The Tab guide to choosing what uni you should go to
Will I look try-hard if I apply to Leeds twice??
There are countless university rankings, guides to uni town nightlife, rankings of student satisfaction and graduate prospects. But, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't going through all of these just completely boring? I need a more straightforward guide to choosing uni.
Like yeah it is really important to pick a uni based on stuff like the reputation of your course, the cost of living and whether or not you're going to get a job afterwards. But it's no secret the things students actually care about is what unis are most fashionable? Where do the most fuckboys go? Which uni does the most drugs? Where's the edgiest uni? How try hard am I going to look at Manchester Met? Do all Oxbridge students vote Tory?
Here is a guide that combines all the 'important' stuff, plus a little dash of what students really care about when they pick a uni.
Which are officially the top unis
The British universities that appear in the top 50 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings are: Oxford (1st), Cambridge (2nd), Imperial College London (8th), University College London (16th), London School of Economics (25th), University of Edinburgh (27th) and King's College London (36th).
The top ten unis according to The Complete University Guide are: Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics (LSE), Imperial College London, St Andrews, Durham, Loughborough, Lancaster, Warwick and University College London (UCL).
According to The Guardian the top ten British universities are: Cambridge, Oxford, St Andrews, Loughborough, Durham, Bath, Imperial College London, Warwick, Lancaster and Leeds.
A full list of the Russell Group unis can be found here.
So if you're looking for a uni that consistently ranks well, your top choices are: Cambridge and Oxford (shock) and Imperial College London.
Unis by student population
The population of a uni will determine the vibe you find there. Small unis won't have as bigger nightlife as larger ones, with more pubs and bars as nightlife. Unis with a large population are more likely to have a range of nightlife options. These are the top unis for their intake of both UK and non UK students. So if you want to go somewhere that is literally so unay – these are your best bets:
UoM is a campus uni just south of the city centre. It has completed the biggest investment in buildings and facilities ever seen at a British university and say that their city is among the cheapest in the country for students to live in.
Notable alumni from there include Benedict Cumberbatch, Jack Whitehall, Joe Lycett and Judge Rinder.
Given Manchester is a big city, there's tonnes of stuff to do and loads of nightlife options. Plus, UoM ranked third in The Tab vote for the country's most try hard uni. Take from that what you will.
UCL is one of the UK's top ranked universities, and is located in central London. UCL was the first university in England to welcome students of any religion and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men.
Notable alumni include all of Coldplay, who formed there, the inventor of the telephone and Ricky Gervais.
And obviously, it's in London which is pretty cool.
UoB is a Russell Group and world top 100 ranked uni, just by the centre of Birmingham.
The typically 'red brick' campus contains the well known 'campus symbol' Old Joe – The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower.
Notable alumni include Ben Shephard, Chris Tarrant and Ann Widdecombe. And Bran Stark from Game of Thrones goes there!! What a mad bunch.
The uni is walking distance from the city centre and it was one of the first colleges for students of all faiths and backgrounds.
Notable alumni from UoL include Chris Pine, Corinne Bailey Rae and the Brownlee brothers.
Notable alumni from Manchester Met includes Julie Walters, John Bishop, Gethin Jones and Vernon Kay. Plus, Rhona and Cain from Emmerdale. Amazing.
The Tab's choice
The Tab has created a uni ranking based on what you actually care about. Forget boring stuff like student satisfaction, staff to students ratios or career prospects. Chuck that out and focus on how cheap a pint is going to be if you go to Nottingham, how much carnage the halls in Sussex are and if the rumours are true that everyone in Newcastle is a 10/10.
The top ranked uni is Manchester – mainly because the nightlife is a 10/10 and pints cost like £2. It's pretty cheap to rent there, the people are quite fit and there's loads of takeaways. On to a winner.
In third is Sheffield. This uni scored 10/10 for its takeaway options which is obviously a very valid thing to consider before committing to a uni town. There's also an equal boy to girl ratio on campus and the people there aren't that annoying – perfect.
In fourth is good ol' Oxford. I guess it's not all studying in a shitty student room because Oxford scored 10/10 for its halls. Also the area is top for aesthetics – so your insta feed will always be beaut.
Then in fifth is Glasgow. Decent nightlife, decent aesthetics and decent pint prices. It's all just pretty decent in Glasgow.
Don't forget clearing
If you don't get into your top or insurance unis on results day then you can always try clearing. This opens up the application process all over again and you can still get in contact with unis to see if they will offer you a place.
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