Overview of High Rank College in United Kingdom
There are many High Rank College in United Kingdom, but I share the most famous and affordable colleges.
Imperial College London
Like the LSE, Imperial teaches only a limited range of courses, focusing exclusively on the sciences – an emphasis that has contributed to its superb reputation for research. It also contributes to a student culture that won’t be to everyone’s state; especially given it has one of the most male-dominated student bodies of any UK university, with 66 men to every 34 women – a statistic that is even more extreme given that, overall, women outnumber men at UK universities 55 to 45. Another characteristic it shares with the LSE is its international character, and it is particularly popular with Asian students. It is run with a business mindset, which has both advantages and disadvantages.
We discussed London life under the LSE, above. Imperial is mostly located in South Kensington, with a few buildings elsewhere in the city. South Kensington is an upmarket, reasonably safe part of the city and students on a budget can anticipate the need for a commute. Still, it is about as central as you can get, and students are sure to feel like they are part of the life of the city.
Because of its scientific focus, academia at Imperial is likely to fall more into the aggressive-swotting over-textbooks variety, rather than the musing-over musty-books-in-the-library variety. The assigned workload is notoriously high, which is perhaps a contributor to Imperial’s relatively high drop-out rate. Prepare to eat, breathe and sleep your subject.
Imperial’s accommodation is rated highly by its students, but this may simply be a consequence of the dreadful standard of accommodation in London overall. Imperial’s student blocks tend more towards the ‘Victorian prison’ type rather than the ‘soulless hotel’ type of other universities – unless you are prepared to pay through the nose. On the other hand, it does offer an experience of Young Ones-style student ‘digs’ in a way that is dying out just about everywhere else. Prices range from £59 (shared between three people) to £253 per week, though most rooms are around the £130 mark. The distances from campus vary hugely.
Imperial has been described as a pressure cooker for workaholics. Expect to socialize primarily with your housemates or course mates, particularly in extra-intensive courses like Medicine, where few non-medics will understand exactly the pressures you are under. Imperial students are not known for curling up with a book or lounging in front of the TV when they’re out of the library, though, given that the best of the London clubbing scene is right on the doorstep. We are not entirely sure when Imperial students find time to sleep.
Job prospects at Imperial are even better than Cambridge, with 89% of graduates employed 6 months after graduation. There are all the usual advantages of a London location, of course – through the workload rules out term-time employment for many Imperial students – strong connections with industry undoubtedly contribute too.
Imperial is atypical in three respects: the male-to-female ratio discussed above, its percentage of international students and its percentage of private school students (around 37% of the student population). Though the high number of international students is mostly an advantage, do expect to be exposed to cultural viewpoints that might clash significantly with your own.
University College London
UCL was founded along radical lines: in 1826, it was the first university in England to be entirely secular and to admit students regardless of religion or class; in 1878 it became the first British university to admit women on equal terms to men. Though they like to boast about this history on their website, UCL does not retain much in the way of radical sentiment, with Oxbridge levels of state school students and students from low-participation areas. Unlike Imperial and the LSE, UCL is fully multi-disciplinary. It also has the best academic-to-student ratio of any UK university.
UCL is another central London university (so see the LSE section for more general detail). Its campus is mostly in the Bloomsbury area; practically on top of Euston train station, though there are bits and bobs elsewhere as well. This is a leafy, upmarket, pretty bit of London, strongly associated with arts and culture, and home to the British Museum and the British Library, should students have the urge to look at the Beowulf manuscript on their lunch break. All transport connections are superb, setting aside the insanity of driving in London.
The UCL workload is high; students are expected to work 40 hours per week, and part-time jobs, though not banned, are discouraged by many departments. There is, however, less of an extreme workaholic culture than at Imperial.
UCL’s accommodation is expensive, even by London standards, with rents starting at £100 per week for a shared room; rents in the vicinity of £150 are the norm. Intercollegiate halls are also an option. First-year students are guaranteed a place in halls subject to the usual conditions. The quality of accommodation and the distance from campus vary hugely, and inevitably some of it is in less-than-desirable areas. Anticipate a commute when you move out in second-year if you want to live anywhere remotely affordable.
UCL is lively and international. The remnants of its radical origins are evident in its enthusiastic encouragement of volunteer activity by its students. Sports and societies are abundant, and UCL, in general, seems to offer something nearer to a traditional university experience than the other London universities on this list, emphasizing community and student life over engagement with industry.
Excellent: 81% of UCL students are employed six months after graduation, and they earn significantly above the national average for graduates as well.
Uniquely among UK universities, UCL requires applicants to have a GCSE in a foreign language or to sign up for language courses when they get there. International engagement is important to UCL’s ethos; 25% of students spend a year abroad over the course of their degree and there are campuses in Australia and Qatar as well as in London. Around two-fifths of its students are from overseas.
London School of Economics
In the 80s sitcom, Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister, a running joke is that the eponymous minister, Jim Hackett, studied at the LSE rather than Oxford – in other words, an inferior institution. The joke is rather less effective nowadays, as the LSE is an internationally renowned powerhouse of education. It teaches exclusively social, political and economic sciences, although this isn’t as restrictive as it might seem; undergraduate courses range from Anthropology to Mathematics and Economics. Its ethos is modern, cosmopolitan and thoroughly international.
You probably already have an opinion about whether or not you would like to live in London. The UK’s capital city is a noisy, dirty, invigorating, cultural, unfriendly, open-minded, vibrant, depressing, expensive, exciting place to live. Surrounded by 10 million people, you can feel utterly anonymous and there is next to no chance of ever bumping into anyone you know on the street. London is also notoriously expensive, particularly in terms of rent. The LSE has a desirable location in Westminster, between Covent Garden, Aldwych and Temple Bar, so there is never any shortage of things to do within a short walk of the university, and transport links in the vicinity – unless you have an unfathomable urge to drive – are second-to-none.
The LSE operates the standard UK university setup consisting of several large, optional lectures per week accompanied by smaller, compulsory classes in which students can discuss their ideas with each other and with a tutor, who may be a lecturer or a Ph.D. student. Two graded pieces of work are set per term. This seemingly low workload is misleading; doing well at the LSE demands a lot of intensive independent work, possibly in its overcrowded library (though thankfully undergraduates are allowed access to other University of London libraries as well). Because all the courses fall within the same sort of subject area, there is plenty of scope for joint honors courses, or taking an ‘outside option’ – a module or two from a course other than your own.
Prices range from £91 (with few rooms available at this rate) to an eye-watering £488 per week, though most rooms are between £120 and £200 per week. Students are also entitled to apply for University of London halls, which have a more diverse set of students and are slightly cheaper. Of course, there is always the option of trying to rent a flat privately, assuming you don’t mind living in a shoe box. Inevitably, given the London location, some of the student accommodation is located in moderately unsafe areas.
Though the LSE is technically a campus university, its collegiate relationship with the University of London, its central location and the way its campus spills out into the city all mean that there is a great deal of interaction between LSE students and the rest of the city. LSE also takes among the highest numbers of international students of any university in the UK: 42% of its students are from overseas.
LSE has fallen slightly in the graduate employ ability rankings as a result of the way the statistics are calculated, something that should not dissuade prospective students, as the employ ability of LSE graduates remains exceptional. The LSE’s central London location is also a perk in the job application stakes, as students are conveniently located for placements and internships with the UK’s most prestigious employers.
The LSE is a driven, academic sort of place, with no time for quirks; a search for ‘LSE traditions’ draws a blank. Many of the LSE’s students will be heading for jobs in banking, consulting or finance, an orientation that colors university discourse as a whole.
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