The IOO University Guide 2013-2014
The Institute of Opinion was created by university students, and the majority of writers who have contributed to the website over the past year are current or former undergraduate university students.
Inevitably, a large amount of young people currently thinking of applying to universities this Autumn will no doubt look to online league tables as a rough guide to the quality of various institutions. While league tables are useful in giving an overall, general assessment as to the rough standing of an individual university, we realise that they should never be taken as gospel.
However, we remember the days of perusing league tables for days on end in our own search for credible university education, and now feel as though the many different incarnations of these lists all offer varying degrees of idiocy in terms of the indicators they use, and the weightings they were given.
So here we are; with a simple university league table of our own. We have used data entirely available online from other sources, given said data reasonable weightings, and formed a university league table made by university students, for future university students.
In our ranking, we measure 6 factors; Entry Standards, Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Graudate Prospects, University Spending, and Good Honours. Being university students ourselves, we have given these factors realistic weightings to create a final ranking that measures universities in a way that is unique: by criteria that is important and useful to current and prospective students. All data used in our rankings is freely available elsewhere in the public domain.
Cambridge tops the rankings in the inaugural IOO University Guide 2013-2014, with exceptionally high scores across all six factors. It’s varsity rival Oxford follows, along with Imperial College, LSE and – interestingly – St George’s, a medical school part of the University of London. St George’s benefits from exceptional graduate employment rates and spending on academic services and facilities – which are obivously high due to its position as a medicine only university. Initially, we considered excluding St George’s from the tables due to this, but nonetheless it is an undergraduate university with data for all factors available, and so we have included it in our rankings.
Round out the top 10 are Durham, St Andrews, UCL, Warwick, Bristol and Bath. Interestingly, universities such as Lancaster and York (which regularly feature in the top 12 of other rankings), fare slightly worse in our ranking – coming in at 19th and 22nd respectively.
King’s College London takes our inaugural University of the Year award. Ranked 12th, it has exceptionally high graduate recruitment rates and has solid scores in all of our other measures in the guide.
One of the standout performers is Bishop Grosseteste – a former college which has received full university status this year. Although being ranked as low as 116th in other publications, its ranking of 69th in our guide shows that it fares well when measured by factors that matter to students, such as student satisfaction and graduate prospects. Bishop Grosseteste takes our ‘One to Watch Award’.
By contrast, a fellow brand new university props up the rear of the table, with University College Birmingham sitting in 122nd position.