Sunday, August 9, 2009

British Universities - A Guide in Brief

(This is copied from a post I made some time ago)

It seems that a significant number of people are coming across these forums to inquire about universities (rankings, prestige, parties, culture, etc.). In an effort to provide a little assistance (and due in part to the fact that I am dreadfully bored at work) I have included a list of universities in order (more or less) taking into account three main factors: Prestige, culture, and parties. This is nigh entirely subjective but an amusing exercise nonetheless.

(Oxford eeks this out due to it's strength in social sciences vs hard sciences, the fact it is a larger city, and lastly because I studied there. Personal preference really, after all who really wants to be a 'Tab?)

St Andrews
(These next three each have their merits that group them together. Durham has the college system and is stronger for sport, boasting great intra-university competition and banter. St Andrews boasts a positively gorgeous campus on the water (albeit freezing) and has some amusing traditions like Raisins, etc. Edinburgh has without a doubt the best night-life of the three, with St Andrews students routinely coming through on weekends, but being rather spread out in the city, it does not offer the same campus feel as the other two. Overall they are all fine academic universities and rather interchangable depending on which subject one wishes to study)

(The final four here are debatable, Bristol is a good university in a city that offers a good night out and it's students much like the five preceding universities come
from a largely public / independent school background (Private school for American readers). It's strength in the arts also secure its place on this list. LSE is a bit of a curiosity. While prestige-wise it is undoubtedly second only to Oxbridge, it's students are an odd mix to say the least. The extremely international intake is likely to appeal to certain people, but not everyone, hence why it has slipped so many places. Next is Imperial, again like LSE probably a top 5 university and well known, however it's concentration on sciences and an 80-20 guy to girl ratio can be off putting to say the least. Finally King's while it is not as strong academically as the others on the list it has one of the finest Classics departments in the country, an excellent law department, and it isn't UCL. Finally honourable mentions to SOAS and the RAC both are narrow in their focus but in SOAS' case are excellent academically or in RAC's case have great parties and an eclectic intake.

Questions, comments, raging disagreement?

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