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League Tables & Student Reviews: A Valuable Tool

When choosing what to study, and where, doing diligent research is paramount.

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
24 Jan 2023

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Very few decisions in a student’s life will rival in importance to that of deciding both what and where to study. While many of you will leave school knowing what this next step will look like, many will not. Given the number of universities and course options on offer once you leave, it can be all-too-easy to feel overwhelmed by decisions.

To combat this pressure, the best advice for students is to do as much research as possible prior to making any decisions. But what is the most effective means of doing so? How can you be the most informed? Using a combination of the Complete University Guide’s 2023 league tables alongside Whatuni’s student reviews, you will find that choosing the right course and university is an exciting process.

What are the league tables?

Created by the Complete University Guide, the league tables are the most up-to-date rankings of universities across the UK and in 70 different subject areas. Using a diverse range of data from official sources, the Complete University Guide provides a number of different measures by which you can sort the rankings. These include entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, research intensity, graduate prospects, academic services spend, facilities spend, good honours, degree completion and student-staff ratio. The tables can be further ranked by each of these criteria.

Who are the league tables for?

The league tables are for any prospective student looking to choose where and what to study - including those going through Clearing. When deciding on the best university, it is incredibly beneficial to create a shortlist identifying a few institutions to pick from. Through such a shortlist, you can examine how individual courses are taught, which modules are covered, how they are assessed and whatever else you deem important in determining your choice. From there, the Complete University Guide’s league tables can be used to whittle this shortlist down to your final five choices. 

Why should you use the league tables alongside reviews?

With the UCAS deadline to respond to uni offers (8th June 2023) putting pressure on students to make a decision, using the league tables, alongside the 200,000+ reviews Whatuni has collected from students, will allow for the most effective means of choosing a university. Students can use the league tables and reviews to research what the best universities are before they make their decisions - either before the UCAS deadline or during Clearing. 

Through the league tables, you can easily refine your search and reorder the table by any of the ten measures (or five for subject tables) that matter most to you. By using the student-led reviews alongside this, you will be able to gain an authentic view from past and current students as to what it is really like to be at that university and study a particular course. From there, you will be in the best position to make a final choice.

The Complete University Guide’s league tables are both independent and trusted, put together by people with over 20 years’ experience. This puts you in a position to compare and contrast each university with the same due diligence. Combine this with Whatuni’s reviews that are collected directly from the students themselves and you will have the chance to equally consider all options.

For Whatuni, our student-led reviews are unique. Members of the Whatuni team collect reviews in real time from students across the UK up until the end of February. Students are also able to upload a review to the website whenever they please. This ensures that prospective students are given the most genuine insight into the student experience.

For both the Complete University Guide league tables and Whatuni’s student reviews, the data was collected prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. This means that the data will not have been affected by the pandemic’s impact, allowing you to make a decision based on how the university usually operates. 

Although the pandemic has affected the way in which most universities will function in the upcoming university year, this will not be a reflection of how they always are. Thus, data from league table rankings and reviews will provide a more accurate reflection of what to expect throughout the rest of your journey.

How can the league tables be used alongside reviews?

The Complete University Guide’s league tables and Whatuni’s student reviews go together like pen and paper - you need both to really get the best out of the other. Through the league tables, you will be able to create for yourself a shortlist of preferred universities. If you already have a subject you want to study in mind, you can view subjects with their own separate table. From there, you can see how each university ranks, choose a few that you fancy and even filter by region if you know roughly where in the UK you wish to study. Using the other measures on the table, such as student satisfaction or graduate prospects, you can further refine your search. 

From there, Whatuni’s student reviews allow you to take this process a step further. Once you have a shortlist of universities, you can investigate through the extensive catalogue of student-led reviews on the Whatuni website. 

The purpose of collecting such reviews is to get a gauge of how satisfied students are with their university. Through reviews, students are asked to reflect on a range of categories that impact student experience, such as accommodation, job prospects, course and lecturers, student support and more. Using these reviews will provide a comprehensive, holistic overview of what you can expect by selecting a particular course or institution.

The timeframe for deciding both where to study and what to study is shrinking, so it's important students are always planning ahead. However, as a prospective student, you should not panic when it comes to making the most informed decision for you. By using the independent and trusted league tables devised by the Complete University Guide alongside the 200,000+ student-led reviews gathered by Whatuni in your research, you will be left with a university journey worth getting excited about.


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