SCOTLAND is one of the best places to be a student if you prefer partying to politics, authors of a new report revealed.
Consumer body Which? says its latest university student survey suggests anyone with political ambitions should stay a lot nearer to Westminster than Holyrood.
In contrast, those more interested in extra-curricular activities would be better off north of the Border, according to the Which? university report.
The online report, published today, listed half a dozen universities in London and the south-east of England which it rates as the top institutions for politics – compared to just two in Scotland.
For nightlife, the picture was reversed, however, with six universities in the south-east of England rated worst by undergraduates and only one in the top list.
But in Scotland, only two institutions were ranked bottom for pubs and clubs, with two said to be among the best in the UK.
The study, based on a survey of more than 16,000 undergraduates, rated UK universities on sport, creative arts, politics, student union activities and nightlife.
The University of Glasgow was the only Scottish university which was scored highly across the board, along with University College London and the universities of Birmingham and Leeds.
Jenni Allen, head of Which? University, said: “The academic and extra-curricular experience at university varies widely. With increased tuition fees, it’s never been more important for prospective students to weigh up all the options and make sure they make the right choice for them.”
Of eight universities highlighted by Which? among the top-rated by students for nightlife, two were in Glasgow – Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian.
The rest were in the north of England, including Newcastle and Manchester, with none in London.
The University of St Andrews and the University of the West of Scotland, which campuses in several Scottish areas, were among those listed as the most dull at night-time, along with five English universities.
Institutions considered to be the best politically in terms of groups, activities and overall experience included the London School of Economics and Political Science, Goldsmiths and University College London.
In Scotland, Glasgow University and Edinburgh University were rated top.
The Scottish Youth Parliament said the findings were “very surprising”.
SYP chairperson, Kyle Thornton, said: “It doesn’t match with our experiences of engaging with young people of all ages. They are very engaged in politics when it concerns issues that are important to them, but not necessarily in traditional party politics.”
The National Union of Students Scotland queried the Which? interpretation of the findings which it said showed Scottish universities were performing well in all areas including politics.
Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said: “Students should be proud of their political achievements including campaigning victories on maintaining a no tuition fees policy in Scotland,” he added.
A Glasgow University spokesman said: “The university, its two student unions and the students’ representative council work hard to ensure everyone who comes to study with us has the best experience they can.”
The survey found that the vast majority (85%) of students were satisfied with their university. But one in 10 regretted their choice of university.