Durham and St. Andrews - overrated? Watch

beatles17
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They are very good universities, but they aren't particularly well-known other than for attracting lots of Oxbridge rejects, as far as I know. If we're talking about the actual institutions themselves in terms of, say, research and relevance, and what their alumni have actually gone on to do, I don't see how they are any better than others in the Russell Group.

I don't mean to knock those universities because I know they are top institutions academically, but I don't really see how their perceived elevations to "almost Oxbridge" territory is really justified, just because of precarious league table reputation and the students they happen to attract at undergraduate level. That might seem impressive to you when you're a teenager, but it doesn't really mean anything once you graduate and realise that university reputation doesn't quite work like that.
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Doones
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(Original post by beatles17)
I don't see how they are any better than others in the Russell Group.
St Andrews isn't in the Russell Group. And Durham only joined the RG in 2012.

I don't mean to knock those universities because I know they are top institutions academically, but I don't really see how their perceived elevations to "almost Oxbridge" territory is really justified,
According to whom?
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beatles17
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
St Andrews isn't in the Russell Group. And Durham only joined the RG in 2012.
I know, but let's just suppose it is.

(Original post by Doonesbury)
According to whom?
A lot of people seem to think they are. On TSR there was a bar chart summary from that 'top 5 universities outside Oxbridge' thread. From what I remember, Durham and St Andrews were consistently mentioned above any other multi-faculty university. But the results seemed to be based loosely on league tables and entry standards more than anything else.

I don't understand this, because entry standards often exceed entry requirements. Entry standards don't really tell you anything about the difficulty of getting in. People just uncritically accept it as a shorthand for 'prestige'.
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random_matt
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And you care this much because? Did Oxbridge reject you, followed by a Durham rejection?
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beatles17
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(Original post by random_matt)
And you care this much because? Did Oxbridge reject you, followed by a Durham rejection?
Yes. I got rejected by Oxbridge, followed by a Durham rejection, and now I have a bruised ego because apparently Durham is that much better than where I ended up (or at least, that's what you want me to believe).

I care because I'm interested in why people subconsciously think the way they do about things that are actually pretty subjective, yet pass it on as fact.

[EDIT: I didn't apply to either. Could not be arsed with Oxbridge (didn't have my course anyway) and at the same time I don't 'get' what the whole fuss is about with Durham. I went to my first choice which was still a pretty good Russell Group university, it was a personal preference and I'm very happy I went there, and also proud of myself since it is a very good university in reality. I just wanted to make the point that I doubt universities like Durham are any better; people should be smart and think for themselves, and not go somewhere just because it's currently fashionable and people on TSR tell them they should go there, when it's not exactly Oxbridge anyway...]
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random_matt
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(Original post by beatles17)
Yes. I got rejected by Oxbridge, followed by a Durham rejection, and now I have a bruised ego.

I care because I'm interested in why people subconsciously think the way they do about things that are actually pretty subjective, yet pass it on as fact.
Beats me, i decided between Durham and Lancaster, ranking/prestige or whatever never really held that much weight with me. The location, modules and accommodation are what mattered to me.
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Doones
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(Original post by beatles17)
I know, but let's just suppose it is.



A lot of people seem to think they are. On TSR there was a bar chart summary from that 'top 5 universities outside Oxbridge' thread. From what I remember, Durham and St Andrews were consistently mentioned above any other multi-faculty university. But the results seemed to be based loosely on league tables and entry standards more than anything else.

I don't understand this, because entry standards often exceed entry requirements. Entry standards don't really tell you anything about the difficulty of getting in. People just uncritically accept it as a shorthand for 'prestige'.
Don't take some Sixth Former's views too seriously...


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creac080200
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(Original post by beatles17)
They are very good universities, but they aren't particularly well-known other than for attracting lots of Oxbridge rejects, as far as I know. If we're talking about the actual institutions themselves in terms of, say, research and relevance, and what their alumni have actually gone on to do, I don't see how they are any better than others in the Russell Group.

I don't mean to knock those universities because I know they are top institutions academically, but I don't really see how their perceived elevations to "almost Oxbridge" territory is really justified, just because of precarious league table reputation and the students they happen to attract at undergraduate level. That might seem impressive to you when you're a teenager, but it doesn't really mean anything once you graduate and realise that university reputation doesn't quite work like that.
Really i think it's just about the prestige; the names get thrown around a lot thus academic students who receive little help of guidance from their schools or parents apply as they have little else to go on other than debates about which university in better on websites such as this. To be honest I wouldn't take reputation so seriously, i think its more important to choose a course and uni that you love hence I rejected Durham for Warwick despite Durham being named the best uni in the country for my course (although that's just my opinion!)
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by creac080200)
Really i think it's just about the prestige; the names get thrown around a lot thus academic students who receive little help of guidance from their schools or parents apply as they have little else to go on other than debates about which university in better on websites such as this. To be honest I wouldn't take reputation so seriously, i think its more important to choose a course and uni that you love hence I rejected Durham for Warwick despite Durham being named the best uni in the country for my course (although that's just my opinion!)
English is Durham's flagship degree... I can't believe you rejected it for a uni in the middle of nowhere, outside of a hole like Coventry!
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creac080200
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
English is Durham's flagship degree... I can't believe you rejected it for a uni in the middle of nowhere, outside of a hole like Coventry!
I rejected it predominantly because I hated that the course was, much like Oxford, so focused on medieval literature as I found out at the offer holder days. Also, coming from a small, all-girls school, I found the cities to be extremely daunting. Although they are highly regarded universities, the courses just weren’t for me which is the most important part of uni for me at least.
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Randymagallon
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I'm sorry I don't really consider Durham and St Andrews that prestigious.

After Oxbridge, it's LSE, Imperial, Warwick and UCL, most probably in that order.
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by Randymagallon)
I'm sorry I don't really consider Durham and St Andrews that prestigious.

After Oxbridge, it's LSE, Imperial, Warwick and UCL, most probably in that order.
Sorry, Warwick only for Economics/Finance/Maths. Otherwise it is a regular high-RG uni
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beatles17
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
Sorry, Warwick only for Economics/Finance/Maths. Otherwise it is a regular high-RG uni
Is mentioning Warwick along with LSE/Imperial/UCL some sort of ongoing insider joke on TSR? I can't tell if people are joking or if they genuinely think that and I'm missing something crucial.
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by creac080200)
I rejected it predominantly because I hated that the course was, much like Oxford, so focused on medieval literature as I found out at the offer holder days. Also, coming from a small, all-girls school, I found the cities to be extremely daunting. Although they are highly regarded universities, the courses just weren’t for me which is the most important part of uni for me at least.
ahh so Warwick allowed you to focus on modern lit.

I think it's interesting that where I'm from in London, literally nobody would go to a university if it didn't have a huge nightlife, yet I found at my university (st andrews) all the people from small towns and villages who strangely didn't fancy change
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ineedA
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DOXBRIDGE is REal
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beatles17
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I think people choose to go to Durham and St. Andrews for the experience rather than the reputation. Generally you go to them if you want to study with like-minded Oxbridge rejects and have an Oxbridge-type experience and social life, without the prestige of Oxbridge. However if you don't care about that and just want to go to a well-established institution then there are other universities which are just as good or arguably even better, despite what league tables say.
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CollectiveSoul
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(Original post by beatles17)
I think people choose to go to Durham and St. Andrews for the experience rather than the reputation. Generally you go to them if you want to study with like-minded Oxbridge rejects and have an Oxbridge-type experience and social life, without the prestige of Oxbridge. However if you don't care about that and just want to go to a well-established institution then there are other universities which are just as good or arguably even better, despite what league tables say.
it' for the experience AND the reputation, whereas at Imperial you will only get the reputation.

so glad i spent my uni days with cheese & wine instead of vodka shots and gin the whole time
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RoyalBeams
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(Original post by Randymagallon)
I'm sorry I don't really consider Durham and St Andrews that prestigious.

After Oxbridge, it's LSE, Imperial, Warwick and UCL, most probably in that order.
Let me guess, you attend Warwick?
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beatles17
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
so glad i spent my uni days with cheese & wine instead of vodka shots and gin the whole time
To each their own. I went to a Russell Group in a big city and nightlife happens to be very important to me.

The point is, I don't think my employment prospects have been hampered by going to that university instead of Durham or St. Andrews. A lot of people on TSR might disagree but I think they're wrong.
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emms2001
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I cannot understand why people post questions like "Durham and St. Andrews - overrated?" What do they hope to achieve?
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