Lancaster reaches top ten for student experience

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Lancaster University has entered the top ten in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey for the first time in its history.

Lancaster joins the likes of the University of East Anglia, Oxford, Cambridge and Sheffield at the top of the Student Experience Survey 2013.

The Times Higher Education Survey asked more than 12,000 full-time students across the country to give their opinions on aspects of university such as social life and accommodation, as well as the quality of lectures.

The 2013 Experience Survey has seen far more movement in the rankings than in previous years, with Lancaster, York St John and Bath University all entering the top ten for the first time. The University of East Anglia also jumped up to first place from its position of sixth in the table in 2012.

With the increasing fees and commercialisation of British universities, the experience that students are getting at university is now a priority amongst many prospective students in addition to the quality of the degree that they are applying for.

The Times Higher Education Survey has been conducted for the past eight years and a free copy of the results is published for students on the Times Higher Education website. It measures student experience on a seven-point ranking scale across 21 different categories.

John Gill, the Times Higher Education editor, said, “The Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey aims to provide a snapshot of which universities are performing well in this area, and while no single institution can ever offer a blueprint for others simply to replicate, it should be possible to learn lessons from those universities that appear to be getting most things right.”

The results are categorised into different areas of student experience as well as being aggregated into an overall league table of student experience in general.

Aspects of student experience such as high quality lectures, a good atmosphere, high quality facilities and a good social life are weighted more heavily than aspects such as tuition in small groups and good accommodation.

Lancaster performed particularly well concerning a good campus environment, good security and good sports facilities. The university was also highly ranked for whether students would recommend the university to a friend. The majority of the individual rankings for Lancaster increased considerably from 2012.

Gill examined the reasons for such differences and the big changes in the survey amongst universities in comparison to previous years. He posited the following:

“With the government’s higher education reforms ramping levels of competition in the sector, improving the student experience has never been a greater priority for universities.”

Professor Amanda Chetwynd, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Colleges and Student Experience said:  “ I am delighted that Lancaster has risen in the Times Higher rankings for the student experience overall and is now top ten in the country: this reflects our vibrant campus community.  I am especially pleased that our accommodation and sports facilities are also highly ranked – 2nd and 5th in the UK. It is crucial that the views of our students are heard, and  the University, Colleges and Students’ Union work in partnership to ensure that we provide students with the opportunities and facilities that they need.”

For further details about the results of the 2013 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, visit the Times Higher Education website to download a free copy of the results table.

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