If you are studying abroad you may be aware that some universities carry stronger entrance requirements than others and are regarded as more ‘prestigious’ to employers or PHD applications.
Problematically for foreign students is that they could be unknowingly be applying for a university which is poorly ranked because of its low quality lecture standards and job prospects and paying three times as much than a domestic student.
One way to identify the most powerful universities in terms of research and whether they are world renowned are league tables such as the QS World University Rankings. Here we can see that for 2015 MIT is first, Cambridge joint 3rd with Stanford and so forth.
The criteria between different league tables varies differently hence why on one table a University could be 7th while on a different one it could be 23rd. Some put emphasis on student satisfaction while others may put emphasis on research.
Russell Group (UK), IVY league (USA)
Every aspiring student will have heard of Oxford or Cambridge but they may not have heard of the other respected institutions such as LSE, University College London, Imperial College London, Kings College London Kings College London, St. Andrews, Durham University etc.
As the Russell Group describes itself:
“The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector.”
Therefore if you are a foreign student and especially if you are doing research heavy subjects like physics or medicine for instance you would want to aim for these institutions. Not only will they provide the best equipment because of their funding but also because they have the best connections to the career that you are aiming for after your degree.
Russell Group universities (UK)
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- University of Cambridge
- Cardiff University
- Durham University
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Exeter
- University of Glasgow
- Imperial College London
- King’s College London
- University of Leeds
- University of Liverpool
- London School of Economics & Political Science
- University of Manchester
- Newcastle University
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
- Queen Mary University of London
- Queen’s University Belfast
- University of Sheffield
- University of Southampton
- University College London
- University of Warwick
- University of York
One such university with entrance requirements as low as EE – London Metropolitan University describes itself as “a great place to study, located in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting cities.” However it received controversy as students didn’t turn up for courses instead using it as a gateway for visas.
In the UK there is a blindness to university choice in many British comprehensive schools who are pressured and rewarded to get as many pupils into any university regardless of their own suitability or the quality of the university course.
First generation A-level pupils are particularly vulnerable to this lack of guidance as their university choice can literally determine their prospects and future. They may be put off from applying to the top universities even if they have the talent.