Clearing 2018: What are the best universities for education, social life and accommodation?

With A-level results out this week, these are the top academic institutions to bear in mind if you're facing a last-minute change of plan

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 16 August 2018 07:36 BST
Top ten universities in the UK for student satisfaction, according to Times Higher Education

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Louise Thomas

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Students across the country will be receiving their A-level results this week, which can be an anxiety-inducing business.

For those whose grades don't quite meet the demands of a university's conditional offer, the clearing process is there to help you find a last-minute alternative place.

But how best to choose a college or university? The decision can be a daunting one but seeing how the UK's top universities rank might help you make an informed decision.

Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey

Times Higher Education ranks Britain's universities based on the opinion of current students.

Undergraduates complete a survey on their experiences in higher education and the results are compiled to form a national league table.

Here's the overall top 10, followed by a selection of top 10s according to different criteria, ranking institutions according to such considerations as accommodation, student safety and the campus social scene.

Overall Top 10

  1. Loughborough University
  2. Harper Adams University
  3. University of Leeds
  4. University of Bath
  5. University of Sheffield
  6. University of Oxford
  7. University of Surrey
  8. Newcastle University
  9. University of Exeter
  10. University of Chichester

Academic Excellence

  1. Harper Adams University
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of St Andrews
  4. University of Cambridge
  5. University of Chichester
  6. Royal Veterinary College
  7. University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  8. University of York
  9. Falmouth University
  10. Bangor University


  1. University of Surrey
  2. University of Bath
  3. University of Chichester
  4. Lancaster University
  5. University of St Andrews
  6. University of East Anglia
  7. Edge Hill University
  8. Loughborough University
  9. University of York
  10. University of Reading


  1. Lancaster University
  2. Loughborough University
  3. Harper Adams University
  4. Edge Hill University
  5. University of Sheffield
  6. Bangor University
  7. University of Exeter
  8. University of Leeds
  9. University of Cambridge
  10. Aberystwyth University

Social Life

  1. Loughborough University
  2. University of Leeds
  3. University of Sheffield
  4. Newcastle University
  5. University of Bath
  6. Harper Adams University
  7. University of East Anglia
  8. University of Exeter
  9. Cardiff University
  10. University of Nottingham

Industry Connections

  1. Harper Adams University
  2. Loughborough University
  3. University of Bath
  4. Royal Veterinary College
  5. London School of Economics and Political Science
  6. Imperial College London
  7. University of Surrey
  8. University of Leeds
  9. University of Cambridge
  10. Falmouth University

The Complete University Guide

This ranking grades Britain's universities according to their entry standards, student satisfaction (where available), research quality and graduate prospects.

The University of Wolverhampton
The University of Wolverhampton (Wikipedia)

Here's its league table for the 2018/19 academic year.

  1. Cambridge
  2. Oxford
  3. London School of Economics
  4. Imperial College London
  5. St Andrews
  6. Durham
  7. Loughborough
  8. Lancaster
  9. Warwick
  10. University College London

The Complete University Guide also ranks institutions according to the number of times they appear in subject league tables, breaking down the results by region.

Here are the top universities in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. You can see the full list for the rest of England on the guide's website.


  1. Imperial College London
  2. Courtauld Institute
  3. Royal Veterinary College
  4. London School of Economics
  5. University College London 
  6. King's College London
  7. SOAS University of London
  8. Westminster
  9. City, University of London
  10. Queen Mary, University of London


  1. St Andrews
  2. Glasgow
  3. Strathclyde
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Dundee
  6. Glasgow Caledonian
  7. Robert Gordon
  8. Aberdeen
  9. Stirling
  10. Heriot-Watt

Northern Ireland

  1. Queen's, Belfast
  2. Ulster


  1. Cardiff
  2. Bangor
  3. Swansea
  4. Aberystwyth
  5. Cardiff Metropolitan
  6. Wrexham Glyndwr
  7. South Wales
  8. Trinity Saint David

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