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    I want to study chemistry at uni, and am likely to get the grades to apply to the top ones. I have heard that universities such as bristol, bath, imperial and Southampton have very good reputations but the latest guardian league tables puts them fairly low for chemistry (around 20th) , should I just ignore the tables and go by reputation?

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    could take a look at other league tables i guess, don't base it solely on one set of tables, especially it being a slightly leftist newspaper
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    Some league tables work partly by reputation anyway, but in reality you shouldn't read too much into them, they have a lot of questionable methods (many factors are completely irrelevant to an undergraduate, or anyone else for that matter) and institutions swap places like they're playing musical chairs. They're alright for a rough guide but not much else. The league tables I found place Bristol, Southampton and Imperial in the top 10 for chemistry, which says much for how vague the tables are if they were 20th in the one you found. Indeed, on yet another table I found, Imperial is top 10 in the world for chemistry. You can probably find dozens of universities which are pretty much the same and could swap places on the tables every time a new one comes out for no other reason than method differences and league table manipulation.

    The places you mention are all good institutions, I'd suggest visiting and asking questions, trying to contact existing students and asking them about their experiences (the uni-specific forums are a good starting point, you can check any place you want) and looking at the course information to decide which one is best for you. Student satisfaction ratings can be handy, as can staff/student ratios (if you can find them) and resource spending, along with any details you can find about employment prospects (perhaps some employers prefer graduates from a certain place, but this is very rare). League tables should be taken as a very loose guidance but in reality they're pretty useless for accurately comparing universities.
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    Indeed, on yet another table I found, Imperial is top 10 in the world for chemistry.
    out of interest, which set of tables is this?
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    Cheers for the advice, think I'll ignore the tables and go by personal preference!

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    (Original post by scottylar)
    Cheers for the advice, think I'll ignore the tables and go by personal preference!

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    I think that's the best thing you can do, they're alright for a rough guide if nothing else.
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    (Original post by Acruzen)
    out of interest, which set of tables is this?
    QS World Rankings

    Has (probably) the worst ranking scheme of any system I've seen, but it places Imperial 10th.
 
 
 
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