University offering top student experience revealed


The University of Loughborough offers the best student experience in the country, an annual survey suggests.

The institution has risen one place from last year to get top honours in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.

Rounding out the top three were Harper Adams University in Shropshire - which entered the rankings for the first time - and the University of Sheffield, which remained in third place.

The survey polled more than 15,000 undergraduates on 21 areas of student life including the structure of courses, quality of the library and community atmosphere.

The University of Oxford came fourth while last year's winner - the University of Bath - dropped to fifth place.

Also included in the top 10 were the University of Leeds, the University of East Anglia (UEA), Newcastle University, the University of Cambridge and Keele University.

The University of Surrey and the University of Exeter have both dropped out of the top 10 since last year's rankings.

John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education, said: "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 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.

"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."

A breakdown of the results of the survey by category shows the University of Oxford was ranked best nationally for quality of lectures and Falmouth University came joint top in the good environment on campus measure along with UEA.

In the good social life category, four universities - the University of Leeds, Newcastle University, the University of Sheffield and Cardiff University - shared top spot.