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Top universities for student satisfaction (NSS)

Interesting lectures, academic support and great facilities? Any university will claim to offer these, but which come out top in the National Student Survey?

Student satisfaction scores can give you a glimpse into what the student experience is really like once you arrive. Here's our round-up of universities that impressed most in the latest National Student Survey (NSS) for overall satisfaction…

Happy university students

The NSS asks final-year undergraduates to rate various aspects of their course experience, including the quality of teaching, assessment and feedback and academic support, as well as provide an overall rating.

From this student satisfaction rating we calculate a mean average student score per university based on how students as a whole responded, which you can see on our university profiles when doing your own uni research. 

Here are the top performing universities in the 2016 NSS survey, including their % satisfaction rating and a few comments from their students in Which? University's Student Survey

University of Buckingham (97%)

University of Buckingham

'Lecturers are great extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects and give you help when needed.'

'Tutorials are good, with small classes and student hours to talk to tutors, and lectures so you can really understand a topic.'

Keele University (94%)

Keele University

'Variety of societies. There are tons of seemingly random societies and they are generally quite well run. If you go along you make lots of friends.'

'Very friendly place. Everyone is made to feel welcome. There's so many different societies something for everyone. Another bonus is the location. Keele is set in absolutely stunning grounds.'

University of St Andrews (94%)

University of St Andrews

'The university community is really close-knit and welcoming. Student clubs and societies are numerous and interesting, with everything from Mediaeval Reenactment to Fine Food & Dining. The academic staff are engaging and interesting.'

'The support network is superb. I had a serious breakdown not long into my third year, and the system's flexibility to cope with such things  on top of the kindness and understanding from my course leaders really astonished me.'

Bishop Grosseteste University (92%)

Bishop Grosseteste University

'The lecturers work really hard to make sure all feedback and work is returned on time, and that it is something you can improve on. If not, being able to contact the lecturers is a very easy, whether that be in person or through e-mail.'

'The university is very small and homely. We have lots of activities to take part in for all interests, including art, history, sport and drama.'

Liverpool Hope University (92%)

Liverpool Hope University

'Excellent campus facilities in attractive leafy suburban area (Hope Park). Smaller numbers enrolled on courses means much better access to university staff and academics. Smaller departments create a much friendlier and personable atmosphere, where students and staff tend to know each well other on first name terms.'

'The help from the tutors at Hope University is OUTSTANDING! They have a genuine interest in you and are always there for you if you have any problems or questions.'

Aberystwyth University (92%)

Aberystwyth University

'The lengths to which the lecturers and support staff are willing to go to is amazing. Not only usual contact hours and an open door policy; but they assign specifics hours during the week when they will definitely be free to go through any work you're struggling with, even if it isn't part of their module.'

'It is a beautiful town and it can be a real joy to live here. As well as this it is surprisingly well equipped; the university libraries, the National Library of Wales and the wonderful Ystwyth Books ought to leave you with no excuses as far as material for your studies goes.'

Coventry University (91%)

University of Coventry

'This is very general, but the Coventry University campus does well with making the university feel like a community.'
'The enthusiasm and eagerness of the lecturers to help you and teach you exceeded my expectations. They really are amazing. Nothing else to say.The facilities are amazing and the atmosphere during classes. The whole group as a whole often discuss things and analyse them together to see what was good and what wasn't. We learn together. The textbooks are free, which is a HUGE benefit.'

University of East Anglia (91%)

University of East Anglia

'The atmosphere is amazing! People are friendly, the uni is always working on making everything better (they actually listen to students) and the campus has a really good location with multiple bus lines stopping on campus that directly drops you off in the cutest little city (Norwich). There are always really cool events on, from literary events with famous authors, to randomly appearing bouncy castles on the square (with BBQ stands around it).'
'I was apprehensive to go to UEA because I live an hour away anyway. It's by far the best decision I have made. UEA has a fantastic campus and everyone is really friendly and helpful.'

University of Exeter (91%)

University of Exeter

'Exeter, being a campus university, provides a homely and welcoming environment. The library is wonderful, with an excellent collection of books.The forum is a great space with a range of cafes etc for a more social working environment.'
'The atmosphere on campus is great, it's so green and there is loads to look at! Some of the classes offered by the gym are fantastic e.g. Yoga and Zumba. The choice of modules is much wider and more varied than I expected.'

​Lancaster University (91%)

Lancaster University

'The student support. I had an accident and had to miss some seminars to go to hospital two weeks in a row. My lecturers and head of department were very supportive and asked regularly how I was doing and if I was recovering well.'

'I believe some of the lecturers exceed their line of duty and really go above and beyond in aiding students. The campus is lovely and kept in an exceedingly good condition. The end of year parties are brilliant!'

NSS scores: what's the full story?

While student satisfaction scores can give you an idea of what the student experience might like, bear in mind that:
  • They're subjective – views will depend on a student's individual circumstances.
  • There's no point of comparison – students have usually only had experience of one university. 
  • These are university-wide ratings – there may be big variations at course or subject level (you can find out subject-level satisfaction scores in our course pages on The Uni Guide). 

Learn more about a uni

The best way to get a feel for whether you'll be happy at a university is to head to an open day – find out first-hand from students how they rate their lectures and what you can expect in the way of feedback on work, for instance. 

To save you a wasted trip though, you can browse all universities and colleges ranked by their student score first. Read real-life student views included in our university profiles so you can see what students really think about universities you're interested in. 

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