Well the old academic snobbery question again?! I think this question will continue to cause controversy into the 22nd century when 50 more new universities have appeared! Firstly, to look at this question we must first define what is a new uni. In some respects it is the ex- polys that have gained university status and in other ways it is the current universities that don't have the old boy networks that are stereotypical of traditional red brick uni's. Anyway in my opinion a new uni is any uni that has the quality of a degree questioned on the basis of its time as with university status. We can therefore ask the question of whether a new university is better than the old universities and right answer (and in many cases the real answer) is yes. However, employers relate the old universities with high academic requirements in order to get in and therefore a better quality graduate. This stereotype, especially in the city and other traditional institutions this opinion is deep rooted and held up by the 'old boy' network that i talked of previously. Whether this will go only time will tell but in the mean time the question of old vs. new largely depends on what you want from a degree. If you are not sure what you want out of your degree or you are not sure what career path to take then it is probably best to go to a old university or a university that consistantly recieves good press and does well in league tables ( for example uni's such as Bath and loughborough are good 'new uni's'). The reason i suggest this is because for courses such as economics or politics most employers will not have league tables in thier head and can only associate the courses with the uni itself. This means that if a university is deemed weak academically or is ow in league tables but has a very good politics department the employer is unlikely to recognise this and the graduate might regret his or her decision to go there. However if you intend to go into academia or a vocational degree then the instition (old or new) is very important. For example if you want to be a psychologist then your respective employer is likely to be 'clued up on the who's who of the academic world'. The very narrow minded conclusion to my thoughts is that for non- vocational degree's the institution and good A levels are the all important factor. To look more closely at the question of old vs. new i would like to comment on the 'green welly brigade' that do exist at old uni's but must just be excepted! I became uni fresh out a boys grammer school and despite mixing with a reasonably respectable group of peers i was shocked by the amount of snobbery at university. At first it was very frustrating because they have a natural arrogance and spend a great deal of time driving around in thier new golf GTI's with thier rugby shirt collars flapping out the window! However by the time i reached my second year they were my friends and became much more down to earth. However, some don't and some are still wearing there school rugby shirts when they are 21, but these people tend to settle into thier own limited friendship groups where they feel safe and unintimidated. In conclusion, there is no set answer on what university to go to because it will be a different story for everyone but whatever choice you make be happy and enjoy it. Also don't worry about 'Rahs' because most of them are alright and those that are not are not worth the time. I have included my Ads/Disads for Old Uni's. Please appreciate my lighthearted humour!
I don’t think there’s any possible way of writing an utterly unbiased op on this topic unless you didn’t got to a university, old or new. Now ops are supposed to be balanced I know, but since all the ops I’ve read on this subject are from new uni students / graduates, I figure that if I write this I might even the score a bit (or probably just bias it in the other direction knowing me). So, some differences and similarities between them and us. ** Courses ** When I decided to apply to university, I chose to stick to the well worn educational path I was already on – a single sex private school and a traditional university. Actually, that’s only partly true. I started looking for a course of interest to me, and I stumbled, like you do, across computational linguistics. A bit of research later and I’d learnt that this was only available at UMIST, where I am now and which, despite having the word “institute” in the title, is an old university. UCAS forms as we know require up to 6 unis to be chosen, and had I found the same course at a new uni as well, I don’t know what I’d have done. I might have thought about applying, but with the parents and teachers I had, I would probably have been convinced not to. The thing is though, I was never faced with this since generally speaking, the two types of unis will offer different courses. Now before you start shouting me down for being wrong, stay with me. I’m not denying the fact that with broad subjects – English, business, chemistry for example – you could chose from almost any institution in the country, but with specialist courses, like CL, or underwear design, you’re stuck with either one of the other, like it or lump it. ** Standards ** The entrance requirements for new universities are generally lower and so there might be some thick people there but as well there might well be some clev er ones who could have gone to an old uni but decided not to for some reason or another. That being said, I was accepted here based on a conditional offer of 20 points, but some of my friends off to ex-polys needed more than this. Generally speaking though, you’re looking at AAA to CCC for an old place, and maybe BCC down to EE for a new one. The government’s desperate to get more and more youngsters into uni when they leave school, but they can’t make them cleverer over night and so they need places which will let them in for knowing their 7 times table and little more. Teaching once you’re there is one thing to consider though. After all, if you were a lecturer, why would you choose new X over old Y? You’d have to have a reason really. It does depend on the uni – or rather the field of study. If new X is the leader in its field for the subject then they’ll be able to attract the best staff and pupils, even if the other subjects on offer leave a little to be desired. At my uni it’s all about initials really – those and titles. Every one of my lecturers is chairman of some international forum, or world renowned for their research or has written an entire library of books. Looking at some stats now, old universities always top the charts – looking at the top 20 alone on the latest Times league tables, every single one is old rather than new. These tables are based on a wide range of criteria including teaching and research quality, A level entry standards, student:staff ratio, destinations of graduates and drop out rates. ** Facilities ** Tough one. New unis don’t necessarily have better facilities because they’re newer (I remember a girl at school saying I’d be worse off here than she would be at the university of the middle of no where because hers was a newer place and so would have new things – you know believe it or not love, they didn 217;t have PCs in the 1800s when UMIST was getting started…..) Some old places have better facilities than other old places, and some new ones have better facilities than new ones – it’s a question of funding and generous alumni more than when they were founded. Many unis share facilities though which makes the distinction a little blurry. UMIST and the Met for example have shared swimming pools and sports centers – something neither would probably have been able to afford on their own. Technically we therefore have the same quality of sports provisions, despite having been founded more than a century apart. ** Location ** Sorry to be blunt, but the places some new unis can be found in are pants. I mean Preston? Hardly a happenin’ city…. This isn’t usually a problem though, since many cities (Manchester, London, Leicester, Nottingham, York….) are home to old and new, so you can get the location you want without having to compromise your “never touching an old university” principles. ** Career Prospects ** In the olden days, in order to get the best jobs you had to be an Oxbridge graduate with, preferably, a public school background and nice well respected parents. Time are achanging though, and more and more now we see adverts for jobs stating “graduate required” – at this point it doesn’t really matter where you went necessarily, it’s just about the fact you went somewhere. At the end of the day, the experience and your personality will probably win you the job, even if you did go to the Met rather than University (local names of Manchester Metropolitan and University of Manchester). I know people who have graduated from London and Reading with 1st class degrees who can’t get jobs other than in call centers, and people who went to much newer places, graduated with 2:1s or 2:2s and are now well on their way to the top of their chosen career ladder. ** Final Thoughts ** At the end of the day, I’m happy here and I know I’m getting a good education. It comes down to what sort of person you are – if you are dilligent about working then you'll do this no matter where you are - similarly if you want to party even the toughest courses at the most established unis won't stop you. Check for courses – you might not have a choice – and for location, two things which might well end up being more important than 100 years of history in the end. Until your next UCAS form, take care of yourself, and each other :p
These courses are stoked dude.like major rollers man. There up to G of local villagers and their vicars on our awfully parochial local BBC Look East regional news show. So I thought I would have a dig at the so-called New Universities while I wait for sanity. So you have you’re a-Level General, Sports and Media Studies with 12 points in the bag and your career in Grandstand a reality. Lets see if we can find an appropriate New Uni for these distinguished passes. With three Ds (correct me if im wrong) you are in the elite %40 of the nation that hasn’t enough for a proper Uni.But its just enough to avoid a life of menial jobs and a job in the Call Center. Avoid universities that have a large intake of mature students. They generally have a lot of students with minimal if no A-Level requirements festering in the lower leagues. There will be lots of crehes and inner city faces, but not many intellectual beards and It girls brothers. Choose a big city if you want to party hard. Or if your paying for it then aim low. The cost of living and studying in London kicks off at seven grand With only four and a half available from the New Labor loans..Elsewhere it is on average 5,300 notes per year with only three eight available. Mummies and daddies bare a third of the costs in these increasingly alienating anti-working class days. Just as the blue collar hard workers though they were going to get a piece of the pie, Blair closed the loop hole with crippling debts. On average the non-traditional Uni goers who these new institutions are catering for will over six thousand-pound debts in there mid twenties. This will make it extremely hard for you to get a loan or a mortgage. Yes you didn’t think about that did you. Well Blair did and he wants us all to get hooked on credit in our younger years so the economy gets used to being credit driven. How many of you have paid off that credit you ran up on holiday last year. Still paying the minimum three percent!.Well half of that is interest and it will take you seven years to pay of five hundred quid at that rate. Ok, bottom of the undesirable educational institutes is of course in the equally undesirable Liverpool.Paisley errr University/college/remand center has a rating of under %5 for its departmental performance. To scale it for you, Cambridge is a heafty %93. Napier is next and I have no idea where that is. New Zealand maybe! The forth Division of universities houses Herriot Watt, Derby De mont and Bournemouth.But boy can you party at a seaside resort. Why not Hertfordshire where you can have most of Manchester Uniteds players and fans as neighbors!. I hear Glasgow Caledonian does an excellent course in outside awareness and fund raising. Also known as street vagrancy. Division Three offers marine management at Portsmouth or Street refuse municipal management (Head street cleaner) That is an actually course where as the Scottish one obviously isn’t, honest!..Oh the football studies degree at Liverpool John Moores is already full, sorry. Division Two is surprisingly housing Edinburgh, Tony Blairs and many other luminaries’ old haunt. Sussex is higher the Brighton Uni in the town but obviously offers the best nightlife in the country. Another beach party Town College in Swansea also offers spurious marine degrees of Sun Sea and leisure. Fortunately its full of Welsh people and the anti English mob. Helen”I like blinking I do” from Big Brother graduated from here you know. Another social degree is Plymouths surfing degree course. It lasts an incredible two years no less.I suppose the first year is how to order a beer in surf speak,”Yo dude,flip me a brew”. The only Mickey Mouse Uni in the Nationwide first would seem to be Central Lancashire.It offers three types of PE degrees and one in child care. Oh I forgot about Sheffield H allam and the golf course management syllabus. We have a bit of a paradox at the moment with more uni places and an ever-increasing A-Level pass rate. Blair wants as many as possible in higher education and off the dole before the recession the media are talking up kicks in. Of the students that entered college with 21 points as an example. Only two thirds completed enough of the course to be graded. Lecturers described student attendance as minimal at lectures and plentiful in the bars. They should know as they were in them. North London’s Philosophy dept managed a %60 percent first year drop out rate.I bet they never saw that coming.Another former Polytechnic in the capitol trying to fill places with anyone was East London.There economics students had only 47 percent finishing the three year course. %35 of the intakes had no A-Levels with some having nothing at all on paper. Huddersfield Uni had a quarter of its math’s degree course people without an A-Level in the subject. Even the top Math University department at University College London outside of the big boys suffered a third of their supposedly smart kids failing modules. An embarrassing topic and failure rate at Northumbria in library management was a sad 38 percent. Its pretty clear that the unis that usually rely on clearing to fill the bulk of their expanding places are crap. An unprecedented four universities were the only ones to be full up with this years intake. The rest still have places with some only half full and in need of that revenue from dumbo students to stay a float. Even a cool and academic red brick like Manchester has been criticized heavily for its lack of academic rigor. Ok it’s was in leisure and tourism, but it’s a great example of how desperate they are to bring in the pennies. One bright spot is the unfashionable Warwick that got an impressive %66 in the rating system. So if you pulled that particular short straw things are on the up. Heres some useful website if you are lining up a three year p***s up or you have a brain to use. www.hero.ac.uk www.unofficial-guides.com www.potter-guides.com www.push.co.uk www.panicsOver..com www.opendays/clearing: These guys are all about clearing and where to go for the party or qualification, or both if you’re a swot. If you are short of money or your parents are then try these. www.dfes,gov.uk/studentsupport/: www.scholarship-search.orguk www.sic.co.uk………….These are the official student loan people. These help if you get in trouble…. www.nusonline.co.uk www. troubleatwork.org.uk www.bunk.com………..This one is the best and most comprehensive.
The Sunday Times published the clearing lists 'at a glance' this morning - and there are hundreds of places! For the first time ever, Universities such as Durham are offering places through clearing - and in subjects such as geography, which are ranked 'excellant' at this particular institution. The reason for this increase in clearing places, I feel, is due to the ever increasing number of 'New Universities'. These universities are generally polytechnic colleges upgraded to University status. Fair enough, good for them. I'm all for encouraging Higher Education but it seems there are too many places available. I once read in the Times, that some Universities were being forced to accept students with D passes at A Level just so they had enough government funding for many departments to survive. Surely this detracts from the prestige of a University degree? Don't get me wrong, I think New Universities are great for subjects in the fields of Design, Tourism etc., that are not offered at the other Unis. But I think the entry requirements should be such that not every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to gain a place. I think that this generates a lazy attitude to school and exams - I had friends who completed 6th Year as a matter of course, sat the exams but didn't particularly work hard or worry since a place at the University of Paisley was almost guaranteed. I'm not trying to say that only students with 5 A's should be allowed to go to Uni, but at least make a Uni place something to be proud of. Now, back to clearing. It's a great system if you do make a mess of your exams - especially for the English and Welsh students how can't easily resit A levels and the appeal system isn't so readily used. However, there are so many places up for grabs this year simply because there are too many Universities! I really think that some of these New Universities, the ones struggling to fill p laces, should return to their College status, offer foundation course as a stepping stone to University and therefore increase the competiton for Uni places and also porvide an alternative route to a degree for those students who really didn't do so well in their A levels. Having said all that, New Universities such as Nottingham Trent (with incredibly high Graduate employment) and Northumbria (ranked top of the New University tables) have worked hard and really deserve their University status. But I'm sure their entry requirements reflect this. I think that every student should get the oppportunity to further their education and experience university or College life but not at the expense of lowering the value of a degree. More students than ever are going to University which is brilliant, but there needs to be a line drawn somewhere. A degree should be hard work and an achievement to be proud of, not just an ineviatable path following school.
This is one issue I feel quite confident on as 1 - I turned down several old universities to go to a new one, cause I heard good things and liked the course 2 - I ended up hating the new one and transferring to an old uni! I personally think their is a large difference between the older universities and the newer ones. This is understandable, in my view it is very difficult to produce a university in 10 years. Not only that but the newer universities are underfunded, only receiving half of what the older unis do per student. I think this is a scandal when you have to pay for your education. It is also not fair on the student. But please students stop the academic snobbery. It doesn't get you anywhere. It's always the people with semi-good A-Level scores in my experience. Those of us with 26-30 UCAS points don't feel the need to shove it down people's throats. You are also not helping the future, as prejudiced employers are still with us, helped by this snobbery. I know of people who will throw new uni CV's in the bin, even when these uni's are as good if not better than the older uni's in a particular area. This has to stop. But I would urge people that if they had a choice to go with the older unis. They have a completely different atmosphere. The new uni's have a lot more mature, part-time and local students and in some ways doesn't feel like a traditional uni. They have a lot more money, you have a better chance of getting a good job (rightly or wrongly), the atmosphere is better and you don't have to put up with jumped up twits criticising your choice of university. I know of very few people who regret going to a traditional uni. I know a few (including me) who didn't like the new. Also the level of interest in study seemed apathic, you are put in with people who have very low scores. With no disrespect to people, but if you can't get, say 10pts at A-Level should you re ally be at uni? Abolishing the new uni's would mean that tution fees could be abolished and grants brought back in. I realise this is controversial, but I think that the number of graduate jobs is shrinking. It is time to cut the provision, maybe at both old and new and bring back quality, funded places with a better guarantee of employment at the end. The new have edges, such as a less pretentious atmosphere and often good links with industry. But the grass is greener on the other side. If you can, go old. You won't regret it
I suppose that I am one of the few to have had experience in both the new and old university sector as I did my first degree in a new university and the second in an ancient one. However, even after that it is impossible to say for sure what the standards are- there are good factors in University A and there are good factors in University B, and also great variety between courses and faculties, so each university will have different strengths and weakness. I find it pretty interesting to see the rivalry between then, if we consider that the job of a university is to educate, then a new university that takes in a student with lower school qualifications and puts them out as degree standard is better that one that takes in someone who has already won the exam game. We also have to remember that the whole New/Old University debate is not new - There was another tranche of former polytechnics becoming universities- I think in the early 80's and nobody sees the division between these now. So it is likely that in the future this debate won't exist. The main difference I found seems to be in attitude, my experience, and that of my contemporaries in various universities seems to be similar. If you are at an old university people assume that you are intelligent and that the course is of a good standard and if you are at a new university they often assume the opposite. My new university didn't give an inch, if you handed in an assignment late you only got marked out of 80% of the available marks (this descending as the time went on). If you failed the exam, and the resit- you were out of the course til you passed it. A friend of mine at an 'old' university carried his first year chemistry for four years and had loads of resits, I had no resits and never handed in an essay late- but was told, by the employers market, that my degree wasn't as good. Interestingly after I passed my Masters degree from an ancient university, I became very employable. The ancient university seemed happy to accept my degree from the new university, and I did as well, if not a lot better than the students who had ancient degrees. So it seemed that my 4 years there (this is Scotland, we do four year degrees) didn't addle my brain. But boy did I meet prejudice, not from the lecturers, but from the other students, I had done arts, I had done it at the new university, therefore my head must be a turnip. Old universities don't have to try as hard to succeed, new ones do. As an aside, a friend of mine's father was a lecturer at an old university, he was told to curve the exam marks to allow 2nd year passes at 30%- as they couldn't afford to lose the funds - now I am not implying that that happens often- but that was an old established university with a great name for that particular department. That year the students weren't up to standard, and will probably now be in well paying jobs. Now had such a thing happened in a new university ! - they couldn't have taken that risk. I personally found the standard of tuition better in the new university, the tutors took more of an interest in you and you learned to think more. The lecture standard at the older university was much more variable, some would then say, oh well you got 'spoon fed' in your first course- I don't think that expecting handouts and exercises without errors on it as being spoon fed!it's just an excuse for shoddy preperation. Although in theory the exam passes required are lower, you have to remember that many of the students get into University through clearing - so if you are lucky and go into an old university by taking an'unpopular' choice of subject (with much lower grades) and then later change course. Sadly, if I had the choice again, I'd have gone to and old one, not because I think it would have educated me more, but because I'd have more respect and an ea sier time getting a decent job- I think that's tragic, people regretting where they studied purely because of prejudice. Not a great advert for the British education system.
We always fear what is new, isn’t that right? The change in the university system which won the polytechnics the right to refer to themselves as universities and award Bachelor degrees was met with widespread condemnation at the time. The snobbery surrounding the system of course continues to survive to thrive to this day. When asked which university he attended in Sheffield my flat mate always used to retort ‘the real one’, a comment which risked life and limb when voiced in front of a group of Hallem students. The prejudice of course cuts both ways, many Hallem students have a dreadful chip on the shoulder in regard to their university of choice. Students who attend The University of Sheffield are often dismissed as posh twits, and stuck up. There also is a ridiculous mutual fear of lynching or ridicule on both sides, which can divide the cities student population. This is of course all foolish bickering and the majority of students don’t really have an irrational hate of their counterparts based solely on the university of their choice but the myth prevails enough; that red brick universities are superior to the former polys, to still be causing problems ten years later. So lets try to have an objective look at this shall we? In 1992 when the polys were abolished and replaced by nice shiny ‘new’ universities they placed themselves in a completely different market to the one they operated previously. No longer content with offering vocational ‘job related’ qualifications, with their new status they decided to compete head on the red brick universities. Courses in arts subjects, sciences, engineering were soon offered. Now here’s a conundrum for you. If a degree in an arts subject qualifies you for very little in its own right then where is its worth? Well the employer’s answer has generally been: depends where you did it. If the university has a good reputation for academic excellent, then by gaining a good result you can prove your intelligence and even job related skills. For instance English and History and Philosophy teach you analyse interpret and dissect thought to create your own conclusions, skills that have value in the workplace. Note the reputation thing there? Yes where you did your degree if of great importance to an employer, they too study the Times League tables to scrutinise which universities are performing the best. Employers want to know they are getting the best staff they possibly can, and when it comes to the average management training scheme with around 16 places for the whole country they can afford to be picky Reputations of course are earned over a period of years and can not be created overnight. They are created by having well known authorities as lecturers, consistently excellent placing in the league tables and other less tangible factors. Having a long and glorious history with famed alumni can help too although it is not necessarily vital: witness the success of The University of York, which was only established in the 60s. So this placed the new vice-chancellors in a difficult position, they needed to get students in to fill their courses yet they were competing with longer established universities who could offer students better job prospects. The answer? Lower their entrance grades so more people make it to university. This is of course where the cynic in me starts to appear. You see more people at university equals less people claiming benefits and increasing the unemployment figures. Also more people at university gave the government an excuse to first cut grants and introduce loans and later to introduce tuition fees, as otherwise the country ‘could not afford it’. I suspect I am not the only one who smells the rat in an educational policy that advocates university education for all. In fact to my mind this is a very destructive policy as it’s slo wly cheapening the value of a degree. A degree was supposed to denote your intelligence and ability to perform in a certain subject. What value does it have when the world and his wife have one? It gets worse of course too, as universities do not have to answer to exam boards their marking is not moderated in the same way. Thus they can pretty much award the classification of degree they so desire. Obviously it doesn’t suit them to be handing all their students thirds, that sort of thing isn’t very impressive is it? However, is a 2:1 or a First handed out on a course where the average UCAS points score is ten really the equivalent of one where the average score was 26? Of course it’s not but it does devalue the degree with the higher UCAS points as not everyone pays attention to entry requirements of different universities. Now you might say this is a little unfair and I can see how the new universities are in a catch 22 situation. They need students to survive, yet because their university is perceived as worse then others they have to lower entry requirements to get students. These students are often therefore less able and so the university must then devalue standards to get an even grade distribution, thus the university's reputation gets worse rather then better and the cycle continues. There are of course exceptions to this rule, many of the newer universities have established a reputation for themselves as the place to study a subject. For instance, Sheffield Hallem for Communication Studies, Manchester Met for Primary Education. Even so outside these the specialised fields many employers are unaware of the university’s prowess in this particular field and may still disregard candidates that attended a ‘weaker’ university. Ironically teaching facilities at many of the newer universities are far superior to some of the old red bricks. Usually Purpose built, often with far more tutor-student contact time in their courses, there is a fair case to argue that the newer universities have an upper hand in some respects. From my experience, the library at Sheffield Hallam as far superior to my own university library, newer, better laid out and with far more books. This has started to be reflected in the Times League tables which has seen both Oxford Brooks and Sheffield Hallam climb above some of the older universities in the rankings for teaching quality. Employer’s perceptions however, have yet to see any great sea changes, although it should be noted that many companies now request business related degrees which the former polys have more experience of then the majority of the red bricks. So what are my conclusions? Well there is no reason to regard the newer universities as being particularly worse then the red bricks in many ways. As I’ve already pointed out they often if fact have far better facilities. However, the fact remains that too many students are attracted to attend these universities not because they have a passion for their chosen subject or think their employment prospects will be improved, but instead would like another three years of the student life style. Before I get an avalanche of angry comments I’d like to point out that I don’t believe for one moment that everyone who attended a former polytechnic was just looking for an extra three years out of work, or that students at the newer universities in general work any less then those at the red bricks. However, too many people attending university is making degrees meaningless. Everyone who has the ability should be able to attend university, those who do not however, should not. What is the point of an academic gold standard when everyone is capable of achieving some of it? The rising cost of a university education is being adversely effected by this, too many universities mean less overall funding so the some of the red bricks are now consider ing top up fees. This is just going to add to a two tiered system, so once again only the rich will be able to access the top universities. In my opinion there are now too many universities, and in the current climate of student debt not all of them can survive (for example the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside is already having to close some its campus due to falling student numbers). With the system currently in place the former polys never had a chance of breaking into the ‘elite’ league and on current form the majority of them never will. This is my own personal rant, no offence has been intended to anyone reading. Thank you and goodnight!
I did a year of a Geography degree in 1984 at Bath University and really worked hard for it. Recently I've thought about dosing three years doing one at a new Uni. on the south coast. Reading the prospectus at Brighton and Bournemouth I was stunned at how few lectures and easy the course looked even contemplated working most of the week and just going in for the important stuff, most of the syllabus was lectures and activity pap. My brother is doing an advanced computer degree at University College Northampton, which has yet to be named as a new Uni. But the powers that be have decided to call themselves it anyhow. In my brother’s class the marks spread after term exams is astonishing with the top pass mark near 80 percent and the bottom an incredible 6 percent. Now what are these people doing at college. The new unis are the old Polys from the mid 80s and are surely only there to keep people off the dole or doing pointless subjects to give them a little hope in the future which is a sea of Call Centers and data inputting for most of them. One advantages I have found and is listed as a perk is that you get to appear in the audience of those moronic morning TV talk shows and a free minibus down there.coooool man. The old stately universities are still taking the same middle class kids as they always did and probably will never really be affected by the current over spending in this sector. Amazingly though 90 percent of people who finish their course graduate! Just as many upgrade their final score on their CVs..How do you fail these things. I’m openly admitting that im taking a degree to avoid responsibility for the next three years doing a Spanish degree and will be sitting on the beaches of the south coast thinking of getting a few beers in and some nice clever girls who like mature guys. I know when you're thirty plus that companies are not interested in graduates from Mickey Mouse colleges and except that going in. I think it's fair to say that most people who get into these lesser unis are there for a social degree or an opportunity not afforded to them or their forefathers before. The new guys can offer degrees in anything from all accounts and pick up healthy cash rewards for every place offered hoping that the kids drop out and they bag the cash to throw at the ones who are likely to pass the exam, how ever few that maybe. If you are at a new Uni and finding it hard then maybe your not smart enough and should be working at a call center or backpacking around India. Middle class parents and some working class ones are as proud as can be that their Ben and Tobys are off to Plymouth Polly/College/University to do media studies, or Aquamarine leisure technology. But the reality is when they come out that the employers look at A-level passes first followed by class of degree, almost ignoring the type. I saw young James Mawdsley on TV last night. He was the guy who was locked up for protesting in Burma. Well the reason he went out there was that whilst studying for a Math’s and Physics degree he realized that he was out drinking every night and having fun doing little work and still passing the tests. Where was the challenge. Now he has a real test of his brain and being trying to help liberate Burma through his efforts and publicity. We have thick middle class kids doing art and design who have zero chance of getting a job in that field and of course end up working in a call center. Lets face it folks, university is and always will be a middle class finishing school, if not a right of passage. If the new unis help to blast away the sinister class barriers horray.if it helps give mea great three year p****s up in Brighton, horray.But if its degrees for everyone then theres no point or gold standard to them and we may as well buy them in a shop .
After reading previous opinions I'd like to point out that it doesn't really matter which university you go to. Your degree classification will depend on how hard you work. University is a very different place from school and college. It requires you, the student to put in the hard work work. Your tutors can only guide you. An old established university cannot make you work any harder than a new 'modern' university. My A level grades were ok. I got a B, C, D. These are neither the best or the worst of grades. These grades got me offers from the newer universities. The old universities did not want me. Out of my offers which came from Middlesex university and The university of East London, I chose to go to East London, as it offered the exact course I wanted to do. It seemed that the course package was almost tailored for me. I studied communication studies with information technology. I wanted to study a course that included IT but was media and journalism based, which was exactly what East London university offered. The point I would like to make is that university is not just a place to study, it is an experience. I feel that at The University of East London, I got the best uni experience because I was able to study exactly what I wanted to in a place which had a wonderful atmosphere and it was here that I learnt so much about life. I was a very quiet person who lacked confidence but after finishing my three years at university I have become a much more confident person, have learnt about the up's and down's in life and most importanly have learnt how to communicate with different types of people. I would like to conclude by saying that if you just want to study go to one of the old boring universities, but if you want the university experience, try one of the newer ones.
There is a conceived vast gap between the modern universities in the UK and the old ones - particularly from reputation. An old university has the advantage of being heard of by your potential employers - whereas allegedly modern universities have the advantage of being well-facilitated and contemporary. Well - to be honest employers aren't so much interested in where you studied but what you studied, and how successful you were - while they may have heard of an older university naturally, if they're worth their salt they will have heard of more modern institutions as well. And now to crush the second idea - I study at York university built in the 1960's, a relatively modern university. But that does NOT mean it's well-facilitated at all. In fact, because it was built more recently it seems to give them the excuse of not actually moving with the times - in other words it's all very 60'sish. While older universities are constantly having to update their interiors and facilities the more modern ones often fall behind simply because they think they've got a head start. Basically you shouldn't really be looking to hard into the age of the University. Go somewhere primarily that offers what you want to do, and somewhere that you actually want to live in for 3 years. If you go to the Open Days it really shouldn't matter. So long as you don't get swallowed by the fallacious stereotype that old universities are good and respectable, while new universities are bright and contemporary.
I cannot comment on universities over here, but as I did go to university in the States I feel I can comment on them. In America there are also the old, established universities-- the ivy league schools (Harvard, Yale, etc.) and the little ivies (Amherst, Williams, etc.)-- and there are the newer, less prestigious ones. Is one better than the other? You could get a great education at a lowly state university, and you could get a crap education at an ivy. Your education is what you make of it. There may be more opportunities and/or facilities at the old, rich places, but it fundamentally comes down to the student. And ultimately the only ones who care about where you went to University are the ones who feel they are somehow superior because of the name on their sheepskin. It really doesn't impress all that many people. If you are applying for a job and your future boss cares, and you went to a 'good' university, use it. Why not? But otherwise, it makes no difference. And I'm saying that as someone who DID actually go to one of those old, snobby universities. My education was no better than someone else's that worked just as hard elsewhere. Some snobs like the sound of my alma mater, but they aren't the kind of people I socialize with anyway. Go to whatever university you want to. Ultimately, they're all the same.
Experience - that is, not just work experience, but the overall experience of being at a certain university is probably the most important when it comes to getting a decent well paid job. When applying to university, I decided that I wanted to do computing, and had options of Sheffield or Sheffield Hallam university (needed to stay local at the time). Now, Sheffield has a big reputation as a redbrick, and has a decent computing course. However, although I was accepted by both institutions, I decided to go to Sheffield Hallam. I dont regret this at all, I am now in year 4 of my degree, and have already got an excellent 15 months of work experience through my course. This is surely valuable experience and will look great on the CV. Conversely, the course at Sheffield is very maths based, and mainly theoretical. I'd be very concerned going into a job from having no experience. For me, the old-school university offers me nothing in terms of a career, except perhaps a slightly more illustrious degree which will matter not a jot after a few years in industry. Certainly something to consider when choosing a university.
I think a large number of people have a ridiculous attitude to new universities. I'm sure there are a good few less academically well-endowed students, but there's no need for this stupid attitude that you are automatically thick if you go to one. I've got good GCSEs and A levels, but all I've ever wanted to do is run a racing team, therefore I will go to Swansea Institute which only requires 12 points to study Motorsport Management. There's absolutely no point in me studying something like Business or Sports Science, which are the only subjects even vaguely associated with my ambitions that "old" univerities offer, because so much of the syllabus will be irrelevant to me and I would be bored. So I would say to all the snobs who have posted on this topic that they should engage a bit of the intelligent thought that their wonderful redbrick universities supposedly taught them, and take a look at the fact that former polytechnics actually offer groundbreaking and relevant courses.
I achieved excellent A-level results, however as I wasn't predicted these results, I ended up at a new university, (I was rejected by all the 'old' ones) and soon discovered that even though I got an A in a particular A-level, I was doing the same course as someone who had acheived an E at the same A-level. The course therefore wasn't fantastic, and neither was the university, and now having graduated I find that I'm not particularly qualified at anything, I just have a background in my chosen field. However because of this, I decided to set up my own business venture, designing birthday cards, the idea being to demonstrate my iniative, promotion, design, and managment skills to potential employers. This is something I would never have done if I hadn't been to a new university. My course was fairly practical rather than theoretical, so it forced me to get off my arse and organise my own work, having only 2 hours of lectures a week at one point I was forced to do most of my learning myself. I beleive this 'life preparation' is far more useful than the degree itself, the confidence and organisational skills I gained are invaluable, and things I doubt I would have gained had I just had to revise for exams from books. However had I been offered a place at an old uni in the first place, I would have jumped at the opportunity, and if I go back to uni again for another degree I would prefer to go to an old uni. Just to see if the grass is greener on the other side maybe.
I went to a New university and found its academic excellence very high. Indeed when inspected by Ofsted it came out above many Old universities. The arguement that Old is better no longer holds true. I also did not go via the traditional route of A levels. For someone to say that my degree is worthless shows what kind of snobbery there is in todays society. We should applaud those who are committed to taking the time to futher their studies. I have had five friends who have gone to study at Old universities, namely Oxford and Cambridge, and all decided to leave because: 1. There was some awful snobbery from the so called upper class students 2. The academic excellence was better elsewhere 3. Old was not as good as new. Lets leave the class devide and get away from old and new. Lets results and peoples opinions rule.