‘I’m very proud’: What Lancs students think about being ranked a top 10 UK university

‘I think it’s genuinely scary how many students use league table position to decide where to apply’

Lancaster University has recently been reinstated as a top 10 university via the Complete University Guide’s 2024 league table. For many, this return to the top 10 will be welcome news after the university’s two year hiatus out of this standing. However, some won’t think twice about it. We asked Lancaster students how they feel about regaining 10th place, and whether or not it matters to them.

‘Lancaster being ranked top 10 will assist me in the future’

First year Grizedale College student, Raquel, believes that Lancaster being in the top 10 is “really important”, especially in regards to securing graduate jobs. Raquel told us that to achieve her goal of entering the world of investment banking at a top firm, she will need to come from a top university, and “being ranked top 10” will help her with this.

On top of this, Beth, a second year student from Lonsdale stated: “I’m happy it’s top 10 again. Especially as a student ambassador. As an ambassador, it’s always nice to see the uni succeeding”.

‘I think it’s genuinely scary how many students use league table position to decide where to apply’

In contrast, Seraphina, a first year Bowland student, doesn’t look so positively on the ranking. Seraphina believes that the league tables have too much of an effect on motivations behind universities wanting students. She says, “unis should all be trying to improve themselves year upon year for the good of their students and staff members, but all too often their only motivation for wanting students to improve is to make the school/college look better, more often than not by a league table position!” Seraphina also stated that she doesn’t think it is “right” to summarise “what makes certain unis/departments ‘better’ or ‘worse'” with a “number on a table”, continuing: “I think it’s genuinely scary how many students use league table position to decide where to apply instead of considering things that may actually impact their learning a lot more such as what areas within subjects any given department specialised in”.

‘People can be themselves here without living up to an expectation’

Third year Cartmel student, James, told us that he doesn’t think league table positioning really matters. He believes that ultimately, what is more impactful is whether people have heard of the university. James stated that during his time as a student ambassador, Lancaster is a lot less concerned with “image”, something which he sees both as a negative and a positive: “People can be themselves here without living up to an expectation, but we are also very much in the background of stuff”.

On a similar note, Emily, a third year from Pendle, doesn’t necessarily see Lancaster’s new ranking as “important”, but said, “it makes me feel very proud to be a grad from a top 10”. Although Emily “wouldn’t be upset if we weren’t in the top 10”, she is “proud of [herself] to have finished a degree from one of the best unis in the country”, adding “it makes me happy that I will be graduating whilst we’re in the top 10”.

‘Student mental health stats should be priority’

Second year Harry, from Bowland College, doesn’t see the ranking as an achievement. To Harry, the university should prioritise “student mental health stats”, an area in which Lancs falls short – ranking 79th out of 80 according to HUMEN. When approached for comment on these claims, the university stated that this ranking was based on incomplete data, and “therefore doesn’t reflect the important work we do to support students and staff at Lancaster”. Harry said: “I believe that the university has no interest in supporting students, as our tuition fees have already been paid so they don’t need to ‘work’ to get us to pay. There needs to be more investment in support and universal treatment across the courses.”

‘I think being in the top 10 is beneficial both for students and the university’

Taylor, a third year Cartmel student, told us that this ranking “absolutely does matter” and “is important”. He explained that being in the top 10 is beneficial as employers will “view graduates more favourably” and “it will increase the number and quality of students that apply” to Lancaster, which will “raise the university’s profile”. Taylor aims to join a “competitive field”, and believes that being from a top 10 uni will give him an “edge”, especially since he has come across job applications aimed solely towards applicant from a top 10 university. However, Taylor added that subject rankings should also be acknowledged, and that the university should pay attention to the student satisfaction levels, many of which have fallen this year.

Finally, a second year Pendle student, Sarah, told us that ranking in the top 10 makes her feel “proud to be here”. She said: “I defo checked the rankings before picking a uni. I checked where we placed on the table although it didn’t affect my decision too much. I chose Lancaster because of the campus and atmosphere. I’m proud to be attending a top 10 university!”

Lancaster University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Wendy Robinson said: “From our diverse international teaching staff and research-intensive culture to our wonderful library and vibrant campus, Lancaster University is a truly excellent University which is constantly seeking to improve our students’ experience of teaching, learning and personal development. Our students are at the heart of our decision-making and we know they will join us in our pride in seeing our University in the top ten in the UK.”

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