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University League Tables 2013 - what does it all mean?


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The complete University League Table has been released for 2013, with a few noticeable changes from 2012.

Oxford, formerly number one in 2011, has dropped to third, breaking the chain of an Oxbridge top two which has been the status quo for years. Cambridge has held on to the top spot, with The London School of Economics (LSE) coming second. The majority of the Russell Group universities remain the same, such as Bath, ranking at number 10, Bristol at 11, and York at 12. Imperial College London is at 4, Durham at 5, and with Warwick and St Andrews drawn at 6. 

The rankings are assessed on entry standards, student satisfaction, graduate prospects and research/ resources, to give an overall score. Of entry standards Cambridge ranks the highest, but student satisfaction is a little more relative. Cambridge scores a 4.2 (maximum 5), as does Oxford, but Buckingham, which is ranked overall at number 55 on the League Table, scores a 4.4. The average score was 4.1, with Imperial scoring below the majority at 3.9, despite its high rank. It ranks second highest for graduate prospects (87.1).

Other universities with high graduate prospects included LSE (1) University College London (3), Oxford, (4) and Kings College London (5). Interestingly, Loughborough had relatively low entry requirements by comparison to other highly ranked universities, at number 14.

Asides the official league table, other compilations have been put together to make a picture of UK universities.

The WhatUni Student Choice Awards voted The University of East Anglia the Best Overall, with the Best Student's Union and accommodation. Durham was voted the best for clubs, societies, courses and lectures. Surrey scooped the prize for career prospects, and Newcastle for city life.

All of this considered, it all boils down to one thing when it comes to university - and that's what you do with it. Remember, university is your experience. I can speak for friends with a variety of university backgrounds -one who took a degree in shoe designing, who we all thought was bonkers, and now has gone on to work for Ralph Lauren fresh from graduation. Others have had an amazing time whether there university is number 1 or number 80. And whilst a University such as London Metropolitan or The University of Creative Arts might not be a Russell Group , it might have the exact course you see yourself doing, and provide a direct route to the career you want.

So whilst I suggest having a look at the table -The Complete University Guide, or The Guardian Official, or The Times Good University Guide, all are much the same. Don't be too hung up on labels. I was slightly dismayed when I noted the comparatively low percentage The University of Essex received for career prospects - but know that I have thrown myself into every opportunity the Student's Union has to offer to hopefully not make me another statistic.  And these extra opportunities are what make uni such a fantastic experience - and are there for everyone.

More stats...

 1.       According to WhatUni, Leeds University has the best "Eye Candy".

2.       The University of Essex placed last in a survey of student sex.

3.       The Top 3 Universities in the world are all in the US: The Californian Institute of Technology (CalTech), Harvard, and Stanford.

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