University is one of the biggest step-ups a person will take. The content is harder, the hours are longer and most of all, you’ll be living on your own for the first time. However, before you even think about any of these, you’ll need to choose a university to go to.
In the UK, there are 164 different higher education providers, of which you can only apply to five. It’s important that you consider the different options, and whether it matters to you which university you go to or not. Comparatively, it doesn’t matter which university you go to – it matters as long as it’s the right university for you.
For more information about which factors should be considered when choosing a university, whether it matters which university you go to and the best universities in the UK, keep reading!
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Does it matter which university you go to?
Essentially, whether the university you go to matters or not depends on what you’re looking for. If you go to a university that doesn’t offer the course you want to study, you’ll end up taking a subject you don’t enjoy. It’s important that you spend a good amount of time looking for a university which offers a course you like the sound of.
You should be able to imagine yourself studying at the university. Sometimes, a university can sound perfect for you on paper. However, if you don’t like the atmosphere, the location or the city itself, then chances are, it’s not the university for you.
Take a look at this article on the UCAS website for a good idea of how to choose the right course. Alternatively, you can read this article from UCAS to find out more about choosing the right university for you.
Does the university you go to matter if you get good grades?
Getting a degree of any kind is a massive achievement. No matter which university you go to, it will take hard work and dedication to receive the grades you’re looking for. However, some university degrees are considered to be more difficult than others. For example, Oxford University or the University of Cambridge are notoriously difficult.
The university grading system is the same wherever you go. At the end of their degree, all students are awarded one of four levels if they pass. These are broken down into a first, a 2:1, a 2:2 and a third. For more information about degree grades, read this article from Think Student.
As well as the grades being the same, the grade boundaries are also the same across all universities. They are calculated by combining all your percentages from the three or four years of your degree and finding an average. You can read about the grade boundaries in this Think Student article.
Although all universities use the same grading system and grade boundaries for all students, better universities teach harder content and set more difficult exams. For this reason, a first at a Russell group university, such as Oxford, is a lot more difficult to achieve than a first at a lower-class university.
If you’re looking to apply for university, it’s important that you know the better the university, the harder you’ll need to work for the same grade. Therefore, the university you go to matters if you want the best chance of achieving high grades.
Do employers care about university rankings?
Most of the time, it is unimportant which university you go to. What is far more important is making sure you achieve the right grades. As mentioned before, you will receive one of four grades at the end of your degree. This is what employers will look for first, before which university you attended.
Although most students aim to achieve top grades anyway, when it comes to applying for jobs, most employers aren’t so interested in the grades, but simply the degree itself. Of course, it is important to work hard and achieve the best grade possible. However, interviewer’s want to see that you have the ability to study to a higher level and the dedication to spend three years on the same subject.
Sometimes, employers may look at the university you attended. If the job you are applying for is highly competitive and there are too many applicants with the same grades and experience, the university ranking will be taken into consideration.
However, this is not something you should worry about. There are plenty of well-paying jobs available on the market who do not look at university rankings. Whilst it opens more opportunities going to a Russell Group university, it is more important that you study at a university you like.
For more information about how universities can boost your career, have a look at this Uni Compare rankings table.
Does it matter which university you attend for jobs?
Again, it doesn’t matter which university you go to when it comes to being able to find a job. That said, some universities take a more active approach in guiding students towards a certain career path than others. If you think you may need extra help in finding a job post-university, looking for a university that takes the time to help its undergraduates is important.
At lots of universities, you can participate in what is called a “placement year”. This is organised by the university and allows students to work in an office or practical environment. A placement year gives students a taste of what working in the real world is like.
They also gain experience which employers love to see on applications. For more information about what is involved in a placement year and its many benefits, click here for this Think Student article.
However, even if your university does not offer a careers service, the government website offers a brilliant careers platform. Check out this page from the National Careers Service containing careers advice.
What are the best universities in the UK?
Universities are ranked each year based on thousands of different variables. If you want to go to a top-class university, have a look at this list from The Complete University Guide. This combines all the different factors, student-staff ratios and individual course scores to give an overall interpretation of how good the university is.
However, it’s important to look at more than just the overall scores. Depending on which course you want to study, it’s vital to look at which universities are the most well-respected. For example, although the University of Reading comes in at number 31 on the overall rankings, it is top of the table for the real estate course table.
All these tables can be found on The Complete University Guide’s website.