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Help me pick: Swansea BEng vs Birmingham Aston MEng or Heriot-Watt BEng?

I got rejected from both my firm and insurance for a foundation year in Chemical Engineering and have now got 6 offers via clearing for Aston, Swansea, Hull, Bradford, Chester and London South Bank.

I am currently trying to decide between Aston and Swansea and need some help. Any chem engineers here who can help? All advice from anyone is welcomed. My deadline for Aston is noon tomorrow.

I am also considering transferring to another higher ranking university after first year, would this be a worthwhile pursuit?

Thanks :smile:
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 1
Aston, followed by Swansea.

Aston campus tour film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn1cKghEHWA
Reply 2
Original post by McGinger
Aston, followed by Swansea.

Aston campus tour film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn1cKghEHWA


Thanks for replying! Could I ask why you think that because looking at things like rankings just confuses me now haha
Reply 3
Original post by orangeleaf
Thanks for replying! Could I ask why you think that because looking at things like rankings just confuses me now haha


Rankings are essentially nonsense - they can never tell you if you will enjoy the course or like being at that Uni.
And employers don't pick graduates via rankings.
Reply 4
Original post by McGinger
Rankings are essentially nonsense - they can never tell you if you will enjoy the course or like being at that Uni.
And employers don't pick graduates via rankings.


Would you say employers go mainly off of experience and grades then? May I ask what you think about transferring and what made you choose aston?
Original post by orangeleaf
Would you say employers go mainly off of experience and grades then? May I ask what you think about transferring and what made you choose aston?


I would go for Swansea but it really depends on what you want. Aston is based in a massive city whereas Swansea is a seaside campus. Only you can make this decision not us.
Rankings aren't really that meaningful for engineering in terms of employability - employers know which universities produce good engineers and which don't, and those don't always correspond to league table rankings. Don't think there's much benefit considering this for deciding between them in this situation - also don't think attempting to transfer (even if you can, which is quite possibly a no) is worthwhile either.

I would say the main thing to decide between them is location, as noted above they're very different living experiences which will shape your overall experience considerably.
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 7
Original post by artful_lounger
Rankings aren't really that meaningful for engineering in terms of employability - employers know which universities produce good engineers and which don't, and those don't always correspond to league table rankings. Don't think there's much benefit considering this for deciding between them in this situation - also don't think attempting to transfer (even if you can, which is quite possibly a no) is worthwhile either.

I would say the main thing to decide between them is location, as noted above they're very different living experiences which will shape your overall experience considerably.


Thanks for replying! The university I would like to transfer to was previously my firm choice and they said over the phone to me today that it is possible to transfer. I have really wanted to study there and they are a Russell group uni as well which was what motivated me to think about switching (I was told a while ago via a careers day talk that employers go for Russell group/Red Brick and then everyone else) but now you've said that I'm not sure whether that would make it worthwhile switching. I'm just kinda worried that it'll be harder for me to get a job since I didn't go Russell group for some reason.

And yes, thank you, I think the main differentiating component will be what it's like to live in both places.
Original post by orangeleaf
Thanks for replying! The university I would like to transfer to was previously my firm choice and they said over the phone to me today that it is possible to transfer. I have really wanted to study there and they are a Russell group uni as well which was what motivated me to think about switching (I was told a while ago via a careers day talk that employers go for Russell group/Red Brick and then everyone else) but now you've said that I'm not sure whether that would make it worthwhile switching. I'm just kinda worried that it'll be harder for me to get a job since I didn't go Russell group for some reason.

And yes, thank you, I think the main differentiating component will be what it's like to live in both places.

Possible doesn't mean "yes". They would need to satisfy themselves the first year of this other course matches the first year of their course, and then can set whatever conditions they like for your offer (which may be considerably harder to achieve compared to e.g. retaking or reapplying in a gap year). Also it may affect your student finance entitlement if you subsequently need to repeat a year.

Employers don't care about whether you went to a Russell Group uni. The Russell Group is a political lobbying group masquerading as a postgraduate research consortium. In either case, there is no connection between RG membership and undergraduate teaching quality, nor graduate prospects. The only jobs that care about where you studied are investment banking and management consulting, and they only care if you go to a target uni. Not all RG unis are target unis, so don't mislead yourself into believing going to some random RG uni will get you into Goldman Sachs - they still are targetting LSE/Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL grads, not grads from Southampton, Exeter, etc. For any other job they don't care about that at all and so it's entirely pointless.

Unfortunately the advice you were given about employer preferences was not really accurate I think. At the end of the day generalist grad schemes have little to gain by filtering candidates by university and since so many students go to uni now, there is much less difference in outcomes for those graduates. What they want to see is that you have relevant work experience from internships, vacation schemes, placements, work experience etc, which will indicate to them you can actually do a job and not just sit exams. Then they want to see you can pass their psychometric tests and assessment centre exercises - that's how they mill out the crowd of applicants. It is more convenient for them as they don't need to worry about a university suddenly dropping standards to capitalise on their reputation for short term income, and they can avoid claims of bias against particular graduates because the psychometric tests are allegedly objective.

As noted previously too, for engineering especially there are plenty of non-RG unis which are heavily targeted by engineering firms as they know they consistently churn out good engineers. Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Loughborough, and Bath are some very notable examples which are considerably better than quite a few RG uni engineering programmes (and employers know this far better than anyone else!).
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
Possible doesn't mean "yes". They would need to satisfy themselves the first year of this other course matches the first year of their course, and then can set whatever conditions they like for your offer (which may be considerably harder to achieve compared to e.g. retaking or reapplying in a gap year). Also it may affect your student finance entitlement if you subsequently need to repeat a year.

Employers don't care about whether you went to a Russell Group uni. The Russell Group is a political lobbying group masquerading as a postgraduate research consortium. In either case, there is no connection between RG membership and undergraduate teaching quality, nor graduate prospects. The only jobs that care about where you studied are investment banking and management consulting, and they only care if you go to a target uni. Not all RG unis are target unis, so don't mislead yourself into believing going to some random RG uni will get you into Goldman Sachs - they still are targetting LSE/Oxbridge/Imperial/UCL grads, not grads from Southampton, Exeter, etc. For any other job they don't care about that at all and so it's entirely pointless.

Unfortunately the advice you were given about employer preferences was not really accurate I think. At the end of the day generalist grad schemes have little to gain by filtering candidates by university and since so many students go to uni now, there is much less difference in outcomes for those graduates. What they want to see is that you have relevant work experience from internships, vacation schemes, placements, work experience etc, which will indicate to them you can actually do a job and not just sit exams. Then they want to see you can pass their psychometric tests and assessment centre exercises - that's how they mill out the crowd of applicants. It is more convenient for them as they don't need to worry about a university suddenly dropping standards to capitalise on their reputation for short term income, and they can avoid claims of bias against particular graduates because the psychometric tests are allegedly objective.

As noted previously too, for engineering especially there are plenty of non-RG unis which are heavily targeted by engineering firms as they know they consistently churn out good engineers. Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Loughborough, and Bath are some very notable examples which are considerably better than quite a few RG uni engineering programmes (and employers know this far better than anyone else!).

Thanks a lot for your wealth of information - that has given me a lot of hope😊I'll be focussing on getting that experience😊 I guess the other thing that gives me peace of mind is thar IChemE accredits degrees as well.
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by orangeleaf
Thanks a lot for your wealth of information - that has given me a lot of hope😊I'll be focussing on getting that experience😊 I guess the other thing that gives me peace of mind is thar IChemE accredits degrees as well.

Yeah, the accreditation means that the degrees will usually cover similar content overall, although the exact pacing and order of it can sometimes vary.

Teaching quality can obviously vary between universities but it's really hard to get a steer on in my experience as league tables don't reflect it at all usually!

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