't know as I don't look at subject reputations. Despite all this I hold an offer from St Andrews that I will most likely be choosing and it seems a fantastic place to be .
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    Course wise, I'd say St. Andrews has arguably the best IR course in the country. Oxford/Cambridge have similar courses (PPE/SPS) but they aren't the same. As for the general prestige of the university, I'd agree with everything Kingbradley6 has said above.
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    Perhaps, if "prestige" is an overwhelming concern, you should stick with the Ivies and other well-established universities in the US? If program strength, faculty qualification, academic environment, etc. are concerns, the league tables can provide some information for the UK schools. As far as I know, there hasn't been a study comparing the "prestige/reputation" of UK universities with US universities. Choose a program that has the best program for which the STUDENT is qualified. Don't pick a school solely for the prestige factor. Outside of parental bragging rights at cocktail parties, it usually ends badly.
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    (Original post by megb)
    Perhaps, if "prestige" is an overwhelming concern, you should stick with the Ivies and other well-established universities in the US? If program strength, faculty qualification, academic environment, etc. are concerns, the league tables can provide some information for the UK schools. As far as I know, there hasn't been a study comparing the "prestige/reputation" of UK universities with US universities. Choose a program that has the best program for which the STUDENT is qualified. Don't pick a school solely for the prestige factor. Outside of parental bragging rights at cocktail parties, it usually ends badly.


    Megb:

    Thanks for the response. I would be interested in YOUR impression of St Andrews, if you have one. Let me clarify my prior post. I am not neccesarily looking for the MOST prestigious school for my kid. In fact, based upon what I know about St Andrews, I think it would be a great fit.

    I just need to know whether the school is SUFFICIENTLY prestigious. My kid has top stats, and I don't want him to go to a school where he might perhaps be over-qualified. As an American who is unfamiliar with schools in the UK, other than Oxford, Cambridge, and LSE, I am looking for an approximate guestimate of which American schools it might be on a par with.

    I posted a similar message about a month ago, and it would appear from the responses I got back then that St Andrews is on a level somewhat akin to a Boston College, a Georgetown, or a Tufts.

    But as we get closer to the April 1 decision date, which is the date that most top colleges in the US inform students of acceptances and rejections, I am trying to nail down this issue further. For example, let's say my kid ultimately got into a Johns Hopkins or a University of Chicago. I probably wouldn't want him accepting a spot at St Andrews in such a situation unless I was sure that St Andrews was at least in the same ballpark.

    Just trying to help him make a fully informed decision.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    As an American, I am still trying to ascertain the quality of St Andrews. It is not too well known in America, where the only UK colleges we typically know about are Oxford, Cambridge, and perhaps LSE.

    I know about the league tables, but I am interested in YOUR opinion. Is it considered a VERY prestigious school, a SOMEWHAT prestigious school, or just a DECENT school. I know it is not Oxford or Cambridge, but is it close?

    By the way, if my son attends there, it would be for international relations.
    I don't really know much about American universities, except for the obvious cohort. My feeling is that St Andrews is regarded as 'very prestigious' particularly in the UK. In the UK, Oxford and Cambridge are in their own world, then you have LSE and Imperical, then UCL, Warwick and St Andrews make up the 'very prestigious/strong universities' in the eyes of the general public. I'm not sure how St Andrews is viewed abroad, but I'd say that in America, its well respected amongst the educated.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    Megb:

    Thanks for the response. I would be interested in YOUR impression of St Andrews, if you have one. Let me clarify my prior post. I am not neccesarily looking for the MOST prestigious school for my kid. In fact, based upon what I know about St Andrews, I think it would be a great fit.

    I just need to know whether the school is SUFFICIENTLY prestigious. My kid has top stats, and I don't want him to go to a school where he might perhaps be over-qualified. As an American who is unfamiliar with schools in the UK, other than Oxford, Cambridge, and LSE, I am looking for an approximate guestimate of which American schools it might be on a par with.

    I posted a similar message about a month ago, and it would appear from the responses I got back then that St Andrews is on a level somewhat akin to a Boston College, a Georgetown, or a Tufts.

    But as we get closer to the April 1 decision date, which is the date that most top colleges in the US inform students of acceptances and rejections, I am trying to nail down this issue further. For example, let's say my kid ultimately got into a Johns Hopkins or a University of Chicago. I probably wouldn't want him accepting a spot at St Andrews in such a situation unless I was sure that St Andrews was at least in the same ballpark.

    Just trying to help him make a fully informed decision.
    I am a US student, who is probably going to St Andrews for a Msc. In fact I have been talking to a lot of people around here ( I am in a very good school ) and they are all familiar with St Andrews and regard it as very prestigious. In fact I would say that in the people who know the name and the university, St Andrews stands far above BU... And of course You can ertainly get different opinions from different people. But for me, if I ask 5 people if they heard about St Andrews and four of them say that they dont have any idea what I am talking about and then the other one says it is a very prestigious school, I would trust him given the fact that the first four work at Mcdonalds and the last one has a PHD in Economics. I guess the point I am trying to make is .. prestige is a very subjective thing. Yes, everybody and my hairstyist has heard of Harvard, MIT and Oxford.. but do I really care particulary about him.. Not really
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    As an American, I am still trying to ascertain the quality of St Andrews. It is not too well known in America, where the only UK colleges we typically know about are Oxford, Cambridge, and perhaps LSE.

    I know about the league tables, but I am interested in YOUR opinion. Is it considered a VERY prestigious school, a SOMEWHAT prestigious school, or just a DECENT school. I know it is not Oxford or Cambridge, but is it close?

    By the way, if my son attends there, it would be for international relations.
    First of all if you're American you should be aware that the Uni system here (the UK) is very different from the US. We have far less classes (especially in Arts, less so in science) and are expected to do far more self study. Final year students in some Arts subjects have as few as 3 hours class a week, but are expected to be reading for over 30hours a week of material and doing tons of coursework/

    For IR it's safe to say St Andrews is the best in the UK and one of the world leaders. As an overall uni it's considered to be the same level as the Durham, LSE etc and a bit lower than oxbridge.

    St Andrew's reputation does comes heavily from its teaching, whereas most world league tables focus on quality and quantity of research. We generate high quality research but being a very small uni not a relatively huge amount of it thus why we often don't appear high on international league tables.

    St Andrews also has lots of American students, something like 10% of all students.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    My kid has top stats, and I don't want him to go to a school where he might perhaps be over-qualified.
    He won't be over-qualified at St. Andrews.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    As an American, I am still trying to ascertain the quality of St Andrews. It is not too well known in America, where the only UK colleges we typically know about are Oxford, Cambridge, and perhaps LSE.

    I know about the league tables, but I am interested in YOUR opinion. Is it considered a VERY prestigious school, a SOMEWHAT prestigious school, or just a DECENT school. I know it is not Oxford or Cambridge, but is it close?

    By the way, if my son attends there, it would be for international relations.
    for IR, it's fairly world class - and is likely to remain so as the current principle is a prof of IR. I've heard that the course is difficult and very competitive since the class size is like 800
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    Well St Andrews is the 3rd oldest University in the english speaking world! 1st in Scotland, top 20 in the world for arts and humanities. Three of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence attended or received degrees from St Andrews.

    I'd say it's pretty prestigious!
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    (Original post by languagelover)
    Well St Andrews is the 3rd oldest University in the english speaking world! 1st in Scotland, top 20 in the world for arts and humanities. Three of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence attended or received degrees from St Andrews.

    I'd say it's pretty prestigious!


    Language Lover: Just wondering what is the source for your statement that St Andrews is top 20 in the world for arts and humanities. I think my son would be interested in seeing that information, given that arts and humanities are more to his liking than science and math.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    Language Lover: Just wondering what is the source for your statement that St Andrews is top 20 in the world for arts and humanities. I think my son would be interested in seeing that information, given that arts and humanities are more to his liking than science and math.
    It's from THE World University Rankings 2010 (done by The Times newspaper), and is in my St Andrews university prospectus. You can order them here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/admissions/ug/prospectus/
    2011 THE Rankings it is 24th
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...umanities.html

    However it's ranked as 85th overall (I think partly due to the fact that it's a small university)
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...2/top-400.html

    In the UK according to the Times Good University Guide it is 6th beaten by Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and UCL, 86.7 % gaining "good honours" and 83 % student satisfaction (Cambridge has 84%). (Can't show you the stats because you need an account)

    Guardian league tables ( a well respected newspaper) it is 3rd in the UK, 1st in Scotland. Although these rankings do not include research.

    http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ables/rankings St Andrews is 6th in the UK, 1st in Scotland

    Hope that helps!

    EDIT: According to THE stats, Boston College is 195th and Georgetown is 138th and Tuffs is 77th
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    (Original post by languagelover)
    It's from THE World University Rankings 2010 (done by The Times newspaper), and is in my St Andrews university prospectus. You can order them here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/admissions/ug/prospectus/
    2011 THE Rankings it is 24th
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...umanities.html

    However it's ranked as 85th overall (I think partly due to the fact that it's a small university)
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...2/top-400.html

    In the UK according to the Times Good University Guide it is 6th beaten by Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial and UCL, 86.7 % gaining "good honours" and 83 % student satisfaction (Cambridge has 84%). (Can't show you the stats because you need an account)


    Guardian league tables ( a well respected newspaper) it is 3rd in the UK, 1st in Scotland. Although these rankings do not include research.

    http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...ables/rankings St Andrews is 6th in the UK, 1st in Scotland

    Hope that helps!

    EDIT: According to THE stats, Boston College is 195th and Georgetown is 138th and Tuffs is 77th

    Language Lover:

    Thanks. And I agree that St Andrews' relatively small size may be the reason for its relatively low overall World Ranking. In America, I have seen that Dartmouth and Emory are not ranked high in the World Rankings. It is hard for such schools to compete in the rankings with gigantic universities, especially if the criteria used to determine the rankings (money spent on research, size of libraries, and stuff like that) are criteria that tend to favor big universities. For example, in the Forbes Rankings, smaller colleges are ranked much higher than you usually might see, because Forbes uses criteria (such as small class size) that tend to favor smaller colleges.
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    (Original post by floridadad55)
    Megb:

    Thanks for the response. I would be interested in YOUR impression of St Andrews, if you have one. Let me clarify my prior post. I am not neccesarily looking for the MOST prestigious school for my kid. In fact, based upon what I know about St Andrews, I think it would be a great fit.

    I just need to know whether the school is SUFFICIENTLY prestigious. My kid has top stats, and I don't want him to go to a school where he might perhaps be over-qualified. As an American who is unfamiliar with schools in the UK, other than Oxford, Cambridge, and LSE, I am looking for an approximate guestimate of which American schools it might be on a par with.

    I posted a similar message about a month ago, and it would appear from the responses I got back then that St Andrews is on a level somewhat akin to a Boston College, a Georgetown, or a Tufts.

    But as we get closer to the April 1 decision date, which is the date that most top colleges in the US inform students of acceptances and rejections, I am trying to nail down this issue further. For example, let's say my kid ultimately got into a Johns Hopkins or a University of Chicago. I probably wouldn't want him accepting a spot at St Andrews in such a situation unless I was sure that St Andrews was at least in the same ballpark.

    Just trying to help him make a fully informed decision.
    St. Andrews is definitely in the same ballpark as Johns Hopkins and UofC. If you wouldn't mind could you release his stats i.e: SAT, SAT II scores.
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    (Original post by ukmed108)
    St. Andrews is definitely in the same ballpark as Johns Hopkins and UofC. If you wouldn't mind could you release his stats i.e: SAT, SAT II scores.
    May I know how and why did you categorise St Andrews with John Hopkins and UofC? As far as I know, the 2 American universities are large, have huge endowments and offer more research opportunities for undergraduates. Therefore I'm more interested to know the similarities they have with St Andrews. Thanks!
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    (Original post by ukmed108)
    St. Andrews is definitely in the same ballpark as Johns Hopkins and UofC. If you wouldn't mind could you release his stats i.e: SAT, SAT II scores.

    Not sure I am "authorized" by him to "release" his exact SAT scores to the world, but suffice to say, they were very very high.

    While I understand that it is somewhat easier for some Americans to get into St Andrews, because they pay full freight, at least with respect to him, he earned his spot.
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    Has your son visited St Andrews? It helped me quite a lot. In terms of prestige - most of the big firms go to St A to recruit. I think that's a important thing to remember. The career centre is really helpful too. They don't say that just a degree from St Andrews will get you everywhere, but they do try to help you to achieve your goals - at least that's the impression I got. (I'm not a current student yet)
    After all it's your skills and networking that will get you somewhere rather than the name of the university itself.
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    Agreed with the above post. It is critical that your son visit every and any school he is considering. I assume he has already made his decision, since decision day is May 1st in most places. I insisted that my daughter visit St. A's before making a final decision. In her case, it solidified her decision to attend St. A's, but she has friends who visited and decided that is wasn't a good fit. I can't imagine more disparate schools than UCLA and St. A's. A $3k trip to Scotland is a small hedge against a 160k investment, yes?
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    Getting an offer from St Andrews is a very tough and competitive process, simply because it is considered among the best in Britain. Why else would Prince William (the future king) go there? Surely he values prestige and reputation.
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