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Top unis for political scene: Which? University Student Survey 2016

University is often the place where students get more involved in politics. But which universities were ranked highest by students for their rousing political scene?

We surveyed nearly 10,000 undergrads in the Which? University Student Survey 2016 to find out how they rate their university on the range of political groups, societies and activities around them.

Top universities for political scene

SOAS, University of London

SOAS, University of London

A representative from SOAS said: 'With a focus on Asia, Africa and the Middle East from the perspective of these regions, SOAS looks at the world differently - that is what makes us special.  

'SOAS students grapple with pressing issues - democracy, development, human rights, identity, legal systems, poverty, religion, social change - and we encourage them to make a positive impact on the world.
'SOAS is a hub for social and political student life in London. Our Students' Union has over 160 unique societies and hosts renowned guest speakers and lively political debates. Our academics regularly welcome leading politicians, diplomats and social activists to speak at our events. This active and involving atmosphere at SOAS invites students to engage with the world around them.'

Learn more about SOAS, University of London

University of Oxford

University of Oxford - Which? University Student Survey

Student Union President Jack Hampton 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

LSE, University of London

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

According to LSE Student Union General Secretary 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 its 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 Sussex

University of Sussex - Which? University Student Survey 2016

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

Another Sussex graduate looked back: ‘Sussex has a free-thinking, anarchic reputation which goes hand-in-hand pretty nicely with its location of Brighton - itself very tolerant and progressive. Students definitely like to make their voices heard. It seemed like there was always a sit-in somewhere on campus.’

Learn more about University of Sussex

About the Which? University Student Survey 2016

We asked students to score the degree to which they would describe their university as having an active political scene.

We merged the findings from surveying students in March-April 2016 with results from our October 2014 student survey so we could characterise a greater number of institutions, using a larger combined base of around 9,756 students.

Where we have answers from at least 30 students, we analyse the results to calculate average scores and to highlight the group of top-performing universities overall.

Read the full results of the Which? University Student Survey 2016

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