How good/elite is the University of St. Andrews?

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ImNewHere123
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#1
Report Thread starter 3 years ago
#1
Hello everyone,

I have a really hard time understanding the prestige/ranking/status/etc. of the University of St. Andrews (both in the UK and internationally).

On some accounts, it is ranked very well overall, like in the Guardian ranking where it is only trailing Oxbridge [1].

On the same ranking, it is #1 in Politics, #2 in Philosophy and #1 in Physics. Other specialised rankings seem to confirm this, as it is ranked third in the most relevant philosophy ranking [2]. Based on this, one might think it to be a/the prime place in the UK for these fields (and potentially more).

But on some world rankings, it barely scratches Top 100 [3], while on others it is in the Top 400 [4] and on even others Top 50 overall [5]. While a good place, it does not seem that outstanding on these metrics.

But St. Andrews is second worst in admitting low-economic status students [6] and with Prince William having studied there, it has been called an elite university (or a university for the elite) [7] while others think it is, in US-UK comparison terms, more like Brown [8]. So it seems to be rather elite in at least some respects.

So what type of university is St. Andrews? Only a good place for philosophy/politics? Is it a elite university or rather just a good one? What could one best compare it with in the US? How would you generally think about St. Andrews?


Thank you so much for your input in advance!




[1] https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...ue-tables-2019
[2] https://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/overall-rankings/.
[3] https://www.topuniversities.com/univ...-rankings/2019
[4] http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2018.html
[5] https://www.timeshighereducation.com...asc/cols/stats
[6] https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/s...itist-12311588
[7] http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/...for-the-elite/
[8] https://www.quora.com/What-college-i...ms-of-prestige
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Capricancer
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#2
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#2
Just wanted to confirm/contextualise a few things you've said.

One of the reasons why St As does so well in national ranking is because of student satisfaction being a ranking input, it's been ranked 1st for overall course satisfaction ten times in the past 12 years. This year, 94% of students were satisfied, the next second best (Buckingham) had 91% and the average across UK institutions was 83%. It also better in other national ranking metrics such as student:staff ratio and the average entry score of undergraduate students.

I would disagree with your point about US East Coast, St As has the absolute highest and proportionally highest number of Americans and hosts students from every state. It's particularly popular amongst prep schools in the states and is one of the only UK universities Americans apply to in major numbers. I would say that it's probably the most well known in the US after Oxbridge and LSE.

Proportion wise, 45% of students are from outside of the UK so it attracts a fair number of internationals.

It's well regarded by high paying industries such as Finance, Consulting and Law so I'm not sure about your point about high paying jobs.. its grads do relatively well for earnings. Image

And I'll agree with your last point, would say that Oxbridge is probably the only all round 'elite' university in UK.
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londonmyst
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#3
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#3
Undergraduate degrees at St Andrews are 4 years like the US, instead of the usual 3 years in the rest of the UK.
That is really off-putting for a lot of students and is probably the main factor in many choosing to study elsewhere.
I hear that the temperature is quite cold, weather can be awful and nightlife isn't too exciting.

My best friend considered applying but decided against because she found the atmosphere a bit strange and didn't want to be on her own in Scotland.
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username4225828
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#4
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#4
I noticed a lot of girls on tinder on the east coast of the US go to St. Andrews. Any idea why this is?
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richardsmith
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#5
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#5
Tbh St Andrews is really good and some of its courses are extremely competitive such as IR but it is not on par with the Golden Triangle Unis on an International scale. World rankings are also much more reliable than domestic ones as the latters take into account the «*student experience «* which means that a Uni like loughborough can trump UCL because people go to party.
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Capricancer
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#6
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#6
- you did not convey your point with much confidence, therefore I provided hard figures. Would hardly say it was as well as it could have been

- If you click on the link I provided, you would find the link to the spreadsheet which includes the names of the schools, but here it is. You would need to have an idea of what prep schools are prestigious in the US to have a better understanding though. I don't think other british universities are particularly known for being popular in one region so I just assume that St Andrews has the same standard of popularity with other countries (as other british universities have),

- For both. No. Americans constitute around 15% of that figure, with Germany, China, Canada and India being the next most popular.

- You literally linked me to the data and then proceed to state false figures from the same? I'm confused why you would do so.

Image
It's £31.7k and sure it's below Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial by far but it's hardly far below the rest. And yeh as you said, given that we do not have a clinical medical school, vetmed, dentistry, architecture, any engineering degrees or (as you're aware) a law faculty - I think the figures are pretty good considering we also offer (typically lower earning) degrees such as Art History, Anthropology and Film Studies.

- I never claimed that it was a target university for investment banking as Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial are. But it's still a semi-target and well regarded. On your point about law firms, this is where I have to disagree with you. Pretty much all the magic circle law firms hold recruitment brunches/dinners here at St Andrews and attend our law fair, S&M even sponsor our Economics society.
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Capricancer
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#7
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#7
Not exactly sure how you interpreted this to be personal, but okay. But seeing as you're now using "your" and "St Andrews' interchangeably, I can see your attitude to this has changed.

- "St.A's does exceptionally well in student satisfaction (possibly the highest in the UK?)" - your words, I merely clarified that there was no need for the ? mark and now you're taking it personally. By adding the ? mark, I inferred that you were not confident about this statement.

- You claimed that St Andrews doesn't attract that many internationals, I stated that 45% of its student body is from outside of the UK. Now you're raising this point about diversity when the original point was whether St Andrews had many international students. When you contextualise the number of international students at St Andrews against other UK universities, the proportion of international students is high and one of the highest.

- Now I can see you're taking this very personally. You stated that St Andrews was on the 29-31k mark, again I just corrected this using the absolute figure provided in the graph. Again, you previously claimed that St Andrews doesn't send students to high-paying jobs, I merely stated that it does by providing a table which placed St Andrews within the top 15 of UK universities. The table you linked confirmed this as well. I'm aware that the differences are negligible at this point, and I acknowledge this as well. Not sure why you quoted 'elite' in the context of earnings, all I have ever claimed is that St Andrews does send students to high earning jobs and that it was well regarded by high-paying industries. It seems that you only deem Oxbridge, LSE and Imperial to be a 'tail-end' university.

- "(as you can imagine, this includes plenty of unsavoury institutions that St.A's would turn its nose up at like Kent and Essex)" - not sure why you're adopting such a snobbish attitude and trying to project it onto St Andrews. You just seem immature now. Given that you want to put down St Andrews, is it very common for MC law firms to sponsor non-law societies at universities which don't offer law then? Looking up the sponsorship lists of some of the societies of other top 30 universities, it's not. Neither have I heard it being very common to for law firms to be having dinners and brunches with 30 universities, it's usually concentrated at a smaller number.

These law firms visited us for our law fair, it doesn't include the others which visited for dinners or presentations. You'll notice some of the US firms you place on so much of a pedestal.
Spoiler:
Show

Allen & Overy; Baker & McKenzie; Bristows LLP; Burges Salmon LLP; Clifford Chance LLP; DLA Piper LLP; DWF LLP; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Herbert Smith Freehills; Hogan Lovells LLP; Jones Day; Norton Rose Fulbright LLP; Slaughter and May; Travers Smith LLP; White & Case


St Andrews can claim to be elite in its selectivity of undergraduate students. Not just because of the offer rate, but because the average entry tariff is consistently in the top 5/10 and the applicants to places ratio is one of the highest in the country.

I'm not going to bother replying to you anymore after this comment given the, frankly pathetic, number of condescending passive aggressive comments. You've tried to make this personal, but I'm not going to bother with this. Whether you regard St Andrews to be elite or not does not concern me, I commented on this thread to correct and contextualise the points you made. Not to join in on this typical TSR thread on whether a university is elite or not.
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username738914
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#8
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#8
This thread is like arguing whether blue cheese is actually cheese or not.

Posted from TSR Mobile
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notespad
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#9
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#9
It's is an old institution. Historically, rich, White families sent their kids there (and still the case now). Socially, amongst upper-middle class groups, it is seen as acceptable to send their offspring here because of that. Old alumni then contribute to this. Similar thing with Durham etc.

They're really not that big of a deal.
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A Rolling Stone
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#10
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#10
(Original post by ImNewHere123)
Hello everyone,

I have a really hard time understanding the prestige/ranking/status/etc. of the University of St. Andrews (both in the UK and internationally).

On some accounts, it is ranked very well overall, like in the Guardian ranking where it is only trailing Oxbridge [1].

On the same ranking, it is #1 in Politics, #2 in Philosophy and #1 in Physics. Other specialised rankings seem to confirm this, as it is ranked third in the most relevant philosophy ranking [2]. Based on this, one might think it to be a/the prime place in the UK for these fields (and potentially more).

But on some world rankings, it barely scratches Top 100 [3], while on others it is in the Top 400 [4] and on even others Top 50 overall [5]. While a good place, it does not seem that outstanding on these metrics.

But St. Andrews is second worst in admitting low-economic status students [6] and with Prince William having studied there, it has been called an elite university (or a university for the elite) [7] while others think it is, in US-UK comparison terms, more like Brown [8]. So it seems to be rather elite in at least some respects.

So what type of university is St. Andrews? Only a good place for philosophy/politics? Is it a elite university or rather just a good one? What could one best compare it with in the US? How would you generally think about St. Andrews?


Thank you so much for your input in advance!




[1] https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...ue-tables-2019
[2] https://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/overall-rankings/.
[3] https://www.topuniversities.com/univ...-rankings/2019
[4] http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2018.html
[5] https://www.timeshighereducation.com...asc/cols/stats
[6] https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/s...itist-12311588
[7] http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/...for-the-elite/
[8] https://www.quora.com/What-college-i...ms-of-prestige
st andrews is very elite for undergrad. not so elite (but not bad either) for research/postgrad.

which matters more to you?
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ImNewHere123
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#11
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#11
(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
st andrews is very elite for undergrad. not so elite (but not bad either) for research/postgrad.

which matters more to you?
Both, as I want to understand the picture as broadly as possible. Why would it not be elite for postgraduate study?
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A Rolling Stone
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#12
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#12
(Original post by ImNewHere123)
Both, as I want to understand the picture as broadly as possible. Why would it not be elite for postgraduate study?
I'd say it's the 12-15th most prestigious uni for postgrad.

it's a small university and without the research pedigree of somewhere like Edinburgh (eg. for animal biology it has the Roslin Institute responsible for Dolly the Sheep). That said, st andrews is very elite for research in it's specialities such as Marine Biology, International Relations and Medieval history etc.

but for undergrad, everyone knows how difficult it is to get into and you're surrounding yourself with the very crème de la crème of Oxbridge rejects

for the US I would compare it with maybe Amherst or Swarthmore.
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la_banane_verte
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#13
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#13
Wee bit of context on salary figures - St Andrews gets screwed over on its medics because they graduate from here (so get counted in salary figures), but then still have 3 years to go until they actually start working. I think there's also lots of people going on to do postgrads rather than trying to get super high paying city jobs?
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A Rolling Stone
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#14
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#14
(Original post by la_banane_verte)
Wee bit of context on salary figures - St Andrews gets screwed over on its medics because they graduate from here (so get counted in salary figures), but then still have 3 years to go until they actually start working. I think there's also lots of people going on to do postgrads rather than trying to get super high paying city jobs?
it sounds a bit right tbh. st andrews offers 2 Arts degree places for every 1 science degree place; doesn't offer Engineering, Pharmacy, Law, Vet Med or Architecture all with high salaries
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la_banane_verte
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#15
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#15
Complete university guide seem to be contradicting themselves, because this page https://www.thecompleteuniversitygui...uk/st-andrews/ has the non-UK, non-EU sat at 34%. Possibly the page you linked is using old data?

This page https://www.thecompleteuniversitygui.../international does give a nice breakdown of where non-UK students are from (unsurprisingly there's a huge number from the US), but notice that they say "international", and include EU in those figures. There's no consistent definition of the term 'international'.
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A Rolling Stone
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#16
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#16
i hate to have to inform you, but people from other countries - regardless of their fee status - are indeed 'international'. Hope this helps.
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la_banane_verte
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#17
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#17
I'm not sure why you needed to refer to 'St.A's and its worshippers'. What did you intend to achieve by that?

The page I linked you to was Complete University Guide using the term "International" to refer to anything non-UK. I doubt they would describe themselves as a St A worshipper.

Many admissions teams will use 'international' to refer to non-UK, non-EU students as you said in your earlier post, but not all of them will, and UNESCO (who collect data on students worldwide) define 'international' as "students who have crossed a national or territorial border for the purpose of education and are now enrolled outside their country of origin". So no-one is deliberately misusing any terms, there's just multiple definitions as I said originally.
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la_banane_verte
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#18
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#18
As we're in Scotland, I'm not really keen to use the SFE definition. Most Scottish universities use the terms Home (scottish and eu), RUK, and Overseas for fees, they don't use International. British Council and Universities UK use the "non-UK" definition of International. My point is that it's not as common to equate international=non-EU as you seem to think, and you've been rude and condescending to other users about it.

I actually happen to agree with you, that St Andrews has a huge amount of US students making up its non-UK population, I'm not fudging any definitions here and I never have.

CollectiveSoul has posted multiple times in this thread before you rudely dismissed them above, and one assumes that even if they hadn't that they are capable of reading the thread and understanding what's happening.
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9876543211234
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#19
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#19
I realise that this is an old thread, but I have to ask:

, were you rejected by St. Andrews?!
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Anonymous #1
#20
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#20
You stalk St Andrews threads giving little digs - why?

You've been asked elsewhere, are you a St Andrews reject? You never reply, so in the absence of a direct answer to that question, it's fair for everyone to assume that you are a St Andrews reject. As such, you're bitter and twisted.

The majority of students/applicants (who have a life) don't really care about approved definitions of what is international. For these, normal, people an international student would be anyone who isn't from the UK.
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