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If you’re in sixth form, your teachers might be encouraging you to apply to a Russell Group university.

The Russell Group universities are often described as “elite”. The 24 institutions – which include Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Manchester and Warwick – carry out some of the most highly rated research in the world and have a reputation for academic excellence.

But are they the best places to study as an undergraduate?

Russell Group universities have higher than average student satisfaction and lower than average drop-out rates, according to Wendy Piatt, its director.

“Graduate recruiters rank 10 Russell Group universities in the top 30 universities worldwide, and Russell Group graduates typically receive a 10% salary ‘top-up’ over others.”

But Russell Group graduates are not the only ones who are snapping up great jobs. Aston University, for example, ranks above Oxford in terms of employability, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

And modern universities can be more innovative. Bournemouth University is one of the leading places to study animation and digital effects – its National Centre for Computer Animation fielded 55 graduates for the making of James Cameron’s Avatar.

There are many other factors you may consider when choosing a university including how far it is from your home, the price of the course, whether you can spend a year abroad or whether it’s accredited by a professional body.

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