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University League Tables

School's out! Time to run out of school or college, tie around head, shirt untucked and shoelaces untied just like the TV adverts. Regardless of the way you exit your education establishment, AllAboutCareers.com recommends that you spend your time away from school relaxing but also looking at university league tables and attending open days. The UCAS deadline will come around sooner than expected and it’s important to start researching which university you’d like to attend to continue your glittering career in education.

University League Tables: Things to Consider

University league tables are often the go-to place for students as they consider universities. Rankings rarely change at the top and Oxford and Cambridge are always number one and two, with Russell Group universities such as Warwick, Nottingham, Exeter, Sheffield and Kings College London ranking well too. This isn’t particularly useful to students, as it merely confirms what they already know. Given that entry requirements and research are taken into account when ranking universities, tables are always going to contain an element of tradition. Oxford and Cambridge will always demand students with straight A* grades and research grants are always going to be given to the best lecturers, who are usually at the top universities.

However, there are some things that are included in the university league tables that soon-to-be undergraduate students should take into account. For example, the Guardian university league tables also factor in student satisfaction of their course, teaching and feedback and also what percentage of students are employed after six months. This is obviously really useful because you want to enjoy whatever course you end up doing, and given that one key reason for going to university is to make sure you have better career prospects, kind of handy that the Guardian let you know how you’ll fare six months after leaving, isn’t it?

Of course, university league tables aren’t entirely useless, but you should try to develop your eye for taking in the useful information only. Additionally, if you’re sure of what course you want to do, the Guardian also provide subject league tables allowing you to get a feel for the university and subject.  

Other Things to Consider

It would be unwise to choose your university based entirely on league tables, otherwise everybody would want to go to Oxford and Cambridge. On top of this, some universities won’t offer all courses. For example, you might want to study performing arts but Warwick may not offer this course. Therefore, using the UCAS course search function is a good method to narrow down your choices.

Open days are a must too. Think about it, you wouldn’t live somewhere if you hadn’t checked out the area before and got a feel for what it’s like. The same rule applies for university – why would you study somewhere if you hadn’t attended an open day and met some of the students and staff currently there? Your parents did this for your primary and secondary schools, but now you’re old enough to do it yourself.

We aren’t going to lie, there’s much more to being a student than just attending lectures and planning your career (though this should be a big part of it!). We appreciate that students might like the odd party here and there, as well as playing sport and joining societies and you may also live with your friends. That’s why looking at universities with high rates of student satisfaction is also useful. The student satisfaction surveys take into account everything from teaching to living conditions to social life, so they usually provide a good insight into how the whole experience will be.

Choosing a university is a lengthy, but also fun, process. By using a combination of university league tables, UCAS, open days and satisfaction surveys, you’ll find the university that’s right for you!