Best Places to Study in Europe: Student Satisfaction Survey | Top Universities

Best Places to Study in Europe: Student Satisfaction Survey

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated October 3, 2016 Updated October 3, 2016

According to a newly released student satisfaction survey from online platform StudyPortals, Scandinavian countries are the best places to study in Europe. The study, based on more than 16,000 comments made by almost 7,000 students during the 2013/14 academic year, sees Finland take the top spot among the best places to study in Europe, in the StudyPortals Student Satisfaction Awards 2014.

With an average student satisfaction score of 9.2 (out of 10), Finland is closely followed by fellow Nordic nations Sweden and Denmark, which both emerge with ratings of 9.1. Next in the list, all with an average student satisfaction rating of 9 out of 10, are Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and the UK.

Student satisfaction linked to academics and atmosphere

As well as reporting overall student satisfaction ratings, the StudyPortals study also analyzes the comments made by participants when asked to review their study experience. Perhaps surprisingly, the topic least likely to be raised by students was costs (including financial aid, living costs and tuition fees).

Instead, the two categories most likely to influence student satisfaction were academics (including language of instruction, level of education, recognition and reputation, research, subject, teaching and teachers) and city and culture (including city atmosphere, culture, infrastructure, people and security). These two areas accounted for more than half of all comments analyzed.

Other topics regularly raised by students were social life (14% of comments), university services (11%) and opportunities for personal and professional development (11%). References to costs and funding account for just 5% of all comments collected.

European universities delivering high student satisfaction

Overall, the survey shows remarkably high levels of student satisfaction at European universities. Almost 90% of participants said they would recommend their study experience, while almost 70% would rate their experience 9 or 10 out of 10.

In addition to highlighting the best places to study in Europe in terms of overall countries, the student satisfaction survey is also used to recognize individual European universities achieving particularly positive feedback. This year, 30 universities received a Certificate of Outstanding International Student Satisfaction (scoring an average of at least 9.5 out of 10); 88 achieved Excellent Student Satisfaction (9/10) and 92 were rated “very good” (8/10).

Despite overall high levels of student satisfaction, the report nonetheless highlights some areas in which European universities, student associations and policy makers could improve. Key recommendations for universities include pitching teaching at a higher level (following complaints from international students that classes were not sufficiently challenging); a more varied class offering; and more use of student-centered and interactive teaching methods.

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This article was originally published in October 2014 . It was last updated in October 2016

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Written by

The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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