Comment: A response to The Tab Nottingham’s Russell Group debate

[James Cantwell | Contributing Writer]

To the Nottingham Tab editor who is speculating on others’ employability chances; you’re probably right.

I can’t imagine a 2:2 in Events Management from the University of Bolton is going to go far in enhancing your career prospects. In fact, it would probably render you about as ideal as a 2:2 Politics degree holder from a mid-end Russell Group. But best of luck to both graduates ey?

Being naive enough to generalise an entirety of students into a vacuum of success isn’t the greatest journalism, but maybe the lad’s got a point. On the face of it, a CV coming from a Russelldore applicant may arouse employers more so than a polypuff candidate, but learning about doing a job is only half way there.

2015 Britain’s job market isn’t exactly a banquet. The voluntary student newspaper editor in question should know more than most – practical experience goes a lot further than being a journalism undergrad. And considering 54% of the top journalists are privately educated, your rejection rate is probably going to be just as high as the rest of us mate.

We all like to play up to the facade that the grade-score we get or the name of uni we’re attending will be enough to see us through to nirvana, and we can earn a salary that will make our bank balances proud. But this ain’t Rugrats and you ain’t Tommy.

People have attended the crumbling wakes of Russell Group institutes before you, and achieved as amazingly as you will. Students will grace the echoing walls of pollies just as I have, and will flunk just as I will.

But universities across the board are seeing a rise in firsts and 2:1s and a decline in failing students. You might think nine grand a year at Nottingham Trent is wasting your time in a chum bucket, but at UoN you’re just as likely to reach bikini bottom.

I could make the case that Russell Group universities are outdated and that employers want a range of employees at their workplace because nobody wants a trough full of the same 💩. But honestly they’re not. Russell Group institutions are producing more successful graduates than ever before despite the hike in tuition. But just as the 24-club of academia are succeeding, polytechnics are pumping them out at a far greater rate.

With the standardisation of the degree becoming more and more apparent in academia every year, the availability of places has become more of an issue. 10 years ago, the dream of attending a Russell Group was actually more likely than today, because less people were attending uni. But as the lust of the degree has increased across the board, subset institutions have surged. Simply-put, unlikeliness to get a place at Bristol has resulted in the likeliness to succeed at Bournemouth.

If you hadn’t guessed from those assignments and exams you’ve been taking, it’s what you achieve as an individual that counts rather than the achievement of your university. If you get a 2:1 anywhere, you achieved a 2:1. If you get a first anywhere, you achieved a first. Learning to do something is wonderful, but will only get you so far. It’s naive to think the place you studied will be enough to see you through, because you’re just going to fall flat on your face.

You’re probably right, if you learn at a Russell Group chances are you’re going to have a better chance than elsewhere. But, likeliness is, underachieving where many achieve will look like more of a waste of time than achieving where many underachieve.

 

All opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and are not endorsed by Trident Media or Hertfordshire Students’ Union.

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Comment: A response to The Tab Nottingham’s Russell Group debate