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Top unis for political scene: Which? University Student Survey 2018

University is often the place where students get more involved in politics as they meet others with vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. Which universities were ranked highest by students for their engaging political scene?

We surveyed more than 10,000 undergrads in the Which? University Student Survey 2018 to find out how they rate their university on the range of political groups, societies and activities around them.

Top universities for political scene

These universities continue to hold the top spots for an active political scene, in 2018.

See who they are in alphabetical order, and click to read what students said:


University of Cambridge

University of Sussex - Which? University Student Survey 2016

Students recommend getting involved

'There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people, and my advice would be to take as many as you can and try everything once!’

'Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions.'

Learn more about University of Cambridge.


Goldsmiths, University of London

University of Sussex - Which? University Student Survey 2016

The people

Students were enthusiastic about what makes a great political uni...

'The people. It's as if you can have a conversation with anybody and it would be an awesome conversation. From talking about politics to music. Goldsmiths has a great atmosphere'

'Everyone is very welcoming and talkative.’

Learn more about Goldsmiths, University of London.


LSE, University of London

London School of Economics, University of London - Which? University Student Survey 2016


According to the general secretary of LSE's student union, Busayo Twins: ‘LSE is definitely a hub for debate and intellectualism. No matter your political inclination, this university encourages its students to speak out, challenge, engage, create, and research topics that matter to one another. Whether it’s a student-led campaign or focus group created by the students themselves, a political conversation is always happening.

'In addition, with so much diversity it's inevitable that a plethora of ideas reach campus and the students are really encouraged to think beyond their experiences and acknowledge each other.’

Learn more about LSE, University of London.


University of Manchester

University of Sussex - Which? University Student Survey 2016


Students from the University of Manchester suggested making the most of being new....

'Make sure you seize opportunities to meet new people and do new things.’

'Speak to as many new people as you can. Don't worry about not making friends or being judged!'

Learn more about University of Manchester.

University of Oxford

University of Oxford - Which? University Student Survey

The history

Jack Hampton, president of the uni's student union, said: 'Oxford is a famously good place to get involved in party politics – just think of the wide variety of political leaders that have come out of Oxford, across the whole political spectrum and a wide variety of sectors.

'But political involvement goes far beyond the political clubs. Our active student union and 38 colleges, as well as a huge array of other clubs and societies, provide an unparalleled amount of possibilities for getting involved in student representation.'

Learn more about University of Oxford.


University of Sussex

University of Sussex - Which? University Student Survey 2016


A University of Sussex rep provided the following comment: 'The University of Sussex prides itself on being a place that encourages debate and challenges the status quo, across the political spectrum. Located on the edge of the vibrant city of Brighton, we are part of a diverse and accepting community with a great nightlife and cultural scene.'

A recent graduate said: 'The student body at Sussex and its student union has a lively history of political activism: boycotting unfair exams, challenging eurocentric discourse in subjects taught, supporting South African students during apartheid to study here through a scholarship (which continues today), fighting campus privatisation and the occupation of Palestine.'

Learn more about University of Sussex.

Read the full results of the Which? University Student Survey 2018 including who came top for student union, sports scene and more.

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    About the Which? University Student Survey 2018

    We asked students to score their university on how active a political scene there was to get involved in, as part of the annual Which? University Student Survey. Each year, Which? commissions this independent survey of current higher education students in the UK to find out more about their experience of university.

    We surveyed a total of 5,081 students from over 127 institutions this year, merging findings from our 2017 and 2016 surveys to give an overall sample of 10,754 students. The survey sample used to analyse the political scene category was as follows: third years responding to the 2018 survey; second and third years responding to the 2017 survey; and all respondents to the 2016 survey. Our minimum threshold was 30 respondents per university – standard for our surveys that use this linear plotting technique, and is based upon empirical testing of a range of sample sizes we carried out in 2014.

    Statistical differences between groups of universities were identified as follows. For each measure, a mean score on the 1-10 scale was calculated for each university. Analysis of variance was used to establish whether there were any significant differences between the means, and then a linear plotting technique was used to identify significant breaks between the means of groups of universities. The groups with the highest mean scores were reported as 'highly rated'.

    All surveys were conducted by YouthSight on behalf of Which?, in March/April of the respective year.

    Please note, student comments in this feature range from 2014-2018.

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