A Times Higher Education survey has placed St Andrews in joint 13th place (alongside the University of Bath) for overall student experience.
The table gave St Andrews a score of 80.9, just five points below Harper Adams University’s first place score of 85.8. The results are based on responses from over 15,000 undergraduates who were asked to evaluate their university experience across 21 measures.
St Andrews came third in academic experience after Harper Adams University and the University of Oxford.
Jason Gallant, a third-year study abroad student, said, “I think the student experience at St Andrews is unique and fulfilling, and academic experience is especially rich because professors here are dedicated and accessible, something that’s increasingly hard to find. Frankly, I’m surprised we didn’t rank a little higher.”
In terms of social experience, a fairly broad category, St Andrews came in sixth place.
Angus Waugh, a first-year active in Saint Sports surfing and swimming, said, “The ranking is somewhat unfair and does not recognise that the societal experience has a large impact on St Andrews life.”
There were some areas of the rankings in which the University fell noticeably short. It was ranked 18th for availability of welfare help, which includes Student Services and the Advice and Support Centre.
Nush Kohli, a first-year student, said, “I think that it’s an unfair ranking because, from my experience, students here are generally healthy and happy. We’re not in a big city, so it can get claustrophobic at times because it’s so small, but it’s still a lovely university.”
St Andrews’ worst performance came in accommodation, where it ranked 86th. The University has frequently encountered students complaining of the high cost, limited availability, and inconvenience of some accommodation options.
Many students live in David Russell Apartments, Agnes Blackadder Hall, and Albany Park, all of which are located a significant distance from the centre of town.
Some students, however, see the distance as a trade-off. Charlie Campbell, a first year living in ABH, said, “I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. I’d sooner live a bit further away seeing as I got a really good deal.”
Agreeing with the Times assessment, Freya Goble, a second-year student, said, “We came so low on accommodation because we have hardly any affordable options, which is pushing working-class students out of St Andrews. Additionally, because we have a captive market for private housing, incredibly high prices and competition make finding a place to live a really unpleasant experience.”
Absent from most student complaints are issues with the overall quality of University accommodation.
Ms Kohli, who lives in halls, said that her “accommodation is cosy, comfortable, and friendly.”