Loughborough University offers the best student experience in the country, according to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) UK Student Experience Survey. Rising from second position last year, Loughborough University secured this year’s top spot by meeting or exceeding the sector average in each of the 21 measures used to determine the overall results.

The 2015 THE Student Experience Survey sees last year’s winner, the University of Bath, drop to fifth place, while Harper Adams University enters the rankings for the first time in second place. Keele University has also entered this year’s top ten, while the University of Surrey and the University of Exeter have both exited the top ten.

 

Top 10 overall ranked universities

 

University 2015 rank 2014 rank 2013 rank
Loughborough University 1 2 11
Harper Adams University* 2
University of Sheffield 3 3 1
University of Oxford 4 5 4
University of Bath 5 1 2
University of Leeds 6 9 9
University of East Anglia (UEA) =7 6 3
Newcastle University =7 10 16
University of Cambridge 9 4 6
Keele University* 10 21 13

 

*Denotes an introduction into the top 10 in 2015

John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education, comments: “Increasing competition between universities and an intense focus on the student experience are still top of the agenda for the higher education sector. Our survey is perfectly placed to track what this means in practice, and which universities are performing well in specific areas – whether in teaching and learning, or areas such as the standard of facilities, in which many institutions have been investing heavily.”

The THE Student Experience Survey, now in its 11th year, is unique in that it looks beyond the usual definition of the student experience – comprised largely of teaching, learning, assessment and feedback – to a broader definition, one created by students themselves that includes those aspects of university life that matter most to them.

This year’s survey also shows that students are becoming more demanding of their university with a general growth in their expectations across all 21 measures assessed. Results show that students increasingly value and expect good industry connections, high-quality facilities and good security while also working harder, volunteering more, and doing further extra-curricular activities.

John Gill continues: “As our survey shows, 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.

“What’s more, with the greater choice available of where to study following the abolition of the student numbers cap, universities are competing to secure students – and their tuition fee income – to a far greater degree than they used to, meaning students’ expectations now have to be met.”

Perhaps surprisingly, results from the survey show that those institutions at the bottom end of the table tend to be based in London, occupying 12 of the bottom 20 places. These includes historic university, the London School of Economics (110th) and more modern institutions, such as Kingston University (108th) and the University of Greenwich (111th). Imperial College London is the only mainstream university based in the capital to make the top half of the satisfaction rankings in joint 54th place, with those based in London doing poorly on accommodation and the feeling of community atmosphere on campus.

Southampton Solent University was found to be the most improved university in the 2015 Student Experience Survey. The institution scored highly on having a good library and library opening hours, good environment on campus/around university and centralised convenient facilities.  Seven universities entered the top 40 this year. Harper Adams was the highest new entrant in second rank. The University of Chester, Aston University, Swansea University, Coventry University, Robert Gordon University and University of Sussex were the next highest placed new entrants.

Highest performing new entrants

 

New universities to the Top 40 in 2015
University Overall rank
Harper Adams University 2
University of Chester 29
Aston University 32
Swansea University =33
Coventry University =35
Robert Gordon University =38
University of Sussex =38

 

Regionally, seven out of twelve regions have seen no change in their top placed institution since last year; Loughborough, Royal Veterinary College (a specialist college, part of the University of London), Newcastle University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Oxford, University of Bath and University of Sheffield all retain their top status in their respective regions.

Interestingly, University of East Anglia (UEA) has displaced University of Cambridge in the Eastern region; Edge Hill University has displaced Lancaster University in North West region; University of St Andrews has displaced University of Dundee in Scotland; Cardiff University has displaced Bangor University in Wales; and Harper Adams has displaced University of Warwick in the West Midlands region.

 

Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey 2015

 

Copyright Times Higher Education 2016

If any of this table below is reproduced, you must credit: Times Higher Education and link to the full results and analysis at Times Higher Education (THE) UK Student Experience Survey (live on 17th March 2016)

 

Top 3 universities by each UK region

 

Region University Overall rank
Eastern University of East Anglia (UEA) =7
University of Cambridge 9
University of Essex =65
*East Midlands Loughborough University 1
Nottingham Trent University 17
University of Nottingham =18
*London Royal Veterinary College =26
St Mary’s University College, Twickenham =51
Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine =54
*North East Newcastle University =7
Northumbria University =18
Durham University 30
North West Edge Hill University =23
University of Chester 29
Lancaster University 31
*Northern Ireland Queen’s University Belfast =12
University of Ulster 98
N/A N/A
Scotland University of St Andrews =14
University of Dundee =21
Robert Gordon University =38
*South East University of Oxford 4
University of Reading 20
University of Chichester 25
*South West University of Bath 5
Falmouth University 11
University of Exeter =14
Wales Cardiff University =12
Bangor University =14
Swansea University =33
West Midlands Harper Adams University 2
Keele University 10
University of Birmingham =21
*Yorkshire & Humberside University of Sheffield 3
University of Leeds 6
University of York =23

*Denotes no change in top placed regional institution since 2014

 

Rankings by attribute

 

The tables below show institutional performance on the most important individual measures of the student experience (i.e. those that carry the greatest weight in the results).

 

Top performers in the ‘high quality staff/lectures’ measure

 

High quality staff/lectures
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Oxford 1 4
Royal Veterinary College =2 =26
University of Cambridge =2 9
University of St Andrews =4 =14
Harper Adams University =4 2

 

Top performers in the ‘helpful/interested staff’ measure

 

Helpful/interested staff
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Oxford =1 4
University of Cambridge =1 9
Royal Veterinary College 3 =26
Harper Adams University 4 2
Bangor University =5 =14
Keele University =5 10
Falmouth University =5 11

 

Top performers in the ‘well structured courses’ measure

 

Well structured courses
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Cambridge 1 9
Loughborough University =2 1
Harper Adams University =2 2
University of Oxford =2 4
University of Bath =2 5

 

Top performers in the ‘good social life’ measure

 

Good social life
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Leeds =1 6
Newcastle University =1 =7
University of Sheffield =1 3
Cardiff University =1 =12
Loughborough University =5 1
Harper Adams University =5 2

 

Top performers in the ‘good community atmosphere’ measure

 

Good community atmosphere
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Sheffield =1 3
Harper Adams University =1 2
University of Oxford =1 4
University of East Anglia (UEA) =4 =7
University of Bath =4 5
Keele University =4 10
University of St Andrews =4 =14
Newcastle University =4 =7

 

Top performers in the ‘good extra-curricular activities / societies’ measure

 

Good extra-curricular activities / societies
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
University of Cambridge =1 9
Loughborough University =1 1
University of Oxford =3 4
University of Sheffield =3 3
University of Leeds =3 6

 

Top performers in the ‘good environment on campus / around university’ measure

 

Good environment on campus / around university
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
Falmouth University =1 11
University of East Anglia (UEA) =1 =7
Edge Hill University =3 =23
University of Nottingham =3 =18
Loughborough University =3 1
Harper Adams University =3 2
Keele University =3 10
University of Stirling =3 58
University of Reading =3 20
University of Sheffield =3 3
University of Leeds =3 6

 

Top performers in the ‘high quality facilities’ measure

 

High quality facilities
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
Loughborough University 1 1
Royal Veterinary College 2 =26
University of Oxford =3 4
University of Sheffield =3 3
University of Exeter =3 =14
Robert Gordon University =3 =38
Edge Hill University =3 =23

 

Top performers in the ‘personal requirements catered for’ measure

 

Personal requirements catered for
University Rank by attribute Overall rank
Harper Adams University =1 2
University of Oxford =1 4
Loughborough University =1 1
University of Bath =4 5
University of Cambridge =4 9

 

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Charles Whitworth is the Editor of the Young Academic publications. Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2008, Charles learnt his trade in newsrooms such as IPC Media and Sky. He has now developed as a top sports, music and current affairs journalist and has been printed in a range of publications including The Guardian. His interests include Cricket, Football, Rugby, Music and Current Affairs. Fresh from the editorship of Student Times he now takes the reins at Young Academic - the premier student news portal. Connect with me on Google+

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