When students start the process of applying to universities, there are many different factors to take into account. Location! Course reviews! Employment rates! Then a few terms get thrown in, which can confuse students even more! ‘Russell Group universities’ is one of these terms.
Most students know that this group of universities are seen to be better than others, however they may not know the reason for this. Regardless, students often aim to apply to Russell Group universities as they believe they are the best ones. However, is this true?
Put simply, Russell Group universities can be seen as the best. This is because they offer many research and work experience opportunities. They are seen as prestigious and therefore, may be preferred more by employers. However, Russell Group universities may not be the best for every student, as this is based on personal and individual needs. Other universities also may be better at certain courses.
If you want to discover whether the Russell Group universities are the best and whether you should apply to them, check out the rest of this article.
Disclaimer: Whether Russell Group universities are seen as the best or not is based on subjective opinion. This article reflects the opinion of the student writer and may not reflect your own.
Table of Contents
What are Russell Group universities?
You may have heard about a special collection of universities known as ‘Russell Group’. There are 24 different universities which belong to this group, and they are all seen as prestigious.
This is because they are committed to producing the very best research, they have strong connections with public and business sectors, and they offer exceptional learning and teaching opportunities.
The Russell Group universities collectively produce two thirds of the world leading research produced in UK universities and support more than 260,000 jobs all throughout the country! They also work with international businesses and multinational organisations.
You can find out more about this on the Russell Group university website, if you click here.
What are the different Russell Group universities?
Each Russell Group university is unique and has their own interesting history, however they share similar goals and all of the characteristics already mentioned. The 24 Russell Group universities are listed below:
- 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 and 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
As you can see, they are scattered all throughout the country. It will probably be easy to find one near you!
What is so special about Russell Group universities?
Russell Group universities are seen as important because of the amount of research they complete and offer to students. Russell Group universities are offered many research grants.
This allows them to attract academics at the top of their respective fields. Not only does this benefit the university’s reputation for research, but it also allows students to receive the highest quality teaching from these experts.
Russell Group universities are also special because they tend to have higher completion rates. This means that the student’s success from these universities is also high.
You can find out more information about Russell Group universities on this article from WhatUni. Russell Group universities produce many highly qualified students, and the statistics show purely why Russell Group universities are so special.
For example, this article from Newcastle University shows how Russell Group universities produce four out of five doctors and dentists!
Do employers prefer Russell Group universities?
Most of the time, employers are not fussed about which university you went to in order to get your degree. They care more about the grades that you have achieved.
Therefore, it is not essential to go to a Russell Group university to be desired by employers. However, there is no denying that these universities carry a certain level of prestige.
This means that some employers may be more biased towards candidates who have completed degrees from these universities. This is especially true if the Russell Group university a candidate has gone to is known for success in the degree they need for the job.
Graduates from Russell Group universities have access to extremely useful opportunities. For example, they have access to several schemes which allow them to get access to high quality work experience.
This can set them apart from many other candidates. You can find out more information about this on this article from Times Higher Education.
However, don’t worry about going to a Russell Group university. It is not the most important characteristic an employer looks for in a potential employee.
This is because they care more about your skill set and your achievements. Some jobs even really care about your personality more than grades!
If you want to find out whether it really matters which university you go to, check out this article from Think Student.
Is a Russell Group degree better?
Despite the Russell Group universities being seen as the most prestigious with high success rates, their degrees are not necessarily better than other university degrees.
This is because the Russell Group is a self-selected association. This means that some universities may actually have chosen not to be a part of the group.
In fact, the universities in this group are not the most excellent universities in the UK. For example, the University of Bath, the University of Lancaster and the University of St. Andrews are not part of the Russell Group collection, despite being highly respected.
However, these universities are extremely highly ranked in success rates. They are not part of the Russell Group, however, arguably can be seen to be just as good.
Further to this, some universities you may not expect could actually be better for specific courses. An example of this is Brighton & Sussex Medical School, and Keele University, which are both ranked within the top 10 for Medicine courses in the UK, according to this ranking by The Guardian for 2023.
The best thing to do is research the course you are interested in and compare different universities to decide which is the best university for you! To find out more information, check out this article from Edvoy.
Is going to a Russell Group university important?
Going to a Russell Group university is not the most important thing in the world! Russell Group universities are special because they are renowned for their established research processes and have been around for many years.
However, other universities which are not part of the Russell Group can be just as good! This depends on what course you do.
This means that going to a Russell Group university is not important. There are plenty of universities with specific courses which are just as good, or even better than Russell Group university courses!
Russell Group is just a name to highlight which universities have long histories and are established. As increasing amounts of students are going to university, every university has been getting bigger and better.
Therefore, Russell Groups may have the history and long lists of research they have completed, however many newer universities are upping their game. More and more universities are becoming research based and offer so many opportunities.
While they are often placed high in university rankings, don’t think that going to Russell Group universities is the most important! However, to find out if rankings really matter, check out this article from Think Student.
Are Russell Group universities the best for you?
Due to Russell Group universities being renowned for their research, there is immense competition for places on the courses they offer. This means, that for the majority of the time, you may need higher grades to get into these universities.
There may also be more pressure on students who get accepted into these universities, as they may feel the need to do well, as they have been given useful opportunities.
If you want to do more academic courses, Russell Group universities may be best because they tend to have more teaching staff available per student and provide more research opportunities. However, to really discover whether going to a Russell Group university is the best path for you, you need to conduct some research!
A Russell Group university may have an exceptional Chemistry course but a not so good Art course. Therefore, if you are interested in a certain subject, such as the ones mentioned, it would be extremely useful to compare these specific courses, to find the best for you.
If you want to find out whether a course is really right for you, check out this article from Think Student.
Russell Group universities are fantastic. However, are they really the best? This is for you to decide, based on your own opinions and research.