Choosing a University – Russell Group Universities

Are Russell Group universities ‘simply the best’?

If you are busy filling in your UCAS form now, or thinking about university in the future, its only natural to want to get into the best place possible. It will hopefully mean you to enjoy your studies, make some great friends, quite possibly meet your future employer whilst studying and many other reasons. There can be a perception that the Russell Group universities are ‘simply the best’. This blog will look into this a bit more.

Lets start with clarifying what the Russell Group actually is. It’s a group of 24 British universities, who are well known as much for their research work as offering a range of traditional degree courses. They are spread all over the country, and include institutions like Edinburgh, Kings College, Durham, Bristol, Queen Mary, Cardiff, Birmingham and Leeds. Because they are so well known, they tend to get applications from all over the world, giving them an international student population. Want to know more? https://russellgroup.ac.uk/about/our-universities/

There are some really good reasons for applying for a Russell Group university. Their reputations have been built over time. These reputations include aspects like having good facilities, undertaking lots of cutting edge research which undergraduates can find out about and sometimes help with, great links with a range of graduate employers and offering popular courses like law, medicine and psychology. Because of their size, they will have an active and diverse student union and plenty of sports teams and other student societies you can get involved in. They will also have lots of opportunities to do further study after your undergraduate degree. Potential students often don’t realise the range of international students that they could be mixing when they choose their degree courses. Does this matter? Well, one very positive outcome could be getting to know people that you could visit when they return home, or who might be able to help you if you want to look for work in their home country!

These universities are not the only option in town though. In total there are over 150 universities in the UK, with over 35,000 courses, taking about 500,000 students a year. So alongside these 24 universities, there are a range of other really good other options too. Non Russell Group universities offer a really wide range of degree courses that will give good employability outcomes. For instance, did you know that there are 40 medical schools across the country? Getting a medical degree from any of them will start you off well on your medical career, regardless of RG ‘status’! Every degree subject offered by a Russell Group university will be offered elsewhere too and often with similar content and good student outcomes. Russell Group universities are often very big, which can be a really good reason to consider them, but smaller and more specialist universities can be worth a thoroughly good look at too. These smaller universities often started out as specialists in areas like teaching, drama and agriculture. Being a student at a smaller institution means you get to know staff and your whole cohort far better, where you aren’t just another number!

So, in thinking through what degree choices to apply for and where, there are a number of factors to take into account in deciding which universities are ‘simply the best’ for you. Don’t just assume your target list should be full of Russell Group! Factors like distance from home, how urban the setting is (Manchester vs Lincoln for instance), how big the university is or what specific facilities you may want are worth considering. Other factors might be what the accommodation is like or what employer links the university has for your degree subject choice. The Russell Group universities are most definitely worth considering, and for several subjects are often ‘simply the best’ if you read various league tables like https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings and https://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2021/sep/11/the-best-uk-universities-2022-rankings (league tables are useful but not the ‘be all and end all’!). But don’t just choose somewhere on the assumption that it will be ‘best for you’ because it’s a Russell Group university, go and have a look – and be inspired by several universities and their opportunities!

Here at My Uni Choices we specialise in helping students, parents & educators make the best choices. Review all the Universities & Courses here or discover more About Us & the best uni courses for you, finally if you’re ready let’s take The Test to find out what course or degree you should do.


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