Loughborough University is the most exciting uni to be a student, according to the 2016 UK Student Experience Survey from THE.
Last year’s winner, the University of Bath, has dropped to fifth place, while Harper Adams University has entered the rankings for the first time in second place. Keele also enters the top 10, while Surrey and Exeter have both left the top 10 to take 26th and 14th place respectively.
Student experience is key
“Increasing competition between universities and an intense focus on the student experience are still top of the agenda for the higher education sector,” says John Gill, editor of THE.
The research looks beyond traditional measures of a university’s quality and instead focuses on what students themselves care about. The survey focused on 21 different metrics, including areas such as “good environment on campus”, “helpful/interested staff,” and “well structured courses”.
According to the report by THE, results of this year’s survey show that students are becoming more demanding of their university and are also more engaged – they work harder, volunteer more and take part in more extra-curricular activities.
“Students are becoming more professional in their approach to their studies. They are investing more in their education and are far more clear-eyed in what they expect from their university,” says Gill.
The Top 10 universities, with their overall score:
1) Loughborough University: 86.2
2) Harper Adams University :85.8
3) University of Sheffield: 85.0
4) University of Oxford: 84.8
5) University of Bath: 84.4
6) University of Leeds: 83.4
=7) University of East Anglia (UEA): 83.0
=7) Newcastle University: 83.0
9) University of Cambridge: 82.4
10) Keele University: 82.1
Best social life
Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Cardiff come out top for social life, followed by Loughborough and Harper Adams.
The University of Cambridge and Loughborough take joint first place for having the best societies, followed by Oxford, Sheffield and Leeds in second place.
Falmouth and UEA are top for having a good environment on campus, while Sheffield, Harper Adams and Oxford are the top universities for having a good community atmosphere.
Best lecturers and engaged staff
The University of Oxford ranks first in the “high quality staff/lectures” followed by the Royal Veterinary College and University of Cambridge in joint second place. The University of St Andrews and Harper Adams University draw third.
In the most "interested/helpful staff" category Oxbridge come joint first, followed by the Royal Veterinary College in second place and Harper Adams in third.
The University of Cambridge comes out on top for the structure of its courses, followed by Loughborough, Harper Adams, Oxford and Bath in second place.
Location, location, location
Unlike other league tables where London-based universities dominate the rankings, they don’t score well for student experience. London-based universities take up 12 out of the bottom 20 places in the table. London-based universities tend to score poorly on accommodation and the feeling of community of campus.
Looking at the top three scoring universities in each region, the South West is the best place to look for a uni if you want good student satisfaction. Next is Yorkshire & Humberside, followed by the West Midlands, the East Midlands and then the South East.
In the East, UEA has knocked the University of Cambridge off top spot, while the University of St Andrews has taken the University of Dundee’s place as the number one for Scotland. Cardiff University has replaced Bangor for Wales, and Harper Adams has taken Warwick’s spot for the West Midlands region.
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