Only three unis in the whole country give out more firsts than UEA
Oh UEA is wonderful
UEA frequently stands near the top of leader boards for student life and academic achievement, making its firm position in the top 20 for ‘Overall Ranking’ in the University League Tables.
To top it all off, research carried out by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), shows UEA as being ranked 4th in the UK in a new leader board with the catchy title, "HE qualifiers by HE provider and level of qualification obtained" or as The Tab Birmingham more critically put it, "The top unis giving out firsts like candy".
Between the academic years 2014/15 and 2017/18, a huge 34.63 per cent of UEA students have achieved a First-Class for their undergraduate degree.
This places UEA just below Durham, who awarded 35.21 per cent of their students with firsts over this period, and just above Oxford where 34.22 per cent of students came out with a First-class degree. At the top of this table was Imperial College London with just over 40 per cent.
But what does this stat mean for UEA students?
Perhaps, the number of first-class degrees achieved at UEA are a reflection on the quality of education. Maybe, it's that UEA creates an environment in which students are given the facilities and support to confidently engage with their courses; an encouraging academic environment can undoubtedly help in creating a larger proportion of high-achieving students.
One postgraduate student who achieved a first in his undergraduate degree last year proposes that the opportunity the university provides for extenuating circumstances, both self- and university-certified, may be a factor to consider.
He told us: “It could be that UEA is more sensitive to its students’ mental health and more likely to give extensions on the basis of mental health.”
“I’m not sure that UEA is more lenient when it comes to mental health [but] I think what UEA does best is make people feel that they can talk about their mental health and seek medical help.”
Although by no means perfect, the progressive attitude towards mental health conversations and understanding at UEA creates more space for students to recognise when they are struggling with mental health issues.
This, alongside the introduction of bi-yearly self-certification opportunities, ensures that if students are having difficulties, they can have a few extra days to work towards getting the best grade possible, something not often available at other unis across the county.
In a statement to The Norwich Tab, the university told us: “UEA has been working actively with the national Universities UK project on degree classification to ensure the value of degrees are maintained.
“At UEA, we have invested an extra £20 million a year in 400 additional academic staff over the past decade."
"This means we have more academics supporting students in smaller classes. We work hard to continually improve the quality of our provision and recognise that our students work extremely hard to achieve their results.”
If the additional 400 academic staff are in proportion with the growing number of students, we can conclude that the staff to student ratios as well as the relatively compassionate approach to mental health issues at the university, have contributed to the academic success of UEA students.