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    (Original post by bayernmunich)
    Edinburgh is a great university with hundreds of years of prestige under its belt. Due to EU and Scottish students not paying fees, the university tends to be quite lenient with international admissions with the exception of medicine. Every one I know who applied for my course international or not got a minimum AAA offer. It varies from subject to subject. Humanities subjects tend to have lower offers for international students, but the fact of the matter is it's pretty freaking rare to find someone who hasn't had straight As at Edinburgh. It's way more competitive to get into domestically and the fact that it has lower entry requirements may skew your perception of its quality. Edinburgh is one of the top universities in the UK and the world. Imperial, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, MIT etc are the absolute best and universities like Edinburgh, St Andrews, UCL, Princeton etc. follow in after. International rankings tend to favour larger universities with a wider range of subjects and domestic rankings are a bunch of bull****. All employers recognise Edinburgh as a world class institution. Internationals tend to favour the likes of Warwick and Kings etc. more as they are in England and closer to larger international communities as well as perceived competitiveness due to higher offers. Eastern internationals especially favour universities near London, Birmingham and Manchester.
    Swap Imperial out and put in Princeton, seriously Imperial is a bit overrated, it only has 15 Nobels and not that many famous alumni, people are mentioning it in the same breath as MIT. Princeton is obviously up there HYPSM. It doesn't get as much recognition because of its primary undergraduate focus, but it doesn't mean its not top.
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    Duke and Brown are virtually the same size (at the undergraduate level) and Duke is as highly regarded as Penn so if Edinburgh is in the same league as Duke, it is also in the same league as Penn. I just don't feel like that is really the case. The American schools are better endowed, produce significantly larger quantities of research, and give their students access to opportunities that Edinburgh could not even dream of being able to provide. Don't get me wrong. Edinburgh is a great school with a proud tradition. It just doesn't have the money to compete with schools that have $4.5 billion dollar budgets and $9 billion endowments!
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    I completely agree with you as far as Imperial is concerned! Very, very overrated. All these publications that come up with the rankings appear to have a strong British bias.
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    Quick statistical comparison of Duke, Penn, and Edinburgh:

    No. of undergrads: Edinburgh = 21,369
    Duke = 6,495
    Penn = 10,301

    Endowment: E = $446 million
    D = $7,000 million (+ $1,100 million from an independent endowment)
    P = $9,600 million

    Acceptance rate: E = 37.3%
    D = 10.8%
    P = 10.0%

    Reuters Highly Cited Faculty Members: E = 6
    D = 32
    P = 17

    Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty (last 5 years): E = 1 (emeritus professor)
    D = 1
    P = 0
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    (Original post by jonsnow123)
    Quick statistical comparison of Duke, Penn, and Edinburgh:

    No. of undergrads: Edinburgh = 21,369
    Duke = 6,495
    Penn = 10,301

    Endowment: E = $446 million
    D = $7,000 million (+ $1,100 million from an independent endowment)
    P = $9,600 million

    Acceptance rate: E = 37.3%
    D = 10.8%
    P = 10.0%

    Reuters Highly Cited Faculty Members: E = 6
    D = 32
    P = 17

    Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty (last 5 years): E = 1 (emeritus professor)
    D = 1
    P = 0
    Ok you absolutely can't compare acceptance rate because it doesn't work like that in the UK.

    I know for a fact that Duke, Princeton all these universities send messages to SAT takers to encourage them to apply even though they know these people have no hope of getting in. All of this is to reduce their acceptance rate to make their schools look competitive. They'll send a message to anyone with over a 2000 SAT even though the only way you'd be getting into princeton with a 2000 SAT is if you also happened to have a lot of hooks. Another thing is that in the UK students are restricted to applying to 5 unis, 4 for medicine. This increases acceptance rate because in the US people apply wildly to universities they have no hope of getting into. I know people who applied to Harvard with an 1800 SAT and average grades, they were wishing for a miracle clearly. You can't do that in the UK, you have to choose your choices strategically.

    Endowment is different once again because both Duke and Princeton are Private, if they had no money in their endowment they would cease to function as universities. Edinburgh on the other hand receives income from the UK government for each student, receives tuition from each student and receives all its research funding from the UK funding councils. So its endowment is like its pocket change for new buildings etc.

    Comparing US to UK endowment is like comparing one person's life savings to another person's disposable income.

    Number of undergrads - Edinburgh does have more undergrads, it does make Edinburgh seem less competitive, this is true.

    This is why its difficult to compare UK and US unis, because of so many contextual factors from each country. I could literally hold Edinburgh's age over every US university, but that is mainly because of the UK's longer history for example.

    I think the fact remains that Edinburgh is one of the UK's best universities, which means it is in the same league as the best US universities like Penn, Duke, Cornell, Chicago, UCLA etc.

    You said Edinburgh has gotten 1 nobel in the last 5 years (admittedly you said faculty but I would argue that Post. Doc could be considered faculty), actually that isn't really true. Even if you said faculty it is a easy distortion, why not include all affiliations? I listed them here.

    Robert G. Edwards - PhD at Edinburgh - Medicine - 2010
    Peter Higgs - Prof. Edinburgh - Physics - 2013
    Randy Schekman - Exchange student at Edinburgh - Medicine - 2013
    May Britt Moser - Post. Doc at Edinburgh - Medicine - 2014
    Edvard Moser - Post. Doc at Edinburgh - Medicine - 2014

    Regarding the highly cited researchers, i've never heard of that before but considering how many nobels Edinburgh has won quite recently, I don't seem very concerned. We still have Adrian P. Bird (nobel prize potential but ended up going to Randy Schekman, Thomas Sudhof + others), Ian Wilmut (dolly the sheep) on staff

    If you want to compare a university's reputation compare like for like. The UK Supreme Court was founded only very recently and already 3 justices have been trained at Edinburgh Law School. Edinburgh has also trained 3 British Prime Ministers and countless foreign equivalents, which clearly indicates a successful university.
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    (Original post by jonsnow123)
    Quick statistical comparison of Duke, Penn, and Edinburgh:

    No. of undergrads: Edinburgh = 21,369
    Duke = 6,495
    Penn = 10,301

    Endowment: E = $446 million
    D = $7,000 million (+ $1,100 million from an independent endowment)
    P = $9,600 million

    Acceptance rate: E = 37.3%
    D = 10.8%
    P = 10.0%

    Reuters Highly Cited Faculty Members: E = 6
    D = 32
    P = 17

    Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty (last 5 years): E = 1 (emeritus professor)
    D = 1
    P = 0
    People have already discussed why admissions statistics don't really apply to how good Edinburgh is. You only get 5 slots on UCAS whereas in the US you can apply to as many as you like... Plus at Edinburgh you apply to a course, my course has about 20% accepted, some have as little as 8% or as great as 45%. You can't really compare that to US unis. So yeah, not really comparable. Some random no-name liberal arts colleges have lower general admissions statistics than Edinburgh, but I would certainly argue that Edinburgh could be considered better than them.

    Plus, endowment doesn't show how good a university is. If anything, if Brown has such a large endowment why is it so (comparatively) low in international rankings and being consistently smashed by UK unis with lower endowments? UK universities always have far smaller endowments yet it doesn't seem to make their rankings worse. Okorange has discussed above why comparing endowments is a problem. Lots of US universities have massively higher endowments than a whole bucnh of UK universities combined, so why aren't they beating them in rankings? Obviously, an endowment doesn't show how good a university is.

    Say what you like, I would definitely put Edinburgh on par with Duke, possibly Brown but maybe a bit better depending of what you value in a uni. It is so hard to compare US and UK universities when their admissions, courses, culture and funding is so different.
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    ^ I would humbly submit that you're not at all well versed with American universities. First up, Duke is a far superior research institution than Brown is. It has a much larger endowment and produces significantly more high quality publications. Second, most of the international rankings are published by British publications which have an innate bias (they survey more academics from commonwealth countries for instance). Third, most international rankings rely on the Nobel Prize as an adequate indicator of scientific merit. This is absurd because less than 0.1% of an institution's faculty is even in contention for such an award. It does not testify to the quality of the faculty on average. Furthermore, there is an incredible time lag between scientific discovery and the awarding of a Nobel. Schools with several winners decades ago are still reaping the benefits of those awards even though they are mediocre research institutions today.
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    (Original post by jonsnow123)
    ^ I would humbly submit that you're not at all well versed with American universities. First up, Duke is a far superior research institution than Brown is. It has a much larger endowment and produces significantly more high quality publications. Second, most of the international rankings are published by British publications which have an innate bias (they survey more academics from commonwealth countries for instance). Third, most international rankings rely on the Nobel Prize as an adequate indicator of scientific merit. This is absurd because less than 0.1% of an institution's faculty is even in contention for such an award. It does not testify to the quality of the faculty on average. Furthermore, there is an incredible time lag between scientific discovery and the awarding of a Nobel. Schools with several winners decades ago are still reaping the benefits of those awards even though they are mediocre research institutions today.
    While there is a lag time there is no doubt that it does not mean a school is now mediocre. It has nothing to do with how mediocre a school is today. Sure a win in a nobel today means research done 10-20 years ago or more but that does not mean that research done today is not worthy of a nobel prize 10-20 years down the line. Its interesting to note that you tried to discredit Edinburgh using Nobel Prizes, but then as soon as I discredited your claim by pulling up a list of Edinburgh's recent nobel's you try to throw away the value of nobel prizes by calling them relics of an old uni.

    I highly doubt there is a British bias considering how well US unis do, maybe with QS but certainly not with ARWU and THE. Also, considering how its only ARWU that uses Nobels as a factor and ARWU heavily ranks US institutions ahead of British ones you are making a pretty contradictory claim.

    Duke is a good school but Brown is also a top school for undergrad, it is more competitive than Duke for undergrad. Duke may be a better research institution than Brown but its also a better research institution than Princeton which has no med law or business school and a rarely hear the Duke>Princeton argument being made.

    I'm interested to know, have you gone to Duke before?
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    Something I have noticed in Edinburgh is a lot of people have gained admission to the course with what is considered low A-level results. This is because English students are able to get access to the university through the Scottish entry route, much lower grades are asked of A-level students via this route as it is a sort of foundation year (designed for 17-year-old scots) that is mischievously not called a foundation year. That's why the courses are an extra year here in Scotland when compared to the equivalent English uni degree. I feel like a chunk of these academically unqualified kiddos are not fit for the demands of the uni come the 2nd year (aka English uni 1st year).... which drives down the satisfaction.

    This is obviously only a contributing factor
 
 
 
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