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Can statistics and the National Student Survey aid your application

When you start applying to university there are many different factors that can help you make you narrow down your decision on what university to go to and what course to take. You can let the NSS (National Student Survey) aid you in your application, and take it into consideration when first researching institutions, and this is how to do it.

What is the National Student Survey?

The NSS is an independent survey, and it compiles information on the quality of Student’s higher education experience. The survey is widely recognised as a measure of student satisfaction, and its results are collected and released annually to best show trends and build a greater picture over time. The results of the survey are compiled into Unistats, which is free to use and research.

How to use Unistats?

When comparing the data, the stats will help you interpret them by showing the number of respondents for each course, and you should use this when looking at comparing the courses. Some courses are smaller or not have the same amount of respondents. On some courses, the data will be grouped to show you the statistics of more than one year, or more than one course for that university to best show the results. If there is a difference of at least ten percent between courses, in general, the data is seen to be unhelpful because they are too different.

What will Unistats tell me?

Unistats will be able to tell you what previous students thought of the course you are about to take, and the likelihood of what job and/or further study the students who completed the course then went on to do. The statistics will who a likely figure of how much the course is going to cost you, with all variations and factors relating to your time at university.

What to bear in mind?

When you use Unistats remember that the information provided is used to give you an indication of what it will be like to study at that university and on that course. Each student’s experience differs from the next, so take the information in, but there is no need to follow it religiously for your application. Some information recorded, like recruitment and employment outcomes, are retrospective and make sure you understand what you are reading when it comes to fee information as it could be for the next academic year or the one that has just been.

What might not be included?

New courses, a small number of students, or only half the students responding may be grouped differently, and some courses won’t have any data at all.

How is the data collated?

The statistics are all combined from the following areas: The National Student Survey, Destinations of Leavers From Higher Education Survey, how the course is assessed, how the course is taught and studied, tuition fees, accommodation, and course accreditation.

How will the data help your application?

The data has information from all areas, like what your university room will be like, to how much independent studying time you should expect. If you are researching universities, you should look at all aspects of what will affect your university life and your personal experience on the course to make the best decisions, and then compare the statistics with the top universities on your list.

What won’t you get from the data?

The data doesn’t show what the average qualification grade students get from a course, sports and nightlife, the university ranking, and full reviews from students to give their honest opinion – and this can be important when making your decision.

How to use all of the information to make your decision?

Potential university students need to look at all of the information provided, from University Compare to set up a profile of that course and university. They need to ask themselves questions about how important nightlife, the SU, and the surrounding area is important to them. Graduate prospects should also play a vital role, as even though you are studying what you want to and are passionate about, some courses and universities have better employability and career prospects for their graduates.

When using statistics to help make your choices for your UCAS application, the best thing to remember is to not take everything too seriously. University is a relative experience – it is different for everyone – and even though the statistics show you important information, an Open Day or visiting the university can provide you with a greater experience also.