15 most popular student articles of 2016

Brexit, tuition fees, student satisfaction and graduate employability all feature in the top articles of the year. Not to mention university rankings.

December 20 2016
Students reading online articles

In just over a year since Times Higher Education – Student was launched, we’ve published more than 300 articles revealing the latest university rankings and data insights, offering expert advice on going to university, giving student voices a platform to share their experiences and highlighting trends affecting students in higher education.

At the top of the agenda in 2016 were some key issues within higher education and beyond: Brexit and its potential impact, tuition fees, student satisfaction and graduate employability.

All of these topics feature in the 15 most popular student articles of 2016, many of which drew in more than 50,000 readers in a few short months.

In fact the top 15 contains even more than you’d bargain for since regional university rankings have been grouped together. The full list contains 28 articles in total, with Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings leading the pack.

In reverse order (click the links for the full articles):

15. Best universities in the world 2017

World University Rankings 2016-2017

This round-up of the top universities in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2017 reveals facts, figures and unusual features of the best universities in the world. Read the full article to find out which top institution is also a distributor of olive oil.

14. Africa ranking 2016: top universities for students

For the very first time we published a pilot ranking revealing the top 15 universities in Africa. Alongside the university league table, an alumnus of Africa’s top university shares her student experience.

13. 17 Books You Should Read Before (or at) University – chosen by students

Books sold at a street market

Twelve university students from Canada to Hong Kong were asked which books – fiction or non-fiction – would have prepared them for the big transition into adulthood and university life. Although some academics had some very different suggestions, this is a student-generated reading list for prospective and current university students.

12. Best universities for computer science degrees 2017

Computer programming

Another first: a brand new computer science ranking of universities was added to our line-up of subject rankings this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this article continues to generate thousands of clicks from tech-savvy students around the world.

11. How could Brexit impact international students?

EU passport

On the day the results of the UK’s EU Referendum were announced, experts everywhere were already speculating about what Brexit could mean for international students both within and outside the EU. Rather worryingly, even six months later, this article – published within a few hours of the results – still offers an almost complete analysis of everything we know or can speculate about.

10. The most underrated UK universities, chosen by students

In the corridors of the internet students are gossiping about everything, including, apparently, which universities get a bad rap. Members of The Student Room, without prompting, generated hundreds of comments voting for the universities they believe are excellent, but don’t enjoy the reputation they deserve. These ‘well-kept secrets’ are certainly public knowledge now.

9. Cheapest UK universities for international students: tuition fees survey

Education fund

Tuition fees are always a pressing topic in the UK, and it’s hard to blame any prospective students getting very confused by the variation by degree course and institution. In particular, international students have been flocking to our survey to make sure they’re in the know.

8. Best universities in Europe 2016: Where can you get value for money?

Map of europe on a Euro note

Even though we’ve since released the new World University Rankings, this analysis, which squares the number of top universities in European countries against tuition fees for 2016, is proving a popular resource for the long term.

7. Top 100 universities with the best student-to-staff ratio

Students and a teacher in the classroom

It’s certainly not the usual suspects at the top of this ranking that highlights one feature of the teaching environment. Thousands of students this year have benefited from this fresh perspective on university excellence.

6. National Student Survey 2016: overall satisfaction results

Satisfaction Survey

Every year the results of the National Student Survey in the UK are much-anticipated and of course 2016 was no exception, particularly since the two joint top universities jumped a total of 48 places between them from the previous year’s results.

5. Shanghai Ranking: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 results announced


Even though the top university in the Shanghai Ranking remained unchanged for another year, the results have generated a lot of interest, and provide a useful comparison to other rankings.

4. The world’s best small universities 2016

Tinyversity graphic Times Higher Ed

With a worldwide competition, our favourite rankings hashtag (#tinyversity) and bespoke infographics, the very first Small University Ranking was the first big-hitter of the year.

3. THE Student Experience Survey 2016 results

Faces/emotions, Student Experience Survey 2016 results

It’s obvious that people like data on universities, and they particularly like metrics that measure the student experience and student satisfaction. Our own Student Experience Survey provided a comprehensive view of the student experience in the UK, and the results provoked discussion on TV, radio and online.

2. Global University Employability Ranking 2016 (5 articles)

Application for graduate job

This year we didn’t just publish the global results of the survey which asks employers to rate universities; we also published individual country rankings which used only the votes of local recruiters. The main results received the most interest, but US, France, Australia and UK rankings were also among the most popular articles this year.

  1. Global University Employability Ranking 2016
  2. United States Employability Ranking
  3. France Employability Ranking
  4. Australia Employability Ranking
  5. UK Employability Ranking

1. Best universities by country/region

Beyond specific regional rankings with distinct methodologies, additional articles which clearly laid out country or region cuts of the World University Rankings were the most popular on the student site this year.

The key destinations for international students drew the most eyes. In order, from most popular in 2016:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Europe
  4. Canada
  5. Germany
  6.  Australia
  7. France
  8. Netherlands
  9. Asia
  10. South America

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