Making UCAS choices between the top unis

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e1m1a1d1831
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Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
I think your perception of uni reputation is pretty different to a lot of people.

Anyway, I would stop worrying too much about ranking and reputation and instead focus on things that are more likely to have an actual bearing on your uni experience such as course content, structure, uni life at that uni, location and so on. Assuming you don't live in NI, would you actually want to move to Belfast, for example?

(That's not intended as an insult to Belfast, BTW, just that if you live in GB, it's adding extra difficulty to getting home and so on).
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e1m1a1d1831
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
I think your perception of uni reputation is pretty different to a lot of people.

Anyway, I would stop worrying too much about ranking and reputation and instead focus on things that are more likely to have an actual bearing on your uni experience such as course content, structure, uni life at that uni, location and so on. Assuming you don't live in NI, would you actually want to move to Belfast, for example?

(That's not intended as an insult to Belfast, BTW, just that if you live in GB, it's adding extra difficulty to getting home and so on).
Yeah I understand. I'm an International student so I don't have high standards for the city of the university. I also think that above the rank 50, universities are not gonna have many issues so I would rather tolerate small inconveniences for the 3 years of uni so I can have better opportunities for the rest of my life.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Yeah I understand. I'm an International student so I don't have high standards for the city of the university. I also think that above the rank 50, universities are not gonna have many issues so I would rather tolerate small inconveniences for the 3 years of uni so I can have better opportunities for the rest of my life.
That's fair enough- then I think it's worth looking at employment statistics for the courses you're interested in at each uni. Having modules that relate to specific areas, being accredited by certain bodies, and offering placements/year in industry can all really help with employability too.

I don't think Russel Group is the be all and end all by any stretch, but QUB and Cardiff are Russel Group and the other aren't, and some people do put quite a lot of weighting on this (more so than the yearly position on league tables), especially among some UK employers. They use it as a sort of short hand for "good" even if that's not always the reality.

Being close to London or a major city can help with networking too (Assuming you want to work in the UK).
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
SarcAndSpark has answered everything, but I just wanted to add - if you are wanting to go into finance, especially in the UK, some of the more traditional universities will be more targeted for these kind of roles. So that's something to consider.

Also, as UK students, we are encouraged to put down a 'reach' choice, i.e. one that might be one grade above our predicted grades, and sometimes people get offers. That might be something to think about, but obviously seriously consider it.
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swanseajack1
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
Rankings dont mean an awful lot and whether a university is in the RG even less. As already said course content and location is far more important.

QUB is off the mainland and difficult for getting back and forth if that matters to you.

Cardiff is a really good student city and a very nice university 2 hours from London by train. The camps is a short 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
.
Strathclyde is in Scotland and I believe it is in Glasgow which is one of the UKs biggest cities. Its location means it will be colder and some way from other places in England.

Swansea is a campus university and has 2 campuses 5 miles apart with the city centre in between. It is a seaside place with a beach alongside the campus. Economics is on the new Bay Campus opened in 2015. It is 3 hours by train from London.

Reading is the nearest to things like airport. I assume Economics is part of the Henley Business school which has a good reputation. It is 20 minutes by train from Central London.

Sussex is in Brighton which is quite a big city about an hour from London. The campus is a few miles from the city.

Essex is in quite a small city and about an hour or more from Central London.

You have 5 choices so look into them and see what is right for you. On a personal basis I would go for Cardiff, Swansea, Reading and Sussex and decide which one you prefer for your 5th choice. I would probably choose Essex over the other 2 based on location unless you want more life than Colchester would offer. I havent been there. harrysbar I think you went to Essex for an ope day perhaps you can advise OP
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ajj2000
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
What grades are you targeting? Of your list I would look into Cardiff pretty closely as it has a higher profile than the others you have listed. Also Essex used to have a high reputation for economics so worth checking if that is still the case.
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Tonya.KS
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I agree- be mindful of league tables as different publishers will use different markers for ranking e.g. student satisfactory, research quality and entry standards. As a fresh grad, I was asked to complete a feedback form. So if I were to give a more positive feedback/ higher score, it would be reflected in 'student satisfactory' and pushes the rank up. This is especially evident in The Guardian ranking as most of the markers were based on students' statisfaction on the course/teaching and staff:student ratio. As you can see, they don't fully reflect the quality of uni. On the other hand, entry standards and research quality for example would provide a more concrete insight and has a higher integrity into how 'good' the uni is.

(Original post by swanseajack1)
Rankings dont mean an awful lot and whether a university is in the RG even less. As already said course content and location is far more important.

QUB is off the mainland and difficult for getting back and forth if that matters to you.

Cardiff is a really good student city and a very nice university 2 hours from London by train. The camps is a short 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
.
Strathclyde is in Scotland and I believe it is in Glasgow which is one of the UKs biggest cities. Its location means it will be colder and some way from other places in England.

Swansea is a campus university and has 2 campuses 5 miles apart with the city centre in between. It is a seaside place with a beach alongside the campus. Economics is on the new Bay Campus opened in 2015. It is 3 hours by train from London.

Reading is the nearest to things like airport. I assume Economics is part of the Henley Business school which has a good reputation. It is 20 minutes by train from Central London.

Sussex is in Brighton which is quite a big city about an hour from London. The campus is a few miles from the city.

Essex is in quite a small city and about an hour or more from Central London.

You have 5 choices so look into them and see what is right for you. On a personal basis I would go for Cardiff, Swansea, Reading and Sussex and decide which one you prefer for your 5th choice. I would probably choose Essex over the other 2 based on location unless you want more life than Colchester would offer. I havent been there. harrysbar I think you went to Essex for an ope day perhaps you can advise OP
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harrysbar
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(Original post by swanseajack1)
Rankings dont mean an awful lot and whether a university is in the RG even less. As already said course content and location is far more important.

QUB is off the mainland and difficult for getting back and forth if that matters to you.

Cardiff is a really good student city and a very nice university 2 hours from London by train. The camps is a short 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
.
Strathclyde is in Scotland and I believe it is in Glasgow which is one of the UKs biggest cities. Its location means it will be colder and some way from other places in England.

Swansea is a campus university and has 2 campuses 5 miles apart with the city centre in between. It is a seaside place with a beach alongside the campus. Economics is on the new Bay Campus opened in 2015. It is 3 hours by train from London.

Reading is the nearest to things like airport. I assume Economics is part of the Henley Business school which has a good reputation. It is 20 minutes by train from Central London.

Sussex is in Brighton which is quite a big city about an hour from London. The campus is a few miles from the city.

Essex is in quite a small city and about an hour or more from Central London.

You have 5 choices so look into them and see what is right for you. On a personal basis I would go for Cardiff, Swansea, Reading and Sussex and decide which one you prefer for your 5th choice. I would probably choose Essex over the other 2 based on location unless you want more life than Colchester would offer. I havent been there. harrysbar I think you went to Essex for an ope day perhaps you can advise OP
I've been to Open Days all over with my previous job and with my children.

I would echo your suggestions really (though I haven't visited Swansea) - was not particularly taken with Essex tbh, the city of Colchester is not particularly lively or attractive though I believe the uni is good for some subjects.

If the OP wants a decent uni in a nice city/town and with good transport links (including airports) I would suggest Reading, Sussex & Cardiff. They could also look at Royal Holloway (trains into London in 40 mins)
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e1m1a1d1831
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(Original post by swanseajack1)
Rankings dont mean an awful lot and whether a university is in the RG even less. As already said course content and location is far more important.

QUB is off the mainland and difficult for getting back and forth if that matters to you.

Cardiff is a really good student city and a very nice university 2 hours from London by train. The camps is a short 5-10 minute walk from the city centre.
.
Strathclyde is in Scotland and I believe it is in Glasgow which is one of the UKs biggest cities. Its location means it will be colder and some way from other places in England.

Swansea is a campus university and has 2 campuses 5 miles apart with the city centre in between. It is a seaside place with a beach alongside the campus. Economics is on the new Bay Campus opened in 2015. It is 3 hours by train from London.

Reading is the nearest to things like airport. I assume Economics is part of the Henley Business school which has a good reputation. It is 20 minutes by train from Central London.

Sussex is in Brighton which is quite a big city about an hour from London. The campus is a few miles from the city.

Essex is in quite a small city and about an hour or more from Central London.

You have 5 choices so look into them and see what is right for you. On a personal basis I would go for Cardiff, Swansea, Reading and Sussex and decide which one you prefer for your 5th choice. I would probably choose Essex over the other 2 based on location unless you want more life than Colchester would offer. I havent been there. harrysbar I think you went to Essex for an ope day perhaps you can advise OP
Wow thanks alot. I'll keep these in mind
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catmcquilkin
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I've been to Open Days all over with my previous job and with my children.

I would echo your suggestions really (though I haven't visited Swansea) - was not particularly taken with Essex tbh, the city of Colchester is not particularly lively or attractive though I believe the uni is good for some subjects.

If the OP wants a decent uni in a nice city/town and with good transport links (including airports) I would suggest Reading, Sussex & Cardiff. They could also look at Royal Holloway (trains into London in 40 mins)
yeah, i do agree that colchester - where essex uni is based - is not very lively and the actual essex uni campus is about 15/20 min bus ride into colchester town centre. The campus however can get quite busy and has an alright nightlife, there is an on campus club which gets busy everyday of the week, there is food markets in the campus squares and overall the campus is actually quite nice. Having said that, essex has a high international student population and i think international students tend to really enjoy it as it is quite close to london. Any questions about essex, ill be happy to answer!
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e1m1a1d1831
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(Original post by catmcquilkin)
yeah, i do agree that colchester - where essex uni is based - is not very lively and the actual essex uni campus is about 15/20 min bus ride into colchester town centre. The campus however can get quite busy and has an alright nightlife, there is an on campus club which gets busy everyday of the week, there is food markets in the campus squares and overall the campus is actually quite nice. Having said that, essex has a high international student population and i think international students tend to really enjoy it as it is quite close to london. Any questions about essex, ill be happy to answer!
I was actually quite interested about it since it has nice entry requirements with a good rank. What would you say about the teaching and the reputation for graduate employment?
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username5320822
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
Hi, I'm applying for a 2021 entry economics undergraduate course and I am unsure of how to allocate my UCAS choices.

With my current marks I think I can get into the top 40-30 unis of UK but I don't know if I should focus on universities that have risen in rank recently such as QUB, Swansea, Strathclyde, and even Cardiff or renowned universities such as Reading, Sussex, and Essex which have been falling in ranking tables.
I agree that ranking is not the most reliable measure of teaching quality. Study what you like! Check the courses and see what you think you will enjoy the most. Among the Uni you mentioned, Economics at Essex is probably one of the most renowned. They have an open day tomorrow https://www.essex.ac.uk/events/2020/...-day---june-24
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catmcquilkin
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(Original post by e1m1a1d1831)
I was actually quite interested about it since it has nice entry requirements with a good rank. What would you say about the teaching and the reputation for graduate employment?
The teaching was alright - i had some professors that were interesting to listen to and others that weren't so much but this was mainly the post graduate teachers that were taking some seminar classes but it completely depends on what subject your doing. you can always find out who your professors will be and reasearch them online if that helps!
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