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Student Experience Survey 2016: university reviews

Read student reviews of their experience at the best and most improved universities in the Times Higher Education's Student Experience Survey 2016

  • Rankings
  • Rankings for Students
  • Student life
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Carly Minsky

March 17 2016
Student peeking behind book, Student Experience Survey 2016 university reviews


View the full results of the Student Experience Survey 2016

More than 15,000 students across the UK have contributed to the Times Higher Education's Student Experience Survey 2016. Now students at the best and most improved universities explain what their university life is really like at these institutions.

Claim a free copy of the full data set in the Student Experience Survey 2016 digital supplement

Loughborough University at #1:
Best university for student experience

Tim Jackson, third year student studying industrial design and technology
“The academic experience and the overall student experience have benefited my personal development hugely. I have access to fantastic facilities, all within walking distance on campus. I’ve been able to complete part of my studies abroad, in cooperation with TU Delft, and I’ve been able to gain work experience with Adidas at their HQ in Germany.”
Tim Jackson, third year student studying industrial design and technology

“Loughborough has provided me with high quality lectures and amazing facilities and I have a great social life here. The university’s great at integrating every student into university life. I wouldn't change anything.”
Nikki Ramos-Clarkson, third year student studying communication and media studies

Harper Adams at #2:
New entrant to the ranking

Leonie Morphett, Harper Adams
“As a career-changing mature student, picking the right university with good course content, employment rates and track record was vital. Harper Adams has already excelled in providing a professional and engaging learning environment, with enthusiastic lecturers actively involved in the industry in which they teach. Highlights also include opportunities to extend skills outside the classroom, which has enabled me to gain additional experience in the field and connect with other experts.
Leonie Morphett, first-year student on the BSc wildlife conservation and natural resource management degree


Emily Shanahan, Harper Adams
“The most important thing for me about the university experience is the chance to grow as a person, as well as academically. Harper Adams has exceeded my expectations. I was so quiet when I first started here and now I have gained confidence and am less quiet. I’m not sure I could improve anything – everyone at Harper Adams has been so accommodating, especially over the past year since I got my assistance dog, Magic.”
Emily Shanahan,  third year student on the FdSc agri-food marketing with business studies degree


Sam Green, Harper Adams
“What matters most is that you enjoy the environment that you’re in. Harper Adams is a campus university that has everything you need, including the coffee shop, pub, farm and don’t forget the library. Lecturers all have their own speciality and they are all willing to give you time and help you out. We have all the sports and social things we need. The nightlife is great as you can get to know everyone and have a good laugh.

There’s something nice about seeing familiar faces and not just people you’ve never met all the time. I think we could improve our sports pitches, equipment and car parking space. But if that’s all I can think of to improve then Harper Adams has definitely been the right place for me. I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone.”
Sam Green, fourth year student on the BSc honours agri-food marketing with business studies degree

Newcastle University at #7:
Best university in the North East of England


Before attending Newcastle University, I was constantly reminded that it was among the best for student experience. After three unforgettable years of studying here, I can now confidently say that this accolade is truly deserved. Great student services, a devoted world-class teaching staff and a beautiful campus are all at the heart of one of the most welcoming and dynamic cities in the UK. I couldn’t ask for more!
Marcus Forrester, modern languages BA honours


Being in my final year of a relatively specialised degree, I can reflect that Newcastle University so unique.
Emily Noakes, third year student on the food marketing and nutrition BSc (Hons) degree

Keele University at #10:
New entrant to the top 10

“The students’ union at Keele is dedicated to enhancing the overall university experience. SU membership is free and automatic to all Keele students. The union building is visited for all sorts of reasons from wanting to have a laid-back quick lunch to needing to grab some stationary at the union shop. The team works to cater for the interests of a diverse population of students, and for that reason, the events held range from fancy dress nights to more relaxed pub quiz nights. You will also find the volunteering department at the SU as well as the jobshop, ASK centre, and the famous MUNCH restaurant.”
Leila Assaad, second year pharmacy student

“Keele is a giant green bubble in the middle of Staffordshire. Being one of the largest campuses with the smallest student populations, you can never claim of being suffocated. The distinct layout means that most of the academic buildings are down one road, so chances are that on the way to your lecture you will see at least three friends going to their lectures.

“I have used the disability and dyslexia service as I have hearing loss. They allowed me to have personal evacuation plans created and a deaf alerter in my room to ensure that I felt, and was, safe on campus. They also worked my special needs into examinations, meaning that I get to go to a different room to majority of students, where it is more flexible for those who need extra time, breaks and more.”
Hannah Watts, third year biology with forensic science student

“The library is open 24/7 during term time and is so useful. There are several different types of learning areas, silent study, group study, group study rooms that you can book and single-use corrals for complete quiet and concentration. I have used all of these areas for different types of work and they have been really helpful.”
Jessica Fulton, fourth year geoscience student

Aston University at #32:
New entrant to the top 40

“As a whole, the university champions the importance of theory with practical experience, both at home and abroad, which I have grown to recognise and appreciate. The exposure to such diverse contexts is invaluable for any and every student."
Olivia D Hinds, final year student of international business and Spanish

“I believe that Aston has made me a more confident and independent individual. It has opened doors that I never thought were available and let me experience things I never thought I would. I have been able to try new things and make new friends as well as discover knowledge in something I am so interested in.”
Dylan Karavadra, first year student on the BSc psychology (hons) degree

Robert Gordon University at #38:
New entrant to the top 40

“I chose to study at RGU because I was looking for a university that has both a strong teaching programme and opportunities to develop industry-relevant skills to allow me to have a successful career. RGU has a good employability record and I hope it continues to ensure that all students are able to gain practical experience and enjoy being part of a vibrant and diverse university community.”
Edward Pollock, fourth year student on the BA (Hons) event management degree

Alex Ross
“RGU’s renowned reputation for graduate employment success was what attracted me – particularly regarding its encouragement of practical experience. While I believe that my placement and study abroad experiences have made me a stronger graduate candidate, it was the wide range of extra-curricular opportunities that RGU offers such as the chances to become a class representative, student buddy and student ambassador that are the highlights of my university experience.”
Alex Ross, fourth year student on the BA (Hons) international tourism management degree

Southampton Solent University at #54:
‘Most improved’ university

Nicola Parr, Southampton Solent University
“There are amazing facilities at Solent, including the UK’s only university cinema using Dolby Atmos. My course also has a lot of opportunities for students as well – to work at Glastonbury, and loads of festivals. I’d like to see more interaction outside of the students’ union between students on different courses.”
Nicola Parr, first year student on the BEng (Hons) audio and acoustics engineering degree

Camelia, Southampton Solent
“I really enjoy the open and inclusive atmosphere we have here on campus. Tutors are almost always available to chat, and all the staff I’ve met have helped me to feel supported and at ease.”
Camelia, recent graduate of the BA (Hons) animation degree

Marica, Southampton Solent University
“I am in love with this course. It has a lot of practical experiences as well as placement opportunities, and I have enhanced my CV greatly thanks to the jobs and internships that I have had through Southampton Solent University.”
Marica, recent graduate of the BA (Hons) public relations and communication degree

University of Gloucestershire at #62:
Second ‘most improved’ university

Andrew Wilhelmsen
“The most important things to me are regular and easy access to facilities and getting support from academic staff. The university already offers exceptional, personal support from academic and non-academic staff, and we’re able to book laboratories and specialist equipment regularly. I would like to see more opportunities for placements and professional experiences.”
Andrew Wilhelmsen, third year student studying sport and exercise sciences


 “The thing that matters most to me is achieving good grades. Feedback is provided with all work both academic and practical, and the option is always there to speak with the marker personally as well. I want the sense of getting students ready for the 'real world' to continue and improve.”
Richard Walker, second year student studying television production


“Knowing that there is a good chance of employability for graduates and the ability to gain industry experience are essential for me. The placements team at the University of Gloucestershire offer the experiences and they are very supportive with graduate jobs too. I would love to see more students’ union involvement in terms of activities that are not sports.”
Laura Blackwell, fourth year student studying information technology

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Carly Minsky

March 17 2016
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