What is the National Student Survey?

This article about the National Student Survey was published by the Great British Mag content team on 28 July 2021

Have you been wondering which UK university is right for you? If you are an international student trying to choose a university and a course then you need to check out the National Student Survey, because it is a survey that documents what real students think about their university and their courses.

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What is the National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is the largest and longest-running survey of students in the UK, managed by the Office for Students. It is essentially a census that collates students’ experiences of their university course at the end of their degree.

The survey is a great opportunity for final year students to give their opinions on the degree that they have just completed. All the questions that students answer in this survey are collected and published, giving valuable insights into student satisfaction. It also lets universities know about their performance when it comes to teaching and supporting students, and what changes they can implement in order to improve the course and the student experience.

Why should you care about this survey as an international student?

As an international student you should be looking at the NSS as another tool in your decision making process when applying to universities in the UK. Similar to university ranking charts, which tell you how academically good a university is, the NSS gives you an insight into actual student experiences and can give you a lot of information on how satisfied previous students were with your course of choice, as well as the general university lifestyle.

The official Office for Students data analysis looks quite complex but it is not as hard to comprehend as you might think. As a student, you will not need to digest the whole analysis but can instead focus on certain relevant information, such as student satisfaction, enjoyment of the course and the university’s adaptability to Covid-19.

A good place to start would be to look at the overall satisfaction rate for your chosen university. This is the percentage of students that were happy overall with their experience.

The second piece of data that you should look at is the percentage of satisfaction for your chosen course. This will tell you the satisfaction rate of previous graduates of your desired course. Being armed with this knowledge could be a crucial decision-making factor for your choice of university.

And the final important piece of information you should be checking for is how well your preferred university has adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially with the new rules recently implemented by the government, even if a course ranks very highly, the NSS will give you an insight into whether your chosen university has been able to adapt and if your chosen course is worthwhile whilst we are still in a global pandemic. The answers to Covid-19 related questions look at how well universities were at implementing different measures, including blended learning, keeping the students informed and actually supporting students.

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