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    (Original post by JollyGreenAtheist)
    This is really quite a daft debate. Prestige is an abstract concept that exists in the heads of 17 and 18 year olds who can tell their friends "My university placed 3rd for student satisfaction, and my department's research was ranked 8th in the whole country. What accolades does yours have?" to give themselves a warm buzz of superiority.

    It's common sense that a degree from Oxford will entail greater academic rigour than East London, but the existence of rankings themselves is quite redundant.

    There is so little separating top 3-25, 26-50 and 50+ that ranking them demonstrates nothing. It would be a hell of a lot easier to rank universities as such:

    Amazing - Kudos, you're very clever.
    Good - Fair play, you're in a strong working environment and you're pursuing something you enjoy
    Sub-average - Wouldn't that apprenticeship have made more sense?
    You think there is little separating Imperial College (#3) from places like Sheffield and Birmingham? Ok

    Firstly it depends which career area you are interested in:

    Law- definitely matters- Oxford leads the way, followed by Cambridge and then maybe Bristol/UCL/Durham.

    Investment Banking- definitely matters- Oxbridge, LSE, Imperial and Warwick usually dominate this.

    Technology- Imperial and Cambridge (and to a slightly lesser extent Oxford) are the target schools for the highly-paid tech jobs (hedge funds etc).

    Engineering (BAE, Rolls Royce etc)- Imperial, Cambridge, Oxford and Southampton are the main target schools for engineering.

    Teaching- doesn't really matter

    Civil Service (not the above areas)- doesn't really matter

    Armed Forces- doesn't really matter

    If anyone wants advice on a particular career post it here and i'll edit this list.

    (Original post by russellsteapot)
    As someone who spent a long time in various positions relating to hiring and placing staff, I'm pretty sure that 95% of employers don't care about university rankings. The 5% tend to be specialist graduate recruiters or academic employers looking for very specific things, or operate a bit of an old boys' network. The rest will probably have heard of Oxbridge plus a handful of universities they've had direct experience of. They have better things to do than worry about whether Bath is ranked above Bristol. Even proper 'graduate' schemes seem to take a very relaxed view. My brother got onto a graduate scheme at PWC with a low 2:1 in sociology from Brighton. He qualified as a chartered accountant a couple of years ago and seems to be coping rather well.

    I think even those employers who do look at apparent prestige do so with a pinch of salt. There's so much in the relative 'prestige' of an institution that is truly irrelevant to your education, it surprises me how it's even factored in. Research, for example. How does the quality of research carried out at your university really affect the education you receive unless you're a researcher yourself? The fact that my lecturer is doing some very expensive and important research for someone doesn't mean he's any better at explaining basic theory (completely unrelated to his research, which it'd take you 10 years to understand) to undergraduate students. If anything, I tend to find that those academics heavily involved in research are far more interested in research than teaching. Research quality only realistically becomes relevant in 99% of departments during postgraduate study, when you become a researcher yourself.

    Entry grades are used for rankings too. Does the fact that an institution requires AAA automatically mean the teaching is better or that students will be better employees? No. Your A levels are a decent basic measure of pre-adulthood intelligence in an academic setting but that's it. You can't define the quality of education at a university based on the grades someone achieved elsewhere. Does a poll of academics' personal preferences (used in most ranking systems) mean anything? Considering that polls of academics have often managed to rank non-existent departments quite highly (for example, Princeton law school achieved a 7th place finish in the mid-2000s, despite Princeton not having a law school), this is probably irrelevant too.

    Rankings and 'prestige' perception measures what can be measured, not what is relevant. And the relevant stuff can't be measured.

    The overwhelming majority of employers (rightly) employ the candidate, not the institution.
    You are correct- 95% of employers don't care. However, the other 5% are usually where the high salaries are.

    Prestige is easily measured- you simply take the average entry requirements per university. A Levels are standardised so this gives a good indicator.

    So yes, if you want a job with your local council, or become a teacher, or a nurse etc etc then university ranking means bugger all. However, if you want to be earning more than £60k by the time you are 28 then university will matter.

    Also, it is true university matters less and experience matters more the older you get.

    (Original post by Meat is Murder)
    The employment statistics for those at Cambridge who do Classics is terrible, so your point is actually invalid. An engineer from Aston for example will fair better in the real world than the classicist from Oxbridge.

    For lols I will point out that I actually do Classics
    It's probably fair to say most who do Classics at Cambridge aren't in a massive hurry to gain employment afterwards.... so the statistics are a little distorted.

    How about Cambridge Engineers v.s. Aston Engineers?

    1. London Met.

    (Original post by jnkesd)
    Okay so just put your personal ranking of the top 10 UK universities based on which you believe to be most prestigious. Here's my ranking:

    1. University of Oxford
    2. University of Cambridge
    3. University College London
    4. Imperial College London
    5. London School of Economics
    6. University of St. Andrews
    7. King's College London
    8. University of Edinburgh
    9. University of Manchester
    10. University of Glasgow
    It doesn't do any harm at all to start a discussion on this. Some people come from backgrounds where they think that all universities are equal. This isn't the case and never has been. Some universities are much more difficult to get into than others. There is no point in trying to make out that this isn't the case. If you go to a university that is easier than others to get into you can't really expect it to be viewed the same way as one that is extremely difficult to get into.
    For some people this list could be extremely useful. Not everyone comes from the kind of family background or has help from school to be able to rank the difference between Westminster University, and University of West London compared to for example London University with its several colleges. They are all in the same city but the difference in academic standards between them is huge.
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