A few thoughts on university league tables
For most, if not all, of us, league tables were used extensively in choosing a university. Personally, I didn’t want to consider a uni far out of the top ten in the country, and as a consequence I narrowed down the places I thought about applying to drastically. While I wouldn’t say that I regret doing this, I couldn’t imagine myself any where other than Warwick, in hindsight I would actually say this isn’t the best thing to do. This is because in my opinion, having completed a degree at a Russell Group university, there is more to a university than simply it’s position in a league table.
Luckily for Warwick, it consistently ranks highly in such tables, but I also think that so much of what the university has to offer is excluded from them. For example, when I came to Warwick, its Chemistry department was ranked 5th in the country. This year, it was 7th. While two places doesn’t seem significant to some, to many students applying to only the top five universities this could be the difference between applying to Warwick or not.
And this, I believe, is where the problem lies. Going through a Chemistry degree at Warwick has allowed me to see just how much my department has improved. From giving quicker and more helpful feedback, to completely restructuring the lab work element of the course in certain years, to in my opinion going above and beyond in supporting their students, Warwick chemistry has gone from strength to strength. The issue with university league tables is that is so much easier to see how universities are compared to eachother, and not how much a university has improved compared to itself.
To an outsider, it would appear that Warwick Chemistry has let its standards slip, but I know that for me, the department is only on the rise. I’ve had the best three years of my life at Warwick, and a lot of it is down to the quality of my course.
On one hand, I thank league tables for consistently giving Warwick the recognition it deserves, and allowing me to discover it in the first place. On the other, I hope that prospective students can also look past them, and look for a university not only with the league table standings, but a university with a constant drive to improve, and a university that can be their home as well as a place of work. In my opinion, no university fits that requirement as much as Warwick does.