The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey is carried out every year, and aims to get an idea of student satisfaction by asking students to rate their university for 21 different aspects of university life. The survey is carried out by student, youth and young professional research organisation YouthSight, and students are recruited through UCAS to complete the survey.
The most recent survey displays results recorded over an eight month period from October 2012 to June 2013. This year, 14,300 students completed the poll in which 111 UK universities were ranked, compared to around 3,000 students who took part in the survey last year, in which 102 universities ranked. Overall scores for universities are indexed on a scale of 1-100, and only universities who scored 50 or more are included in the final rankings.
Participants were asked to rate their university on a 7-point scale for 21 different aspects of student life, including social life, lectures, university staff, societies, community, facilities, cost of amenities, security, accommodation and more. All aspects were attributed a weight of importance, with the most significant feature being whether or not you would recommend your university to a friend. The same wording and weighting of the survey has been in place for the past 5 years, so we can really see how UK universities are improving over time.
As far as overall scores go, the University of Sheffield came top with an overall score of 84.7/100, the University of Bath came second scoring 84.4/100, and in third place was the University of East Anglia with a score of 82.9/100.
The mean score for all ranking universities did not increase from last year’s score, however, many individual universities have improved noticeably.
Cardiff University ranked as the top university in Wales in 15th position. 218 Cardiff University students took part in the poll, giving the university an overall score of 80.5/100 (only 4.2 points behind 1st place!). The areas where Cardiff University received the most points were for the student’s union and the recommendation to a friend. The University’s current ranking is a slight nudge down from last year’s survey where Cardiff claimed 14th position, but they are still doing much better than in 2012 where they ranked in 22nd position.
The University of South Wales, formerly University of Glamorgan, came in 72nd place with an overall score of 74.2/100. 109 students from the University of South Wales took part in the survey, with the areas they rated top including staff, lectures and facilities.
Cardiff Metropolitan University ranked in 94th place with an overall score of 70.3/100. 52 students from Cardiff Met completed the survey, rating high quality staff and lectures as the best things about Cardiff Met.
Due to the different number of students from each university taking part in the survey, some may question its validity; however, results have been consistent despite the fluctuations in the number of participants, so maybe the number of participants is not as important as one may think. Not only does the survey highlight the areas in which universities are doing well, but it also shows the different areas where institutions can improve to offer a better student experience in the year(s) to come.
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