Russell or bust? Watch

Muslim Taseer
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I am in international student. I've gotten offers from all 5 unis i applied to, and now I'm worried that i should've applied to top Russell group unis. I didn't at first because it would be hard to afford them. The two I'm considering right now are Northumbria and Lincoln, as they are relatively good and within my price range. I take 4 a levels, math phy bio chem, and got AAAB in AS levels and have predicted grades of A*A*AA.
My subject is Law. Even if I did wait a year to apply to top unis, it would be really hard to afford them. My question is, would i be wasting my time and grades going to Northumbria or Lincoln? Or is this just the russel group elitists getting to me? Would it really even matter in the long run if i graduated with a firsts? Bear in mind i plan on going back to my home country afterwards, and a UK uni would be very well received there, regardless of where from.
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anonymous1231231
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Could you not apply for bursaries or scholarships?
Predicted A*A*AA, you really should've applied to some A*AA or AAA courses imo. Not saying it's a waste of time, your money and whatever, but you could do *better*.
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Doones
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
I am in international student. I've gotten offers from all 5 unis i applied to, and now I'm worried that i should've applied to top Russell group unis. I didn't at first because it would be hard to afford them. The two I'm considering right now are Northumbria and Lincoln, as they are relatively good and within my price range. I take 4 a levels, math phy bio chem, and got AAAB in AS levels and have predicted grades of A*A*AA.
My subject is Law. Even if I did wait a year to apply to top unis, it would be really hard to afford them. My question is, would i be wasting my time and grades going to Northumbria or Lincoln? Or is this just the russel group elitists getting to me? Would it really even matter in the long run if i graduated with a firsts? Bear in mind i plan on going back to my home country afterwards, and a UK uni would be very well received there, regardless of where from.
If you exceed your Firm offer on Results Day you can use UCAS's Adjustment service to "upgrade" your university potentially to one with higher entry requirements. This doesn't affect your offer so you arent risking your place.

More info here
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergradu...etter-expected

Do some research on other universities now, focussing on whether they actually have a better course rather than being Russell Group per se. Also you can check out any funding scholarships or bursaries.



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Notoriety
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
I am in international student. I've gotten offers from all 5 unis i applied to, and now I'm worried that i should've applied to top Russell group unis. I didn't at first because it would be hard to afford them. The two I'm considering right now are Northumbria and Lincoln, as they are relatively good and within my price range. I take 4 a levels, math phy bio chem, and got AAAB in AS levels and have predicted grades of A*A*AA.
My subject is Law. Even if I did wait a year to apply to top unis, it would be really hard to afford them. My question is, would i be wasting my time and grades going to Northumbria or Lincoln? Or is this just the russel group elitists getting to me? Would it really even matter in the long run if i graduated with a firsts? Bear in mind i plan on going back to my home country afterwards, and a UK uni would be very well received there, regardless of where from.
If you can't afford it, then you can't afford it. In my opinion, the Northumbria course is superior to Lincoln's. Also, the A*AA unis (i.e. what it seems you could have got in) are vastly superior in terms of academics compared to Northumbria. It isn't specifically the "Russell Group" status that matters here; just that some unis have more eminent law schools and it's do with the individual uni's efforts to have a more eminent law school.

With those high academics, I would consider applying for scholarships in your home country for study abroad (presuming you haven't already) and then scholarships at the particular uni -- maybe some for academic excellence.

In the end, if a Northumbria degree is going to get you where you want to be, then so be it. By the way, you could use Extra to get into some decent law schools. There is no reason to wait till Adjustment/Clearing.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
I am in international student. I've gotten offers from all 5 unis i applied to, and now I'm worried that i should've applied to top Russell group unis. I didn't at first because it would be hard to afford them. The two I'm considering right now are Northumbria and Lincoln, as they are relatively good and within my price range. I take 4 a levels, math phy bio chem, and got AAAB in AS levels and have predicted grades of A*A*AA.
My subject is Law. Even if I did wait a year to apply to top unis, it would be really hard to afford them. My question is, would i be wasting my time and grades going to Northumbria or Lincoln? Or is this just the russel group elitists getting to me? Would it really even matter in the long run if i graduated with a firsts? Bear in mind i plan on going back to my home country afterwards, and a UK uni would be very well received there, regardless of where from.
Going to a solid university (the type that tends to admit people with profiles as strong as yours) offers a lot of small, incidental benefits - not merely a 'brand name'. Also, the fact that the best law faculties in this country have happened to be in RG institutions does not mean that all RG insttitutions have good law faculties. It's not an RG vs non-RG distinction.

I'd re-apply and try to get into somewhere better. If you don't have a spare year, check Clearing/Extra/Adjustment to see whether any decent universities will pop up (QMUL has done so repeatedly in the past few years, Warwick too on occasion).
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Molseh
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I'd happlily be proved wrong but I believe Law is one of those courses that having that 'brand' name school makes a big difference to job prospects.
Last edited by Molseh; 4 weeks ago
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kawaii sashimi
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Hey!

Russel group universities are highlighted as such mainly because they're leaders in and excellent in research. So, to be honest, law doesn't really have that as a component as much as some other subjects might do, so it won't matter too much (depending on uni's law course), in terms of course quality and reputaion if you go to a Russel group or not. For example, in terms of law, I think SOAS would 've got you a better reputation with your degree, especially internationally and it's not listed as a Russel group university at all.

If Northumbria and Lincoln are seen as good unis, and you like their course and it wouldn't matter anyway once you got back home after graduation, I don't think you should worry about it too much. All that matters is that they have a good teaching standard, good links/opportunities for future careers or even links with other universities and that you get a first in your degree. Focus on what you enjoy about the uni and course and earn a first class degree. Do a little bit more research on the unis to get a better idea about them and see if you can talk to some of their current or former law students to see how things are turning out for them. It's what you do throughout uni to make yourself stand out from other law students and the grades you get that are more important. I hope this helped ease some of your worries!

good luck!
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
I am in international student. I've gotten offers from all 5 unis i applied to, and now I'm worried that i should've applied to top Russell group unis. I didn't at first because it would be hard to afford them. The two I'm considering right now are Northumbria and Lincoln, as they are relatively good and within my price range. I take 4 a levels, math phy bio chem, and got AAAB in AS levels and have predicted grades of A*A*AA.
My subject is Law. Even if I did wait a year to apply to top unis, it would be really hard to afford them. My question is, would i be wasting my time and grades going to Northumbria or Lincoln? Or is this just the russel group elitists getting to me? Would it really even matter in the long run if i graduated with a firsts? Bear in mind i plan on going back to my home country afterwards, and a UK uni would be very well received there, regardless of where from.
Are Russell Group more expensive - not sure they are. You have predicted grades to get into some of the best universities in the country. DOn't waste your money going to third rate institutions. Not sure it would make a difference if you graduate with a first. For the same money you can get a much better degree. They will have contacts as well.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by kawaii sashimi)
H
You don't seem to be a law student (or at least a student at a somewhat-serious institution):

The second you move away from rote learning for your core modules, you encounter all sorts of debates and normative/policy questions that need resolution. These debates are what legal researchers spend their time on. That's not to mention the socio-legal modules that often require fieldwork and other forms of 'real' empirical study.

Now, you could make the point that you can get all the materials you need online, but that ignores:

a) the opportunities for paid research assistantships at top universities;

a1) the benefit of having someone who has published in leading journals mentor and guide you through the publication process [this only applies to the handful of individuals who try to get publications out while they're undergrads, but still];

b) the benefit of having someone who is actually familiar with the cutting-edge of research actually sit down and explain it to you;

c) the fact that an institution that was never concerned with preparing at least some of its candidates for research won't bother making you read that extra normative/higher-level stuff as part of your course;

d) the fact that some modules are either explicitly research-focused (the dissertation) or implicitly so (modules covering a rapidly developing area of law, such as Medical or IT);

e) the superior academic opportunities on offer (law reviews, sponsored moots, that sort of thing).

There's a huge difference in marking standards and the difficulty of the law course at different universities. A good lawyer should ideally want a course that is both time-consuming and which forces them to develop 'lawyerly' skills such as independent research, reading cases and statutes from scratch, tracing arguments through the caselaw, etc. Not all courses do that to the same degree.

Re: reputation - Within academic circles, different academics know who to 'trust' with their external invigilation. This is because academia is a clique and the top researchers tend to move between the same universities. This means that they inevitably come to trust certain degrees over others precisely because they know that these degrees have been marked by researchers who hold their students to higher standards owing to their educational background, their familiarity with the area in question, etc. Now, this may not determine much at the end of the day (most taught LLMs are piss easy to get into; PhDs are mainly assessed on other criteria), but to suggest that there's no difference in perception in the first place is false.

"Good links with employers" - Yes, local ones. Not all employers are born equal, nor are they all equally desirable.

You've left out the positive influences that are the result of being in a cohort that is full of somewhat academic and career-driven individuals.


(Original post by Molseh)
I'd happlily be proved wrong but I believe Law is one of those courses that having that 'brand' name school makes a big difference to job prospects.
Up to a point. And that threshold seems to be set fairly low for most employers. There are a handful that can afford to be very selective with all aspects of your application (including university 'brand'), but these tend to be very elite commercial sets or US law firms that actually value the soft skills you develop by performing at a high academic level and only need to fill a handful of places every year.

It may be a different matter in some overseas jurisdictions.
Last edited by JohanGRK; 4 weeks ago
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Muslim Taseer
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
Are Russell Group more expensive - not sure they are. You have predicted grades to get into some of the best universities in the country. DOn't waste your money going to third rate institutions. Not sure it would make a difference if you graduate with a first. For the same money you can get a much better degree. They will have contacts as well.
Thank you for your answer!
What top level or atleast better unis have international tuition fees in the 10-14k range?
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Muslim Taseer
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
If you exceed your Firm offer on Results Day you can use UCAS's Adjustment service to "upgrade" your university potentially to one with higher entry requirements. This doesn't affect your offer so you arent risking your place.

More info here
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergradu...etter-expected

Do some research on other universities now, focussing on whether they actually have a better course rather than being Russell Group per se. Also you can check out any funding scholarships or bursaries.



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Thank you very much for this answer!
If i apply through adjustment, will I still be eligible for most bursaries/scholarships on offer?
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Muslim Taseer
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Thanks for your answer. You make some very convincing points, one of the main things I was worried about was the type of people I'd be surrounded by at Northumbria as opposed to a higher level uni. I would hate to be in an environment of just BBB students, not to sound arrogant, but I would much prefer to be challenged by my peers. I am going to look into extra and adjustment and see what better unis I can afford.
Since you seem like a very knowledgeable person regarding this, could you recommend any better unis with international tuition fees under 15k or which would offer generous international scholarships?

(Original post by JohanGRK)
You don't seem to be a law student (or at least a student at a somewhat-serious institution):

The second you move away from rote learning for your core modules, you encounter all sorts of debates and normative/policy questions that need resolution. These debates are what legal researchers spend their time on. That's not to mention the socio-legal modules that often require fieldwork and other forms of 'real' empirical study.

Now, you could make the point that you can get all the materials you need online, but that ignores:

a) the opportunities for paid research assistantships at top universities;

a1) the benefit of having someone who has published in leading journals mentor and guide you through the publication process [this only applies to the handful of individuals who try to get publications out while they're undergrads, but still];

b) the benefit of having someone who is actually familiar with the cutting-edge of research actually sit down and explain it to you;

c) the fact that an institution that was never concerned with preparing at least some of its candidates for research won't bother making you read that extra normative/higher-level stuff as part of your course;

d) the fact that some modules are either explicitly research-focused (the dissertation) or implicitly so (modules covering a rapidly developing area of law, such as Medical or IT);

e) the superior academic opportunities on offer (law reviews, sponsored moots, that sort of thing).

There's a huge difference in marking standards and the difficulty of the law course at different universities. A good lawyer should ideally want a course that is both time-consuming and which forces them to develop 'lawyerly' skills such as independent research, reading cases and statutes from scratch, tracing arguments through the caselaw, etc. Not all courses do that to the same degree.

Re: reputation - Within academic circles, different academics know who to 'trust' with their external invigilation. This is because academia is a clique and the top researchers tend to move between the same universities. This means that they inevitably come to trust certain degrees over others precisely because they know that these degrees have been marked by researchers who hold their students to higher standards owing to their educational background, their familiarity with the area in question, etc. Now, this may not determine much at the end of the day (most taught LLMs are piss easy to get into; PhDs are mainly assessed on other criteria), but to suggest that there's no difference in perception in the first place is false.

"Good links with employers" - Yes, local ones. Not all employers are born equal, nor are they all equally desirable.

You've left out the positive influences that are the result of being in a cohort that is full of somewhat academic and career-driven individuals.



Up to a point. And that threshold seems to be set fairly low for most employers. There are a handful that can afford to be very selective with all aspects of your application (including university 'brand'), but these tend to be very elite commercial sets or US law firms that actually value the soft skills you develop by performing at a high academic level and only need to fill a handful of places every year.

It may be a different matter in some overseas jurisdictions.
Last edited by Muslim Taseer; 3 weeks ago
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
Thanks for your answer. You make some very convincing points, one of the main things I was worried about was the type of people I'd be surrounded by at Northumbria as opposed to a higher level uni. I would hate to be in an environment of just BBB students, not to sound arrogant, but I would much prefer to be challenged by my peers. I am going to look into extra and adjustment and see what better unis I can afford.
Since you seem like a very knowledgeable person regarding this, could you recommend any better unis with international tuition fees under 15k or which would offer generous international scholarships?
Wanting to be challenged by other people is a good sign - it's not arrogant at all. There have been a couple of threads on this forum where people ended up overachieving in the context of their firm choices and ultimately changed course. Best to avoid wasting a year of your time if you think that that's going to be the case.

I'm not familiar with international fees (I'm an EU student) so you'd be best of making a shortlist of courses that appear in Extra and Adjustment and check their websites. However, premium courses tend to come at a premium... particularly in the south of England.

Nottingham has a merit-based scholarship, as does Glasgow. Nottingham's is for internationals afaik, so it may suit you well. Most universities offer needs-based bursaries but I don't know whether you're eligible for those. Generally speaking, most decent universities keep their scholarships for those who perform well during the course. The ones that do offer mini-scholarships or awards (e.g. £500 for each A* you get) are best avoided - the total sum you'll get isn't that great and there's a reason why that award is offered in the first place...

It's probably helpful if you do some digging first and then come back with a new list of universities. Checking for funding is slow, arduous work and you're the only one that can do it.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
Thank you for your answer!
What top level or atleast better unis have international tuition fees in the 10-14k range?
You would need to look at the rest of them

https://www.thecompleteuniversitygui...rankings?s=Law

I suspect that the "better" unis charge more - there is a reason for that.

The lower ranked unis are struggling so are slashing fees in a desperate bid to get students. I would rather defer for a year and get a better experience, better tuition, better contacts etc. Law is one of those where the institution does matter
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Doones
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(Original post by Muslim Taseer)
Thank you very much for this answer!
If i apply through adjustment, will I still be eligible for most bursaries/scholarships on offer?
That will depend on the university and their scholarship conditions. Also check with your local British Council for scholarships awarded for your country.


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