The University of Dundee has come top in the Times Higher Education's (THE) annual Student Experience Survey today. We polled 14,000 students on behalf of the THE on how they rated their university's performance across 21 categories that matter to them most. These range from the quality of staff and lectures to social life and accommodation.
Dundee beat last year's winner Loughborough University to the top spot this year. They were followed by The University of Sheffield in third place and then Oxford and Cambridge. Overall the universities in the top 10 places have stayed the same since 2010 despite some jostling for position.
The top performing institutions were:
1. University of Dundee
2. Loughborough University
3. University of Sheffield
4. University of Oxford
5. University of Cambridge
6. University of East Anglia
7. University of Southampton
=8. Aberystwyth University
=8. University of Glasgow
=8. University of Leeds
More than 14,000 full-time undergraduates took part, an increase of over 1,000 from the preceding year. All respondents were members of our Student Panel, and their views were gathered between September 2010 and August 2011.
Just as in previous surveys, the student experience was broken down into 21 elements chosen by students themselves as key indicators. Participants were asked to rate how their university performed in each of the areas using a seven-point scale. Each attribute was assigned a weight reflecting its importance within the overall student experience.
The same weighting methodology has been used for the past three years, with the greatest weights applied to the attributes that correlated most closely to whether or not the respondent would recommend the university to a friend.
For the 2010-11 comparison, only universities with 30 or more ratings in 2010 and 50 or more ratings in 2011 have been included. As a result, some rankings in the "Rank 2010" column vary slightly in comparison with last year's table.
Each university's score was indexed on a scale from 1 to 100.
Participants, who were not told the purpose of the polling, were drawn from all years of undergraduate degree study and took the survey only once. They were given a small incentive for taking part - as YouthSight does on all its surveys.
YouthSight's Student Panel was recruited via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, and a new cohort is recruited annually.
The difference in scores of similarly ranked institutions will not be statistically significant, but we note that the results have been stable year on year and believes the survey is effective at highlighting best practice and below-par performance.
To determine the winner of Times Higher Education's Most Improved Student Experience Award, YouthSight looked at shifts in both the overall scores and the ranking positions of institutions between 2010 and 2011.
Each institution's aggregate score was based on the mean of its ranked "change in score" and ranked "change in league table position" over the period. For the 2010-11 comparison, only universities with 30 ratings or more in 2010 and 50 ratings or more in 2011 were included.