Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

Oxford fourth for student experience

The University of Oxford has risen to fourth of 117 universities in the newly released rankings of 2016 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, up one place from fifth last year.

Loughborough University tops this year’s survey, rising from second last year. New entrant Harper Adams University and the University of Sheffield take second and third places, respectively, with Sheffield retaining the same position as last yearLast year’s table topper University of Bath has dropped to fifth, while Cambridge has dropped five places to ninth.

The survey is entirely student-based. Over 15,000 undergraduates at 117 institutions took the survey, ranking their universities in 21 student-suggested attributes. These attributes range from quality of tuition and course structure to social experience, communal atmosphere and quality of facilities. 

Oxford has come first, or joint first, in several individual measures, namely “High quality staff/lectures”, “Helpful/interested staff”, “Good community atmosphere” and “Personal requirements catered for”. 

Some students believe that Oxford’s performance in the survey does it justice. A second-year Oriel undergraduate remarked that “there is something for everyone” in Oxford and that Oxford has “a good community atmosphere” and “amazing” tutors. 

Some others, however, think otherwise and feel that Oxford’s rather high ranking is not reflective of their experiences at Oxford. 

“Half of my tutors do not prepare for our tutorial[s] at all. Work is not marked and [those tutors] are clearly not familiar with the problem sheets [they give us]”, complained a second-year Christ Church Mathematics undergraduate. He also notably singled out the Iffley Sports Complex as being a “disappointing” facility with “poor ventilation and crowdedness”

“I’ve found Oxford to be extremely satisfying in terms of intellectual growth, but not as satisfying in terms of feeling as a part of the university”, said a Wycliffe Hall postgraduate. He attributed the lack of a sense of community to the “decentralized system of having separate colleges with their respective traditions”

A Magdalen postgraduate told Cherwell that while it is good to see that Oxford is perceived in the survey as having provided “a rich and nourishing student experience”, issues that cause some students to have “largely negative and even painful experiences of their times here” should not be overlooked.

The Media and Information Office of Oxford has declined to comment on Oxford’s performancewith its spokesperson telling Cherwell that the Office is “not in the habit of commenting on league tables, mainly because there are just so many of them.”

OUSU President Becky Howe and the Oxford branch of Student Minds, a prominent student mental health charity, were also unavailable for comment.

Support student journalism

Student journalism does not come cheap. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles