Oxford ranks sixth best for ‘student experience’

Cambridge ranked below Oxford in five of the Times Higher Education survey's seven categories

Oxford has risen one place to sixth in the annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.

The survey’s results come from the responses of 20,251 undergraduates, who were asked to describe how their university contributed to a positive or negative experience on a sliding scale in seven main categories.

Oxford fared best in the ‘academic experience’ category, coming second to Harper Adams University.

It did surprisingly well – ranking 11th – in the ‘student social life’ field, and was 12th-best for student welfare.

However, the University ranked as low as 24th for student security, and 27th for its facilities.

For the fifth time since 2009, the University of Loughborough came top of the rankings.

The University of Cambridge ranked above Oxford in just two of the survey’s categories: industry connections, and accommodation.

A more detailed breakdown revealed that only Imperial College London students think their workload is less ‘fair’ than their Oxford counterparts.

The project’s editor, Sara Custer, told Cherwell: “Oxford has continued to receive high marks for academic experience. It was rated the best university for the quality of its staff, how helpful the staff is, and for small group tuition. This is on the back of its consistently high scores in this composite going back almost ten years.

“This year the university also sits in the top 20 for societal experience, student welfare, industry connections and recommendations, showing students really feel they are getting a well-rounded experience from their time at the University.

“If we look at our three-year average score date since 2009, Oxford has shown increases in its average scores for industry connections, which is a notable improvement considering the public debate around higher education’s link with graduate employability. Providing undergraduates with those vital connections that will set them on a career path once they graduate is increasingly crucial to the perception of a good value degree.”

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Times Higher Education editor John Gill said that understanding the student experience “has never been more important to universities.”

“[They] are competing with one another to a far greater extent than they once did.

“That competition plays out in the academic experience, of course, but also the facilities and lifestyles on offer for those who choose to study at a particular institution.”

241 Oxford undergraduates were surveyed in the academic year 2016/17 for this set of results. 116 universities were included in the survey.

Oxford University and Oxford SU have been contacted for comment.