University applicants: facilities ‘more important’ than reputation

Annual study from UK estates group shows academic performance has dropped in importance for prospective students

September 25, 2016
estates facilities
Source: iStock

Prospective students are becoming less concerned about a university’s academic ranking and reputation when picking a place to study, according to an annual survey.

In a student experience survey conducted by the UK’s Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), 44 per cent of students viewed academic rankings as important to choosing a university, while 42 per cent were influenced by reputation. But this marks a drop of 5 percentage points in both categories from AUDE’s 2015 survey.

The research found that students were more interested in an institution’s facilities when it came to making a decision on their university.

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) said facilities were an important factor, although this was also down on last year’s results, which showed that 67 per cent of students viewed facilities as an important driver in their decision-making.

The findings reflect a report published by the UK’s admissions service Ucas in July, which showed that applicants were basing choices on a wide range of factors, and “higher tariff” institutions could not necessarily rely on their prestige and academic position for attracting students.

Commenting on AUDE’s research, Trevor Humphreys, AUDE chair and director of estates and facilities at the University of Surrey, said it was encouraging for those concentrating on improving estates that facilities were “very important” for today’s students.

“It’s clear potential students are choosing universities which offer the best overall experience, perhaps more than ever before,” he said. “Effective estate management is key to ensuring higher education institutions deliver the best possible student experience, both academically and socially.

“To reflect this, we included catering facilities, which include social spaces such as on-site cafes and food halls, as an area for consideration in our annual survey. Almost 4 per cent of people chose this as a key factor in their decision-making.

"This may have contributed to the slight decline in the number of people choosing their university based on academic ranking or reputation, although these remain key factors that impact decisions.”

Mr Humphreys warned the sector that they “need to continually understand both student behaviour and satisfaction”.

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote

Portrait montage of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

From Donald Trump to Brexit, John Morgan considers the challenges of a new international political climate