Will Going To a Red-Brick University Increase Your Career Prospects?

A former vice-chancellor of a UK University has been reported to have said in recent years that no university is better than any other, and that they all have something different to offer. But really, the term ‘better’ is a bit of an awkward concept. In all of the league tables, results are higher for different things. A University that rank higher at business could rank lower for things like student satisfaction or percentage of students getting work after graduation. So ‘better’ is a term that is a little difficult to pin down.

But what about the question that has arisen in post-1992 John Major’s government; red brick or polytechnic? Is there one that is going to be better for your career than the other? Here are a few things to consider as you ponder your education, career, and possibly going back to studying.

Which are which?

While the most famous red-brick Universities around are Oxford and Cambridge, there are several others that fit the bill. They were the ‘original’ Universities if you will, much like the University of Bristol, University of Manchester, or the University of Leeds, for example. Originally they were set up to provide education through innovation, and subjects like maths, science, and engineering. But they have expanded their remit by a huge amount over time.

A Polytechnic University are the ‘newer’ Universities that were colleges of higher education, but through John Major, were given the right to be a University. There are more of these around than the red-brick alternative.

The differences

University costs a lot of money. From paying for your student accommodation to your tuition fees, there are lots of costs involved. So you have to make sure that you are paying for the right University for you and for the course that you want to study, in order to get the career that you want.

There is still a degree of snobbery around red-brick Universities, and in some careers, reputation of the University that you went to is what is going to get you through the interview door. But really, what should be looked at are the course rankings of the subject that you want to study, rather than the name of the University. After all, if you are getting the best tuition possible in a chosen field, it will help your job prospects.

However, rightly or wrongly, redbricks do tend to attract more research funding than their competitors. And when this the case, it can have a follow-on effect for staff and the opportunities that are available to them.

The right choice

All Universities will have their quirks and charms and will rank differently for different things. If being on the best course possible for your chosen degree is what is important career-wise, then that is the ranking you should look at. If getting a job quickly after is most important, then that is the ranking to look at instead. There isn’t one-size-fits-all when it comes to education. And if you’re prepared to work hard, it shouldn’t matter where you went to school.

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