York St John | WhatUni Student Report
Let's begin with a question... What on earth is “WhatUni”?
WhatUni is an online tool in its fourth year which uses current student feedback to offer simple search tools to help people find the right university and course for them. The reviews themselves are collected in communal areas at the university to minimise course bias.
So, what are our students saying about York St John?
Well, York St John is way ahead of their competitors, both regionally and nationally. Having a year on year increase in every category, (including the overall category where everyone else was dipping), is a huge achievement and shows an incredibly happy student body.
In areas where students previously felt there should be improvement, the university is clearly addressing their issues and appears to be listening to what they’re saying. The new students’ union building and better clubs and societies in particular are impressing reviewers.
Areas that particularly impressed students included the library facilities, the highly supportive lecturers, being taught engaging modules, learning in small class sizes, relaxing in the city life and the general student support the university was offering. Areas that could be improved according to students are, having more non-sport and free/cheaper clubs and societies, different forms of communication from the careers service, more emphasis on mature students’ needs and updating older accommodation.
The full report delves deep into all aspects of university life and offered the following summaries:
Students’ Union (56th highest in the country)
Some of the 231 reviews were collected before the new students’ union building was opened. However, compared to comments from 2016 where the students’ union was ‘too small’ and ‘limited in what it has to offer’, the new building has been described as more attractive, better use of space and offering better facilities.
Clubs & Societies (38th highest in the country)
In this category, York St John has seen a significant improvement in 2017. The positive comments largely focus on how friendly, inclusive and engaging the clubs and societies are. There are also a number of references to specific societies such as the Dance society, Asian society and Geek society which students singled out.
Accommodation (65th highest in the country)
Typically, the primary criticism for any university in this category is the cost of the accommodation itself and this is no different for York St John. Although interestingly one student felt the relative cost of moving into York in their second year was more expensive than the university provided accommodation. On a much brighter note there were many comments that related to the modernity of the newer premises, and great feedback on the cleanliness of properties.
University Facilities (36th highest in the country)
While making a moderate gain in average score, this is a highly competitive category which has seen York St John jump from 60th to 36th. There were many positive comments left for highly rated reviews and these were focused on the library services and also the computing and online facilities. The comments in relation to the library are very positive both in terms of scale and access. The few negative comments are about a lack of resource for certain syllabuses including History, Physiotherapy and Music. Other improvements that could be made to the facilities around campus include free water fountains and a stronger WIFI connection across campus.
Course & Lecturers (29th highest in the country)
Another strong category for York St John. The positive feedback referred to how approachable the staff were, and the contribution this made to fostering a positive learning environment for students. The fact that class sizes are kept small has had a big impact on student satisfaction in this category. These responses reflect a wider ethos of York St John being an inclusive and caring environment for students. Which includes the practical support that lecturers provide towards learning and career development.
City Life (11th highest in the country)
Compared to the University of York rating (29th) it is clear that York St John students have a better connection with the city. This could reflect closer ties between the university and local businesses or job opportunities. York St John students feel the city centre is accessible, with a vibrant student night-life during the week. When asked what the city life was like there were no comments about the need to head to a bigger city for a better experience, this is unusual given the size of the city of York and its proximity to other much larger cities.
Job Prospects (66th highest in the country)
Understandably there are lots of comments in relation to the Careers Service itself, with a number of students remarking on how helpful they have been. Of the negative comments that were left, the majority centered around communication from the careers office being solely through email. Other positive elements which are regularly referred to by students include module choice which relate directly to careers and placement opportunities.
Student Support (14th highest in the country)
The high level of satisfaction with tutor feedback is primarily responsible for the significant increase in both score and league table position for York St John, rising from 51st to 14th. Across all universities in the WUSCA rankings tutor feedback is the most commonly cited area when it comes to student support. The speed in which issues are resolved or responded to is an area of significant focus for students in their comments.