Need help choosing universities (UK)

In summary: Just go and see each university and decide what feels right.In summary, Durham has a stronger history in physics, Imperial has fantastic reputation worldwide and UCL has a tradition for physics. Manchester has Brian Cox, Jeff Foreshaw and John Rylands library. However, Manchester's weaker reputation nationwide may be a downside. Imperial has better gender ratio and offers self catering accommodation. University College London (UCL) has lower workload and is in London which is great. University College London (UCL) also has good student satisfaction according to the student survey. University of Manchester (UM) has Brian Cox, Jeff Foreshaw and John Rylands library as well as a good physics department and offers accommodation that is 50:50 shared and single. University
  • #1
I have offers from Durham, Imperial, UCL and Manchester but I am struggling to see which one to firm and insurance since they all have their good and bad sides.
Manchester (A*A*A):
-strong history in physics, with Nobel Prize winners in their staff
-in a city so there's lots to do
-national reputation doesn't seem to be as good according to rankings (weaker reputation nationwide?)
-have Brian Cox/Jeff Foreshaw/Jodrell Bank/John Rylands library (largest uni library after Oxbridge)
-good that all accommodation I've applied to is single room and catered (7 days a week breakfast and lunch)

Imperial College London (A*A*A)-
-fantastic reputation worldwide and nationwide according to rankings
-in London which means lots to do but very expensive
-poor gender ratio
-accommodation looks very nice overall
-higher workload than the other unis(?)
-all accommodation is self catered and standard single rooms are expensive

University College London (UCL) (AAB)-
-gender ratio better than Imperial
-tradition for physics is not as strong as Imperial or Manchester and student satisfaction doesn't seem to be as high according to the student survey
-lower workload than Imperial
-lots to do since in London but very expensive
-high in national and worldwide rankings
-accommodation is a bit cheaper than Imperial

Durham (A*AA)
-college system appealing
-everything is close by which is great but there's a lack of things to do in the area
-nationwide ranking is high but worldwide ranking is low (weaker reputation worldwide?)
-seems to have a strong physics department
-accommodation has a 50:50 split between shared and single but catering is 7 days a week, breakfast lunch and dinner

I'm interested in getting a career in physics (research scientist) in the UK but might go abroad to the US/Canada or into related areas like engineering but I'm really stuck on which unis to choose so ANY advice or thoughts would be great! I can only choose one firm (1st choice) and one insurance (2nd choice)
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  • #2
You have your choices and reasons why they are good now just go ahead and score each reason as to how important it is relative to the others and see what comes out. Intuitively you probably already know but something is holding you back from deciding. By scoring, it may become obvious and then you'll know which one to choose.

You should also list negatives and score them as well.
  • #3
The best thing to do, if you haven't already, is to visit them. Get a feel for each university (and city!), you're going to be there for a minimum of three years so you'll need to actually like the place. All the universites you are applying to are active in physics research, so it's more to do with how you feel about each than anything else.
The rankings aren't all that important, it's worth remembering the student surveys are self-selecting, i.e. only those that can be bothered will fill it in and the sample sizes aren't particularly large either.
  • #4
They are all good. However, Imperial and UCL are in the centre of London meaning the experience would be quite different from e.g. Durham and this is something you should consider.
Also, I am not sure where the accommodation you've looked at is geographically, but I suspect you would end up having to spend more time traveling (and going anywhere in London usually ends up taking an hour).
I also agree with Vagn, don't worry about the ranking.

1. What are the top universities in the UK?

The top universities in the UK are the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. These universities consistently rank high in international university rankings and are highly regarded for their academic excellence.

2. How do I choose the right university for me?

Choosing the right university depends on your personal preferences and academic goals. Consider factors such as the university's location, reputation, program offerings, campus culture, and student support services. It is also helpful to visit the campus and speak with current students and faculty to get a better understanding of the university's atmosphere and academic environment.

3. What are the differences between universities in the UK?

The main differences between universities in the UK are their rankings, program offerings, and campus culture. Some universities may specialize in certain fields, while others have a more diverse range of programs. Additionally, each university has its own unique campus culture and community, which can greatly impact the overall student experience.

4. Can I apply to multiple universities in the UK?

Yes, you can apply to multiple universities in the UK. However, keep in mind that each university may have its own application process and deadlines. It is important to carefully research each university's requirements and plan your application timeline accordingly.

5. Are there any scholarships available for international students in the UK?

Yes, there are scholarships available for international students in the UK. These scholarships may be offered by the universities themselves, as well as external organizations and governments. It is important to research and apply for these scholarships early, as they can greatly offset the cost of studying in the UK.

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