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Alternative university league tables

Yes, you may have heard of The Times or The Guardian uni league tables – but what other league table rankings exist?

Checking out the latest league table rankings is a traditional route into researching different universities and subjects when deciding what to put on your Ucas form.

We include league table results for The Times, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide on individual university profile pages here on Which? University just run a university search to take a look. But for a truly rounded view, it's important to look at a range of information sources when weighing up universities (including heading there yourself on an open day).

So what else is out there to get you thinking about the university experience you really want? Here are a three alternatives...


1. The ‘How Safe is your City?' league

Hoping to move to a new city or town when you go to uni? You might have considered what the local nightlife or cultural scene is like – but probably not what the crime rates are like. While crime levels shouldn’t put you off going to a particular uni, it could be something to ask about at an open day – what initiatives have student services set up to look out for student safety, for example?

Crime levels in university cities and towns (with two or more unis) are behind the rankings of the Complete University Guide’s (CUG) alternative league table, with scores based on the number of burglaries, robberies and violent crimes. The lower the score, the 'safer' the uni. 

2. ​The gay-friendly checklist

Ok, so this one isn’t strictly a league table, but lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall has scored each UK university against a ten-point checklist of the things that they think every uni should have in place to support its gay students and staff. These ‘asks’ include explicit welfare provision for students on gay issues, societies and events and specific careers advice for gay students. 

The checklist is compiled from information available on university and student union websites so bear in mind that just because a university hasn't scored well, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't offer the service. If you're concerned, you should get in touch with student services directly. 

Nov 2016 update: Stonewall's rankings haven't been updated for 2016. However there is information online around which universities ranked highly in previous years to start you off.

3. The Green League

Which universities do their bit for the planet? That's what People & Planet’s Green League looks at, ranking UK universities by environmental and ethical performance. Unis are scored on their policies in areas such as sustainable food and ethical investment, as well as their performance when it comes to using energy and water, with case studies showcasing the uni's 'proudest green achievement'.

You can help to boost the ranking of the uni you go to by joining (or setting up your own) People & Planet society and campaigning for change on your campus.

League tables and choosing a uni 

There are plenty of league tables out there, traditional or otherwise, but ultimately you should choose a university because it offers a course you want to pursue, in an area you'll enjoy living in. Do your research based on what's most important to you (course content, assessment type, long-term career prospects etc.) and use league tables as a way, not the way, of narrowing down your choices.

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