Wednesday, 30 March 2016


You can find up-to-date details about UK university league tables here, published in today's Guardian newspaper, online. However, a few words of explanation from me may be useful beforehand.

Seventy percent of current KYUEM students are sponsored. This usually means that the choice of universities to which they can apply is restricted. Nonetheless, a guide such as shown above can still be of help. When you visit the site, the default setting shows you the general position of the ranked institutions. This is an ideal starting point, of course, but it shouldn't be the only criterion on which prospective students should base their choices.

You will see a drop-down arrow on the left-hand side of the page next to the tab  "Subject area." Clicking on it enables you to filter the rankings according to choice of specialism. Some strange things emerge if you dig a little deeper here. For example, a popular degree course choice for many KYUEM students is in a branch of Engineering. If you click on the "General" tab for Engineering, Cambridge University is ranked higher than Imperial College, London. If you click on the "Mechanical" tab, those positions are reversed.

Moreover, you find some less well-known universities start to appear when you check on the success of the course, rather than the institution generally. It is true to say that the vast majority of KYUEM students who want to go to Britain will aim for Russell Group Universities. However, newer universities in the UK are rapidly making a name for themselves, course by course. This may well hold an extra interest for private students at KYUEM, who are not restricted in their choice of destination.

You might say, of course, that a newer university doesn't have the same reputation or kudos in Malaysia as Oxbridge or others in the Russell Group. That may well be true, but the Russell Group itself is not a monolithic, unchanging organisation. Universities do join it (and potentially leave it, too!). It is also true to say that for those of us of a certain age, universities that are well respected today were once not quite such high flyers. I can personally remember Loughborough being upgraded to University status for example, as well as Exeter - both of which are now bright stars in the Russell Group firmament.

I realise that all of this makes choosing the right university for your son or daughter that bit harder. Bear in mind, however, that your children are already used to thinking independently and doing their own research. Our University Guidance Counsellor, Pn. Kasthuri (and her team) is an excellent source of information. This Guardian guide, which I'm highlighting today, is but one of several other resources available to you, enabling the right choice to be made.

To conclude, we are well into our first week of trial exams or "mocks" for AS and A2 students. This is excellent preparation for the real things which start in May. I wish everyone every possible success.


  1. I just wonder which one is the best barometer in choosing university application , is it TIMES world university rankings , QS world university rankings , Guardians university rankings or Complete university guides . It seems to me that each one of them have a different criteria & other factors in the grading process for a particular university.Kindly please advise pertaining to this issues.Tgank you.

    1. There is not an absolutely definitive single guide. This is because they all use different criteria. I like the Guardian because it looks at things more from the point of view of students: satisfaction index, employability after six months, etc. The best advice is to look at them all.