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University tops national student poll

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SHEFFIELD University is the best place to study for a degree, according to a new national poll of students.

It has moved up two places to take the top ranking in the Times Higher Education (THE) student experience survey. Leeds University is also ranked in the top ten.

The survey asked full-time undergraduates to rank their university on 21 categories in total, with more than 14,000 students responding. Sheffield was not only best overall but also ranked highest for its students union.

The university’s vice chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett said: “We are delighted and humbled that our students have voted us number one for student experience in the UK.

“We already had confidence that we offered students an outstanding education and that this was accompanied by exceptional facilities and extra-curricular activities such as volunteering and the development of enterprise skills. But our students also appreciate the particular care for their interests and well-being which is so central to our culture here in Sheffield.

Bath was ranked second and last year’s winner the University of East Anglia (UEA) dropped to third. Dundee and Oxford shared fourth place with Cambridge in sixth,

Exeter is ranked seventh, Durham eighth, Leeds is in ninth place and Nottingham rounding out the top 10 in tenth position.

Exeter, Durham and Nottingham all entered the top 10 this year, with Exeter rising from 26th place last year.

A breakdown of the results by category shows that Oxford was the most highly rated by students for high quality staff and lectures, Sheffield was top for students’ union and Bath scored the highest for industry connections.

Stirling was the university considered to be offering the most improved student experience.

THE editor John Gill, said: “Universities are spending ever more time and money trying to get the ‘student experience’ right, as they face up to competition for students not just locally and nationally, but also internationally.

“Now in its ninth year, the Times Higher Education Student Experience polls student opinion on 21 aspects of university life and highlights the institutions that are getting certain things right.”

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Sir Keith added: “This award reflects a genuine partnership between our students and the university. Staff at all levels and in many different roles have a genuine care for students and want to see them thrive during their time with us and beyond into the world of work. It is wonderful to know that our students feel that care and believe that it is making a difference. That is a partnership we will never take for granted – I would like to thank all those students who voted.”

Ally Buckle, President of the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union said: “Sheffield is a great place to study so it comes as no surprise that our students are amongst the most satisfied in the UK.

“To get number one however is a real accolade and I’m very proud of us for achieving this. We must continue to strive for excellence, continually improving the relationship between staff and students and empowering students to become the leaders of the future.”