Times Higher Education has published the results of its latest Student Experience Survey. Regardless of whether or not you like league tables like this, the survey could help you get an idea of the type of university you’d be interested in being at (if you’re not yet at uni, of course…).
The important point to take away from this survey is that we’re all different and we’re not all looking for the same student experience. Take two students and you’ll find that their experiences differ wildly, even if they are both students from the same university.
Wes Streeting, president of the NUS, says, “…students themselves determine the factors important in delivering a high-quality experience.”
That’s why you don’t necessarily want to be at the university rated Number One. Loughborough has been top of the Times Higher Education survey for three years running and that’s impressive. However, that doesn’t make a prospective student’s decision a no-brainer. Eleanor Simmons, part of Opinionpanel (the company who undertook the survey’s research), agrees:
“What’s clear is that universities are offering and students are seeking quite different types of experiences.”
League tables are good for improving your understanding in how a certain university may benefit you and suit your wants and needs. There are no answers, but there should be some helpful pointers to bring you closer to well-informed university choices.
Some questions you might like to ask when shortlisting possible uni choices:
- Is the campus in a city, a small town, or in the middle of nowhere?
- Are there any financial incentives on offer to me?
- What are the sports facilities like?
- How expensive is the area?
- What is the accommodation like and is it guaranteed for new students?
- How do the league tables rate my subject’s teaching quality at the universities?
- Do I want to move away, or study nearby and commute from home?
- How is the course structured to suit my learning?
- What social facilities are on offer?
- What is the campus atmosphere like?
- How do current students rate the libraries, IT equipment and access, and other important study facilities?
- What clubs can I join?
- Is the campus split up, or all in one area?
- What other types of assistance do the university offer to students?
Finally, to get a proper feel of a uni and to see if it ‘speaks’ to you, it’s wise to go to an open day. Better still, you could try to spend some time nearby and get a flavour of the surrounding area. From my own experience, an intensive visit can be worth more than all the prospectus promotion, league tables, and conversations put together. So many past students have agreed with me that their choice of university often rested on an amazing open day visit. And for some, the final choice can come as a surprise. After being certain that one place had it all, a disappointing open day can destroy it and open the way for another institution to sweep you off your feet.
There’s only so much vibe you can get from a survey.