The verdict of thousands of students will settle which university wins the coveted title of Best Student Experience in the 2005 Times Higher Awards, writes Paul Hill. Of the 14 awards, the Best Student Experience is the only one that will be judged by a poll of undergraduates at 170 UKinstitutions.
The poll by Opinionpanel Research will ask students to assess their institution on a range of issues.
In OpinionPanel's previous research, more than 33 per cent of students said they wanted their time to be "like one long party", while 58 per cent said university had "exceeded their expectations".
Now students will be asked to rate on a scale of one to ten their university's academic reputation, the quality of teaching and the social life on campus and beyond. They will also judge facilities. Undergraduates will be asked to rate how they expect a degree will help their job prospects.
Kat Fletcher, president of the National Union of Students, said: "The NUS supports The Times Higher in recognising the very best in institutions through these awards. The higher education community plays a key role in shaping the student experience, and it's great that this is being acknowledged."
Sally Anne Saul, marketing manager for higher education and lifelong learning at RM, the award sponsor, said: "We are delighted to support The Times Higher award for the Best Student Experience. This further demonstrates our commitment to the sector and our commitment to supporting good practice within universities. We strongly support this initiative to recognise, celebrate and reward excellence and achievement in the sector."