A school and college
guide to supporting
to Russell Group
What is a Russell Group University?
The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK
universities. Through their world class-research,
they help to create a dynamic economy, stronger
communities and a better future for the UK. These
universities provide students with research-led
teaching, which means that most teaching staff
will be activity involved in research. Their teaching
will be informed by their research - so students
will be learning from some world leading experts
and learning about some of their findings as they
are being discovered!
Applications to Russell Group universities
Students won’t find the application process much
different to applications outside the Russell
Group. But the level of competition, especially for
certain courses, tends to be more intense, making
it more important to stand out from the crowd.
You can usually tell if a course is competitive as it
may have very high entry requirements and it will
probably rank highly in the subject league tables.
We often find that our applicants will have similar
academic profiles. Their opportunity to stand out
is therefore through the personal statement. This
is often their only opportunity to ‘speak’ with those
making admissions decisions.
Personal statement tips for Russell Group
Universities are really interested
to hear from motivated students,
who are inquisitive and have the
potential to study the subject at
university. The personal statement
is a real opportunity for your
students to stand out and show us
this, to give them the best possible
chance of being made an offer.
Most leading universities will look for an
approximate 80% / 20% split of academic vs
non-academic information. It is important
for universities to see an applicant’s subject
knowledge and keen interest in the subject area.
Within that 80% we want to see evidence of
critical engagement and I would advise applicants
to include a research paragraph to their personal
statement. By that I mean that we want to see
evidence of how they have engaged with the
subject beyond what the school curriculum
For example, an English applicant might do this by
evidencing some wider reading. They should write
about a text that they have read and tell us their
opinion, providing a critical reflection of the text.
Also describing any further studies it might have
inspired them to undertake. Or it could be that
they are applying for Law and they write about a
case that they have been following and discuss
what they have learned about the English defence
system as a result of it - and what questions were