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Why are polytechnic universitys seen as bad? Watch

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    Just wondered - it seems you get the same degree at the end of it?

    I have accepted a place for Neuroscience at a polytechnic university but hoping through adjustment I can get into a Russell Group one (Such as Leeds) but then I realised would this be any different to the degree I would be taking at the polytechnic?
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    Polytechnics werent originally universities, they were seen more as like, vocational colleges for students who didnt do well in A-Levels etc.

    Thats why their sort of looked down upon compared to original universities.

    I THINK
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    Technically they're ex-polys, but people look down on them because they haven't had as long to establish themselves as universities (hence why they tend to be lower in league tables compared to their "more prestigious" counterparts e.g. MMU and UoM) and don't generally have as much money to spend on facilities and research etc. It's generally just ignorance though, you're still getting a degree at the end and if you get a 2.1 or above graduate vacancies are still open to you.
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    I think "bad" may be taking it too far. "Less good" is probably closer to the mark.

    However, it is very important to realise that you are not getting the same degree. Unlike at A Level, each university sets its own syllabus and writes its own exams. Often the options available will be based on the research interests of the teaching staff.

    Ex-polys are seen as being less good for several reasons
    - they're newer, and as a society we tend to value things that are older
    - they were originally vocationally focused, and to a certain extent that bias remains today - and academic studies are generally held in higher regard than vocational studies (with a few exceptions for vocational subjects with a high academic content e.g. medicine and engineering).
    - they have lower entry requirements
    - because they set their own degree content, people assume (rightly or wrongly) that it is less rigorous at an ex-poly.
    - they are not research-intensive, so whilst they may have lecturers who know enough to teach a subject, they are not at the cutting edge of research in their field.
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    (Original post by Anyafrieda)
    Just wondered - it seems you get the same degree at the end of it?

    I have accepted a place for Neuroscience at a polytechnic university but hoping through adjustment I can get into a Russell Group one (Such as Leeds) but then I realised would this be any different to the degree I would be taking at the polytechnic?

    They are considered to be bad simply becasue they are generally lower down the league tables.
    Also you do get the same degree and it is probably going to be accredited by the same people but you are going to cover more content at a Russell group university compared to a polytechnic. Also at a Russell group university you will be given more exposure to different types of softwares.
    Generally speaking the people at a polytechnic aren't smart as the people in a Russell group university so if you decided to go to a polytechnic be prepared to meet "not so smart people"
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    (Original post by bahjat93)
    They are considered to be bad simply becasue they are generally lower down the league tables.
    It's worth understanding what league tables actually measure - and it isn't prestige http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1096372

    By the same token as your argument, you could say that they are lower down in the league tables because they are less well regarded - which is a circular argument.

    Also you do get the same degree and it is probably going to be accredited by the same people but you are going to cover more content at a Russell group university compared to a polytechnic.
    No. No. No. No. No.

    There are very few degrees that are accredited by professional bodies - and these are generally degrees like psychology and engineering. Universities set their own degree content, so you are getting a different degree. A degree is not like A Levels, where each college teaches the same (or one of a few externally set) syllabus and sits the same exams.

    Also at a Russell group university you will be given more exposure to different types of softwares.
    I don't even know where to start with this one.

    What software you are exposed to is likely to only be of relevance to someone on a degree in computing / similar. Which software packages you are exposed to will depend on the individual course, not whether it's an RG or new uni.

    Generally speaking the people at a polytechnic aren't smart as the people in a Russell group university so if you decided to go to a polytechnic be prepared to meet "not so smart people"
    Better A Level grades, on average, at an RG uni, yes. However, I'm sure we can all think of (a) reasons why a very intelligent person might have underperformed at A Level due to personal circumstances, and (b) ways in which you can be smart which are not tested at A Level. Don't tar everyone with the same brush - and this comes from someone at an RG uni.
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    It's interesting that people judge ex-polys as substandard but admissions tutors don't -- in general. For example, applying for graduate-entry medicine you are at no more advantage doing a biomedical science degree at Sheffield than you are at where I am in Salford.

    Why? Like someone said, that degree is accredited and hence has to match a certain standard. You might get niche experience in different areas at some of the Russell groups, but you also get different niches of research at ex-polys. All the basics are still covered to the same standard, and hence you can be measured against each other unless you're applying for a PhD in an area which is a specialism of your university, perhaps.

    Obviously this applies less to non-accredited degree subjects, but the research comment usually still applies. You would still cover all the basics, and hence just differ on the niches.
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)


    No. No. No. No. No.

    There are very few degrees that are accredited by professional bodies - and these are generally degrees like psychology and engineering. Universities set their own degree content, so you are getting a different degree. A degree is not like A Levels, where each college teaches the same (or one of a few externally set) syllabus and sits the same exams.
    Well i'm studying Engineering and nearly every universities Engineering degrees are accredited by either IET or the Engineering Council.


    (Original post by Origami Bullets)

    I don't even know where to start with this one.

    What software you are exposed to is likely to only be of relevance to someone on a degree in computing / similar. Which software packages you are exposed to will depend on the individual course, not whether it's an RG or new uni.
    I'm studying Engineering so i can only talk about my relevant field .
    When i was applying for ECE (Electronic Communications Engineering), i took the time to actually read what the specific university would be covering and i noticed that polytechnic universities didn't cover the computer languages C++ and C#, when Russell Group Universities did.

    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    Better A Level grades, on average, at an RG uni, yes. However, I'm sure we can all think of (a) reasons why a very intelligent person might have underperformed at A Level due to personal circumstances, and (b) ways in which you can be smart which are not tested at A Level. Don't tar everyone with the same brush - and this comes from someone at an RG uni.
    You have made a good point here but i honestly don't think that 10,000+ students who goto a polytechnic university all just were unlucky and missed out in getting As and Bs.
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    (Original post by bahjat93)
    Well i'm studying Engineering and nearly every universities Engineering degrees are accredited by either IET or institute of chartered Engineers.

    I'm studying Engineering so i can only talk about my relevant field .
    When i was applying for ECE (Electronic Communications Engineering), i took the time to actually read what the specific university would be covering and i noticed that polytechnic universities didn't cover the computer languages C++ and C#, when Russell Group Universities did.

    You have made a good point here but i honestly don't think that 10,000+ students who goto a polytechnic university all just were unlucky and missed out in getting As and Bs.
    If you're only talking about engineering, then please tell us that you're only talking about engineering. If you don't, then you will be giving confused applicants erroneous ideas. I'm doing a politics degree, it's not accredited by an outside body, and the only software I have ever needed has been Firefox, Adobe Reader, Word and PowerPoint. This will be typical for many essay-based subjects.

    Of course not everyone at ex-polys were unlucky with their grades. But my point is that not everyone at an ex-poly is thick.
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    Whilst in general the standard of courses and quality of students is lower at ex-polys, if you're a good student you can still do well there. One of the Professors of Physics I know at Imperial did his undergraduate degree at Staffordshire while it was still a polytechnic, so it just goes to show it's not where you did your degree it's what you do with it...
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    When I was at uni I informally tutored a couple of students who were doing the same course (in title) at the sake city's ex-poly.

    Some of the content was the same but it barely deviated from 'core' text books. I despaired at the lack of detail and knowledge the course seemed to have.

    They also had much less choice in terms of option modules, and I ended up feeling like they were sitting one big A-level.


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    Visit. Have a look at the facilities. Imo large unis generally have better teaching labs - even better than prestigious smaller unis sometimes. Bigger depts will typically have more research going on leading to more research interests among the staff and more varied modules as a result. Bigger is in some ways better.
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    Generally being the key word. Don't make any assumptions (-ve or +ve!) of an ex-poly until you've been and visited.
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    (Original post by MattKneale)
    For example, applying for graduate-entry medicine you are at no more advantage doing a biomedical science degree at Sheffield than you are at where I am in Salford.
    interesting... But Salford isn't an ex-polytechnic.

    Just saying.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    interesting... But Salford isn't an ex-polytechnic.

    Just saying.
    Yeah fair point, it's a red brick but the point still stands Although I should probably amend that quote because undoubtedly there is an advantage going to Sheffield over Salford, though it's purely down to reputation.
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    (Original post by SpicyStrawberry)
    (hence why they tend to be lower in league tables compared to their "more prestigious" counterparts e.g. MMU and UoM)

    Worth pointing out that on some courses MMU does outrank UoM :ahee:



    Your post says it all really, it's a matter of accumulative facilities and staff. Entry requirements also factor in however, the idea being that you'll surround yourself with a certain calibre of people (not that it works in practice).
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    (Original post by Nichrome)
    . One of the Professors of Physics I know at Imperial did his undergraduate degree at Staffordshire while it was still a polytechnic, so it just goes to show it's not where you did your degree it's what you do with it...
    Equally it works the other way too. One of my seminar tutors at Northumbria did her degree at Cambridge. The bit at the bottom is so true, your experience and business results will always take you further than your degree. Your degree helps you skip a few rungs on the job ladder or do a job that you can't without a degree. After that it's down to you.
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    IET, IMechE, ICE,
    (Original post by bahjat93)
    Well i'm studying Engineering and nearly every universities Engineering degrees are accredited by either IET or institute of chartered Engineers.
    Institute of Chartered Engineers?????? What country do you think you are studying in?

    IET, IMechE, ICE,RAeS are the professional bodies you should have come up with.

    Ex poly's have less to spend on facilities? No, an ex- poly had the highest surplus to spend on facilities in the last financial year

    Ex poly's don't teach C++, C# - sweeping statement, mine does, along with various software packages that are industry standard.

    Ex poly's have substandard teaching - All our new staff have to take a teaching qualification and have a PhD (and you have lectures, tutorials, seminars, labs with the actual lecturers, rather than their researchers). As I've said before here, I'm gutted to find my PhD from a RB to be devalued, while my brother-in-law is over the moon with his PhD from Wolverhampton being upgraded the moment he started teaching at Oxford.

    Ex poly's have sub standard courses - material we teach on Year 1 isn't covered in the RG's we deal with until Year 2. Externals often tell us to "dumb down" final year exam questions.

    Biggest difference to me is we pride ourselves in widening participation. It doesn't matter if you have A Levels, BTEC, Access course, etc. Just bacause you didn't go through the traditional route doesn't make you a write-off at age 18.

    BTW our PT students who join the course with an engineering HNC are generally far superior than any of the straight A* student's we get. Nothing better than a few years maturity and of actual working in the industry.
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    Because Polytechnics used to do a really good job at pumping out car mechanics, hair dressers, electricians... stuff that society actually needs. Instead the government tried to make them into Universities, and now we just have a load of unemployed graduates instead of tradesman that society needs.
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    I think it depends very much on the persons mindset; that is to say, what they themselves perceive to be good or bad.

    Some people will say the poly-technical universities are bad because their not as prestigious, less funded, etc.

    But I far from think the ex-poly's are bad. I have some friends who go to Caledonian university, and even Strathclyde (which by the way used to be a technical college and nobody I know thinks that university is bad, by any means.)

    Also, if you graduate from poly-technical university (undergraduate), then you could apply for postgraduate studies at a more renowned Russel Group university.

    It's all mindset I think, "bad" is what you make it.
 
 
 
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