Harper Adams University offers the best student experience in the country, according to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) UK Student Experience Survey. Just over four years after gaining full university status, the specialist agricultural institution has beaten off competition from more than 120 other universities. It won high praise from students for its quality of teaching, campus facilities and strong community atmosphere.
Over 15,000 students were questioned about their university experience across 22 criteria including teaching, accommodation, facilities and social aspects. Loughborough University, last year’s winner, is second thanks to its exceptional sporting facilities and extracurricular activities. The University of Sheffield is third with students highly rating its library and student union. The University of Leeds is fourth, and the University of Surrey comes fifth.
John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education, comments:
“It is notable that our league table is topped by a specialist institution with among the best track records for industry links and employability. Our survey tracks student attitudes across 22 criteria, but there’s no doubt that students put enormous stock on their future career prospects in this era of high tuition fees. One of the other notable findings, which reflects a longstanding trend, is that London institutions consistently perform among the worst in the country for the student experience. Eight of the bottom 12 institutions in our table are in the capital. This is likely to be down to a combination of factors, including the expense of living in London, the fragmented nature of many campuses, and the sheer size of the city. But it is something that London universities are finding very difficult to do anything about, and is in stark contrast to the overwhelming preference that international students have for studying in London rather than in other parts of the country.”
David Llewellyn, vice-chancellor Harper Adams University, said:
“It is great to see our students rate the university so highly and coming first is a fantastic result. We work hard to give our students an outstanding academic experience, but because we are based in the countryside our Students’ Union also puts on a very active social programme to help students get to know each other. We work closely with our student community to focus on their social life and extracurricular activities as well as the support they receive from our dedicated and committed staff. We also encourage them to think about driving innovation in UK farming. For instance, we are exploring how drones and robots might be used further in agriculture. One project in particular is looking at how we might grow a crop of barley without a human setting foot on the ground. We believe that for our students to achieve their full potential, they need to understand the changing nature of food production from our research activities.”