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Lancaster isn’t a Russell Group university, and here are all the reasons why it doesn’t matter

We’re more than an arbitrary label x


Just on average, how many times do you think the average Lancaster applicant has to explain to a sixth form tutor – or hell, even to a parent – “No, Lancaster isn’t a Russell Group uni”? A fair few, I would bet.

For those who remain blissfully unaware, the Russell Group is your fancy dancy pants universities. There are twenty four of them across the country, all research unis, and they pride themselves on the fact that “Through world-class research and education they are helping to create a dynamic economy, stronger communities and a better future for the UK” (according to their website, at least).

Oxford and Cambridge pave the way for Russell Group unis, and yes, York, our famous rivals, belong to the gang. Despite they fact that Lancaster is a top 15 university, placing 12th in the country, it doesn’t make this group, even though it’s statistically a lot better than most of them. There’s many reasons that you can pull out when someone asks you of your choice – “but why did you choose Lancaster rather than a Russell Group university?”. Here’s just a few:

We are higher up the league tables

It’s been mentioned but it is true: we place eleventh or twelfth in all of the league tables. In the Complete University Guide 2023, where we place eleventh, higher up than 17 of the Russell Group universities. It’s not a particularly relevant fact, but it’s nice to pull out when someone asks about your choices – we’re statistically better than a lot of them!

We have degree courses they don’t

Lancaster offers over 280 undergraduate degree courses, and goodness knows how many postgraduate and PhD options. With courses ranging from Astrophysics to Film, we have the variety that a stuffy old school like Oxford almost certainly doesn’t have. I bet Cambridge doesn’t have students from Marketing taking a minor in Creative Writing just for the fun of it: it’s one of the many reasons we love Lancaster.

We have a nicer campus

The greenery, the rolling hills, the sheep, the lake: there’s really no reason that you wouldn’t want to come to Lancaster. Sure, we might have the 60s’ eyesore that is the County building, but we have easy access to the Lake District on the train, the Castle for when you want a dose of history, and markets virtually every day of the week. What is more to want?

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Lancaster is a really international uni

Lancaster calls itself home to students from across the world. Now, I know that loads of unis can make the same claim. But Lancaster is vibrant and multicultural, with societies for students around the world, celebrations from all faiths and cultures, and a really welcoming atmosphere that make a label like “Russell Group” seem a bit redundant.

We have over 175 societies

I mean, we have Hedgehog Society, Swing Dance, SwiftSoc, and Underwater Hockey. That’s before you can begin to think about the legacy of OnlyLancs, and the fact that we have more small Instagram pages than you can shake a stick at. I’d like to see a Russell Group university that can compare to this.

We have the largest Varsity tournament in Europe

Now, technically this does apply to York as well as us, but as we currently hold the title of Roses champions, this certainly seems like a big tick in our column. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the biggest tournament in Europe, with the craziness that last May saw over three years when the Sports Centre turned into a hub of athletic prowess?

We have ducks