Awkward! These are officially the least popular Russell Group universities in 2024

Cambridge students everywhere crying as we speak


You know how you can never stop hearing about how amazing Oxford and Cambridge are, about how they’re among the best in the world and people would die to go there. Well, it’s actually kind of awkward because it turns out that they’re the least popular Russell Group universities in 2024.

New figures released in UCAS’ 2023 end-of-cycle data tell us how many people applied to study at each Russell Group university. From this, we can work out the Russell Groups that are the least popular and which unis students are desperate to go to. And yep, it turns out Cambridge is the least popular Russell Group university, closely followed by Oxford.

And say what you want about the application processes for Oxbridge being super competitive and tricky and therefore putting people off going, but The University of Cambridge had 71,510 fewer applications than the most popular Russell Group, Manchester, which is a difference that’s more than double of the overall applications for Cambridge (21,940).

Oxford closely follows Cambridge with only 24,230 applications in total, which is 69,220 applications less than The University of Manchester’s 93,450 applications.

So, these are the least popular Russell Group Universities in 2024:

24. University of Manchester – 93,450 applications

23. University College London – 77,615 applications

22. University of Edinburgh – 71,135 applications

21. University of Edinburgh – 71,135 applications

20.  King’s College London – 69,300 applications

19. University of Leeds – 69,085 applications

18. University of Bristol – 61,490 applications

17. University of Nottingham – 56,890 applications

16. University of Birmingham – 56,645 applications

15. University of Warwick – 47,130 applications

14. Cardiff University – 46,355 applications

13. University of Southampton – 45,280 applications

12. University of Sheffield – 46,665 applications

11. University of Liverpool – 43,975 applications

10. Queen Mary University of London – 41,155 applications

9. University of Exeter – 38,450 applications

8. University of Glasgow – 37,300 applications

7. Newcastle University – 35,980 applications

6. Durham University – 34,150 applications

5.  Imperial College London – 30,725 applications

4. University of York – 30,240 applications

3. Queen’s University Belfast – 29,825 applications

2. University of Oxford – 24,230 applications

1. University of Cambridge – 21,940 applications

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