## PUSH's league table

- LEAGUE TABLES - UNIVERSITY LEAGUE TABLE
- HOW THE TABLE WORKS
- LEAGUE TABLES - UNIVERSITY CLUBS, SOCIETIES AND TEAMS
- UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

LEAGUE TABLES - UNIVERSITY LEAGUE TABLE

Want to find the 'best' university? League tables can't tell you the right one for you, but, just for fun, Push has come up with its own criteria to rank them. It's all arbitrary, but Push's criteria are perhaps more relevant to most students than the ones certain newspapers use for their league tables.

Click to download Push's league table.

Before long every newspaper worth its vinegar will run its very own league table of universities. Each will have its own ideas about what makes the best.

The thing is, they’re all wrong.

Any university ranking is based on what its inventors think is important, but their priorities may be a snail’s hike from yours.

To prove the point, Push has come up with our own league table, using a wider variety of factors than most (including money, ease of entry and student life).

The results are no more useful than any other league table, but they may surprise you.

HOW THE TABLE WORKS

*Methodology*

This may get a little technical. If you're not a statistician, maybe all you need to know is that the table takes ten different factors, some of which count as more important than others and Push has made those completely arbitrary decisions about which is more important and by how much. And that's the problem with this and every other league table.

Having said that, if you do love your means, modes and medians and really do want to understand it, here's where the nitty gets gritty.

Universities are assessed on the basis of five factors: finance; job prospects; academic standards; ease of entry and demand; and the level and range of extra-curricular activities and support. Each of these factors is worth up to 1,000 points towards a total score out of 5,000. Except for job prospects, which are assessed on the basis of one criterion alone, the scores are the sum of several indicators as follows. For each indicator, points are awarded on a relative basis where the highest performing university scores the maximum and the lowest scores the minimum, with those in between scoring points according to their relative performance within the spread. Where no data is available for a given indicator, the average points for the indicator are awarded.

1. The financial indicators are weighted equally (ie. 500 points each):

a. Cost of living: This is in itself a compound statistic, involving weighted figures for accommodation costs, a basket of student goods (bought locally) and the booze index (which is the weighted average of a pint of beer, a glass of wine and a glass of orange juice bought locally and in the student bar).

b. Average student debt per year: These figures are according to the 2007 survey carried out by Push in every campus in the UK involving face-to-face interviews with nearly 2,000 students.

2. Job prospects are measured according the percentage unemployed six months after graduation.

3. Academic indicators include:

a. “Flunk rates” (non-completion) as provided by HESA (up to 400 points);

b. Staff:student ratios (up to 200 points);

c. Push’s teaching rating, based on a compound of the National Student Satisfaction Survey (where available) and QAA assessments (up to 400 points).

4. Ease of entry and demand gives equal weight (up to 500 points each) to:

a. Average UCAS points of students admitted: Contrary to most league tables, for the purposes of this exercise, Push takes the attitude that the lower the entry qualifications a student requires, the better.

b. Applications per place: To balance a university merely being easy to get into, these league tables also include a measurement of the relative demand for the places.

5. Student life comprises:

a. Push’s own star rating system (1 to 5 stars) for measuring student activity which in turn is based on the number of student clubs and societies per capita and the SU turnover per capita (up to 800 points)

b. The number of students per welfare counsellor, including both student union and university-provided staff with part-time staff counting as half (up to 200 points).

The weightings accorded are largely arbitrary and do not reflect the weight any prospective student does or should give to each factor. In fact, it should be noted that there is an inherent bias in the weighting used towards smaller institutions. However, other weightings would have created other biases instead – as is the case in any league table that tries to compare chalk and cheese.

It should go without saying that this exercise has a massive health warning: these factors mean very little out of context. For instance, just because a cost of living is low, it does not mean the quality of life is high, and just because a university has a high flunk rate, it doesn’t mean any individual student is likely to flunk or not, nor that it would be a problem for them if they did.

KEY TO THE UNIVERSITY STATISTICS TABLE

Beer price, average per pint

Based on Push's average of the price of a pint in the university's and local venues, weighted by the number of students living in and living out.

Source: Push’s exclusive on-site research.

Booze index

The average price of a drink for a student. It’s based on the prices of a glass of wine, a pint of beer and a glass of orange juice bought in the student bar and the same drinks bought in a local (studenty) pub and then calculating the average (mean) weighted by the number of students living in and living out.

Source: Push’s exclusive on-site research.

Clearing (% in through clearing)

The percentage of students entering through the UCAS clearing system. The universities’ own data is usually significantly higher than the figures recorded by UCAS itself. This is because a number of students apply to universities directly during the clearing period and are therefore not officially registered by UCAS as having used the clearing system, but, as far as the students and unis are concerned, the difference is merely bureaucratic.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

College accommodation (% living in)

The number of places for undergraduate students in university accommodation.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

Course years, average

The average (mode) course length. At some unis, there’s more variation than others.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

Debt per year, average

Each year Push interviews a number of students from every university (at least 15, often more), recording, among other things, their year of study, their expected course length and their debts to a number of different lenders (such as banks, the SLC, credit cards, etc). The debt per year of study is based on the average (mean) of these debts, taking into account how long the students have been studying already and the time of year of the interviews.

Source: calculation exclusive to Push, based on exclusive on-site research.

Disabled students

Each year Push interviews a number of students from every university (at least 15, often more), recording, among other things, their year of study, their expected course length and their debts to a number of different lenders (such as banks, the SLC, credit cards, etc). The debt per year of study is based on the average (mean) of these debts, taking into account how long the students have been studying already and the time of year of the interviews.

Source: calculation exclusive to Push, based on exclusive on-site research.

Drop-off rate

aka the ‘non-continuation rate’, this is the percentage of students who enter a full-time first-degree in a particular year who are no longer studying in higher education the following year and have not obtained a qualification. It’s not the same as the flunk rate because the drop is based on actual numbers rather than projections and just records students in their first year who don’t move on (rather than across their whole degree course) and so it’s bound to be much lower.

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Entry points, average

The average (mean) number of UCAS tariff points held by students who are actually admitted to the uni. As such, it’s a measure of their previous base level of academic performance. Some would say it’s a measure of how bright the students are, but that’s a bold claim. It’s not the same as the entry requirements. For example, a uni might expect students to have 3 Bs (300 points) to study French.

Beer price, average per pint

Based on Push's average of the price of a pint in the university's and local venues, weighted by the number of students living in and living out.

Source: Push’s exclusive on-site research.

Booze index

The average price of a drink for a student. It’s based on the prices of a glass of wine, a pint of beer and a glass of orange juice bought in the student bar and the same drinks bought in a local (studenty) pub and then calculating the average (mean) weighted by the number of students living in and living out.

Source: Push’s exclusive on-site research.

Clearing (% in through clearing)

The percentage of students entering through the UCAS clearing system. The universities’ own data is usually significantly higher than the figures recorded by UCAS itself. This is because a number of students apply to universities directly during the clearing period and are therefore not officially registered by UCAS as having used the clearing system, but, as far as the students and unis are concerned, the difference is merely bureaucratic.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

College accommodation (% living in)

The number of places for undergraduate students in university accommodation.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

Course years, average

The average (mode) course length. At some unis, there’s more variation than others.

Source: the universities’ own data supplied to Push.

Debt per year, average

Each year Push interviews a number of students from every university (at least 15, often more), recording, among other things, their year of study, their expected course length and their debts to a number of different lenders (such as banks, the SLC, credit cards, etc). The debt per year of study is based on the average (mean) of these debts, taking into account how long the students have been studying already and the time of year of the interviews.

Source: calculation exclusive to Push, based on exclusive on-site research.

Disabled students

Each year Push interviews a number of students from every university (at least 15, often more), recording, among other things, their year of study, their expected course length and their debts to a number of different lenders (such as banks, the SLC, credit cards, etc). The debt per year of study is based on the average (mean) of these debts, taking into account how long the students have been studying already and the time of year of the interviews.

Source: calculation exclusive to Push, based on exclusive on-site research.

Drop-off rate

aka the ‘non-continuation rate’, this is the percentage of students who enter a full-time first-degree in a particular year who are no longer studying in higher education the following year and have not obtained a qualification. It’s not the same as the flunk rate because the drop is based on actual numbers rather than projections and just records students in their first year who don’t move on (rather than across their whole degree course) and so it’s bound to be much lower.

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Entry points, average

The average (mean) number of UCAS tariff points held by students who are actually admitted to the uni. As such, it’s a measure of their previous base level of academic performance. Some would say it’s a measure of how bright the students are, but that’s a bold claim. It’s not the same as the entry requirements. For example, a uni might expect students to have 3 Bs (300 points) to study French.

LEAGUE TABLES - UNIVERSITY CLUBS, SOCIETIES AND TEAMS

Click here to find out whether there's rock at Reading or karate at Keele in this detailed table of clubs and societies.

University Entrance Requirements

uinucaspoints.pdf |