Just as there is no one type of university student in the UK, there is no unique “good university experience”.
For every student who prioritises close relationships with their teachers, there’s another seeking out activism with their student union and yet another valuing exceptional sports facilities above all else. And that’s without mentioning social life, accommodation and other lifestyle factors that fundamentally contribute to the university experience.
The Student Experience Survey 2016 published by Times Higher Education evaluates universities over 21 different attributes, all suggested, unprompted, by students themselves.
More than 1,000 students were asked to describe how aspects of their university contributed to either a positive or negative university experience; the resulting methodology weights these factors by how important students say they are.
The teaching environment, unsurprisingly, receives the most weight in the survey, combined over six different attributes, including “high quality lecturers/staff”, “well-structured courses” and “tuition in small groups”.
Four factors that contribute to a good social and communal experience are all rated among the most important attributes for the student experience. Facilities (sports, libraries, amenities) and welfare also receive a significant share of the weighting.
Student Experience Survey 2016 methodology breakdown
More than 15,000 full-time undergraduates were asked how strongly they agreed that their university offered 21 different provisions, including “high quality staff/lectures”, “good extracurricular activities” and “good support and welfare”. Survey participants were recruited from YouthSight’s market research panel.