No of course not, although I suppose it can be argued that if a large number of people have similar views about the prestige of an institution that is a more likely to be an opinion worth taking notice of. However at least there are league tables these days which give a very vague justification to subjective opinion. I was taking issue with the OP for saying totally subjective things such as the reputation of a former teacher training college is declining, which is even more nonsensical.
Why do people still subscribe to anachronistic notions of university prestige? Watch
- 24-03-2011 12:00
- 24-03-2011 12:03
if employers didn't employ people on the basis of the universities prestige (which they do) then maybe things would be different.
everyone wants to get the best possible job, no?
- 24-03-2011 12:08
It is hard to say that one university is better than another. It really differes for each individual. It´s more useful to compare university departments (e.g. Geography at uni X is better taught, funded, etc. than at uni Y).
However, this image of prestigedoes attract more studious, dedicated students, whether or not that image is true So being around (on average) a higher number of motivated, harder-working students will make you more likley to have those qualities yourself.Last edited by dannyking; 24-03-2011 at 12:10.
(Original post by notanumber)
- 24-03-2011 12:14
I was taking issue with the OP for saying totally subjective things such as the reputation of a former teacher training college is declining, which is even more nonsensical.
Why is it nonsensical? You might disagree and it is subjective, of course, but so is claiming that Oxford and Cambridge are the best or most presitigious universities in England.
However at least there are league tables these days which give a very vague justification to subjective opinion
There is only one university ranking table that is worthwhile: http://duckdensity.org.uk/uni_index?...ty&reverse=yes
- 24-03-2011 12:17
For want of any other decent method of differentiating things that are nigh on impossible to distinguish between in a learned, objective fashion in light of the information and experience at the hands of those that make such judgements.
(Original post by Good bloke)
- 24-03-2011 13:22
You don't really think that any expression of university prestige is anything other than subjective opinion, do you?
The only refutation of this would be to say that everything is then subjective. Do you think the mass of an electron is subjective?
The prestige of an electron is 9.10938215(45)×10^-31 kg
Electrons have less prestige than protons.
- 24-03-2011 13:31
In terms of university, it's a sort of vicious cycle; being prestigious leads to being prestigious.
Let's say Oxford and Cambridge are considered to be prestigious. This means that lots of the most academically capable people (both staff and students) will want to go there. The university's selection of candidates will then be more academically capable in general, and so they will only need to make offers to the very best people. Those people are then likely to accept those offers above offers from other universities, because of the prestige. By attracting the most academically capable people, Oxford and Cambridge go from being prestigious to being even more prestigious.
Because of this, I don't think the notion of university prestige is all that anachronistic, because it is in general something that universities will be very good at maintaining.
Plus, people don't necessarily just want to go to a university which is academically stronger; many just want to go to a university which is considered to be very academically strong. The average employer isn't going to say "Well the teaching standards of Oxford are down by two points this year, which means this candidate might be a bit less suitable for the job", he's going to think "This guy went to Oxford, so he must be pretty good to beat all that competition to get in. You're hired!". And the same goes for the way the average person on the street will perceive you when you tell them which university you go to.
True academic rigour and research quality may vary from year to year. If you went to some average university, nobody's going to remember that "The year this guy graduated, the teaching quality was a bit better than most other universities". The only thing that will really carry weight is the name, brand, and reputation of the university.Last edited by tazarooni89; 24-03-2011 at 13:40.
- 24-03-2011 13:36
It's just an inferiority complex. Unis that get a better reputation over many years simply are better. People should stop trying to equalise life.
(Original post by kat2pult)
- 24-03-2011 13:39
Older unis have had their courses tried and tested by hundreds/thousands of students beforehand. Even if the course layout or content is different, it's more foolproof. Ditto goes for the social life, accommodation, investment in the university/library etc over the years and years it's been in existence etc. Newer universities don't have these safety guards, and it's kind of like jumping in the deep end. I don't think it's all to do with prestige.
(Original post by Aexis)
- 24-03-2011 13:42
In my view, "prestige" is an anachronistic term that refers largely to social and historical status, rather than quality and merit. It's a static concept, compared with quality which is largely fluid depending on how much is invested into it.
Why do people still inadvertently subscribe to the notion that certain universities, due to their location and age are sealed in terms of their reputation and prestige? Even if they falter in academic quality or are overtaken by newer, less well-known institutions - they will still remain more "prestigious".
How is this concept logical? Why should arbitrary factors such as age and location trump quality and academic rigour?
Granted, a lot of older institutions based in large cities do have levels of prestigiousness that correspond with their academic quality. However, some have lagged behind newer institutions in terms of quality, yet still remain more prestigious in the eyes of society.
- 24-03-2011 13:45
Lets face it very few people can make an informed comparison between institutions and courses because they don't know much about the curriculum, quality of research, quality of teaching etc. The newspaper league tables don't shed much light either because institutions jump around from one year to the next and in any case people tend to just have their preconceived ideas and if a league table comes out which doesn't agree with it, they say it's a load of rubbish.
Everybody knows some universities have got a long standing high reputation and are hard to get in and that if you want to work in IB, or a magic circle law firm etc its best to have gone to Oxbridge or one of the big name London ones. But I have to laugh at TSR when you get all the threads - especially common on the Economics forum, along the lines of "which will get me a better starting salary/job prospects, Manchester or Nottingham" and then you will have furious debate amongst people who have never had a job in their lives.
Its a bit like posting on a forum of virgins saying "which sex technique goes down best with da ladies" and watching all the virgins argue about it.
- 24-03-2011 13:50
(Original post by notanumber)
- 24-03-2011 19:40
What a load of rubbish. How on earth have you come up with this list, apart from subjective opinion?
There were no league tables as such
so reputation wasn't as significant as it is now.
That is a non-sequitur. Reputation doesn't depend on the existence of league tables.
Certain universities like Oxford, Cambridge Durham etc were world -renowned and generally redbricks were considered better than others, but to say all these others have declined in reputation is absolute nonsense.
30 years ago, Buckingham had only just been founded,
Kent, Surrey and Sussex were only about 15 years old
Bishop Grossteste was a teacher training college.
and Thames Poly (now TVU) never had a good reputation.
TVU was formerly the Ealing Institute of Higher Education which had a very good reputation in doing degrees, particularly in professional subjects, at night school. You will find quite a number of successful senior lawyers and accountants in their 40s, 50s and 60s with Ealing degrees
Exeter and Nottingham have hardly got declining reputations either!!!
Essentially applications to Nottingham. not quite the same as prestige, peaked in 2003. You will note that I referred to Nottingham's position 10 years ago rather than 30 years ago. Their offers today, for a number of courses are lower than they would have been in 2003.