No matter how highly regarded your university is, it is no greater than its students because they are the one factor that makes the institution come alive. They inspire your professors to deliver top performance during lectures and seminars, they drive grassroots institutional change, and they go out and represent their alma mater around the globe post-graduation.
Therefore, attracting top student talent is of paramount significance to your university’s reputation and success. The importance of student satisfaction in higher education cannot be underestimated during the planning and execution of your student recruitment strategy, and there are tangible measures that you can take in order to deliver an outstanding experience on campus.
A stepping stone of your recruitment strategy that acknowledges the importance of student satisfaction in higher education is the understanding of today’s media-savvy, outspoken youth. Students are not shy about voicing their words of praise but especially their discontent, and they have a multitude of channels, via which they can share their opinions with their peers and British society at large.
Platforms where students review their universities, such as the high-impact annual WhatUni Student Choice Awards, demonstrate both the breadth and depth of student engagement when it comes to forming and publicising their university evaluations. The most recent ranking is based on over 36,000 detailed evaluations.
Apart from the overall ‘University of the Year’, the WhatUni ranking also lists sub-categories such as ‘Accommodation’ and ‘Uni Facilities’ that should already tell you the importance of student satisfaction in higher education does not only hinge on the quality of education but also encompasses campus life in all its varied forms. Providing an outstanding on-campus experience, therefore, should be on your list of top priorities.
As this Telegraph article from 2014 already pointed out, many of Britain’s most highly reputed universities fall behind when it comes to student satisfaction. Even though they have centuries’ worth of famous alumni and leading scholars on their lecture rosters, those celebrated institutions fail to earn top points.
Seeing Oxford University barely make the Top 25 in 2018’s University of the Year student ranking, compared against the runner-up spot the Complete University Guide Ranking 2019 has given it, paints a picture of a gross divide between industry and student-centred classifications.
Most glaringly, the Complete University Guide’s ranking lacks student satisfaction data on its most highly ranked institutions. As a higher education professional, you cannot afford to stay blind to this crucial indicator.
As a university administrator, you carry a double responsibility on your shoulders: your university’s reputation, financial viability, and growth as well as your students’ wellbeing and education that prepare them for life beyond the lecture halls. Increasingly, student satisfaction has become the mark of performing well on both counts, and you will be wise to embrace its significance for your success, including its many forms and informal metrics.
Providing a comfortable and nurturing environment to students is clearly desirable. Not only does it improve performance, it also promotes your student population’s mental health and stability, which are conducive to both short-term learning goals and long-term character building and social inclusion.
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Recognising the importance of student satisfaction in higher education also means making appropriate investments into facilities and intangible social structures that promote student wellbeing and a sense of belonging. Although this may sound idealistic or impractical in today’s results-driven world, you should consider the effects such investment choices produce and realise that every pound you put into student satisfaction produces concrete returns.
One way, in which your focus on student satisfaction works for you, is by creating stronger brand awareness and a deeper, more meaningful connection with your current and prospective students, as research also suggests. A survey among 600 students in the United States indicates that satisfied students may have a strong influence on a university’s ability to connect with and attract quality applicants. A study among international students yields similar results.
Now that you have acknowledged the importance of student satisfaction in higher education, it is time to take the first important step towards delivering a better on-campus experience to your youngsters. VisiPoint has a range of creative visitor management and wayfinding solutions that are ideal for a higher education campus.