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The best non-Russell Group universities

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As British students, we really are fortunate to have the incredible university opportunities that are right on our doorstop.

But it’s not all about the Russell Group anymore. Higher education is quickly evolving and students are now choosing courses over “prestige”. Not that I’m knocking the Russell Group – credit is due to many of them. However, this year, I graduated from a non-Russell group university and I am pursuing my dream career in journalism. My university has never held me back. In fact, it empowered me to do all the things that I have done.

Pick a university for its course and what it can give you, and your university experience will have the best outcome for you. Here are some of the top non-Russell group universities.

Surrey University is ranked in first place for graduate employability when compared with other chartered universities in England – according to the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA). 96.9 percent of 2013 graduates were in work or further study six months after graduating.  Within the league tables Surrey sits at number eight, and scored 81.2 percent for graduate prospects.

Lancaster University is currently ranked at number nine. The graduates of 2014, 94 percent were in jobs or further study within six months after graduation. It scored 78.1 percent for graduate prospects in the league tables Lancaster has global connections with partner institutions in the US, China, and more than 25 other countries. So if you are interested in working abroad, a university with connections like this could be for you. Famous alumni include Andy Serkis and James May.

Loughborough University won university of the year at the What Uni Awards for 2014-2015, and ranked first for its students’ union. It also ranked top three in a number of other categories, including clubs and societies. It is currently number 13 in the League tables, with 79.9 percent graduate prospects. Loughborough is the UK’s leading university for sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. Famous alumni include Sir Sebastian Coe and Paula Radcliffe.

The University of Leicester is number 19 in the league tables. It was founded in 1921 and gained its Royal Charter in 1957. The University is famous for the invention of genetic fingerprinting and for the discovery of the remains of King Richard III. Leicester has an excellent track record in graduate employability with 93.4 percent of first degree leavers in employment or further study. Graduate prospects for 2015 is 73.6 per cent. Students can choose to study a single honours degree, a joint honours degree and the university is developing a range of major/minor degrees with 75 percent of one subject and 25 percent of another, giving flexibility and a broader knowledge base. Famous alumni include Michael Nicholson OBE (journalist and former ITN senior foreign correspondent) and Sue Cook (TV presenter and author).

The most important thing to remember is that whichever university you go to, you have to work hard – which seems obvious – but a good, solid degree will help you in your journey towards your future career. Remember to have fun alongside studying, because you will never get that first time at university back. Make the most of your experiences!

What do you think are the best non-Russell Group universities? Comment below and tell us.

Photo: University of Birmingham. Sludge G / Flickr

Niamh OllertonThe best non-Russell Group universities

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