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About the research

Working in partnership with YouGov and Youthsight, we conducted our annual student insight survey during March and April 2016. Over 6,500 students and over 2,100 applicants were surveyed, investigating the key non-academic elements of student life.
This year’s survey results underlined the importance of learning and development outside the formal academic environment. It looks at contributing factors to student happiness, and to retention. A key finding is the importance of resilience skills – planning, goal setting, self-management and the ability to recover from a setback. 
Student accommodation and social networks play crucial roles in developing these skills. Students who are happier with their accommodation, who feel connected and able to reach out for support, tend to be happier with life overall. Students who are satisfied with the communal areas in their accommodation are more likely to feel integrated with others. Flatmates are an important source of support in difficult times.

Life Satisfaction

By analysing the data, we are able to confidently assume what makes students, studying in the UK, happy. By identifying the factors which positively and negatively impact their mental wellbeing we have the opportunity to improve.

University Retention

University retention has an intimate link with student wellbeing. Thanks to this report we have identified some key opportunities to prevent students leaving their courses early.

Insights into wellbeing

How happy are today’s students, and why does it matter? This video reveals some of our findings about student wellbeing.

Advice for freshers

Current students share the tips and experiences for freshers which, based on our research, can really make a difference!

Hidden Demographics

The Unite Students Insight Report revealed some interesting demographic data about the UK student population.

Student Accommodation

Our research shows the important role that accommodation plays in the overall student experience, with impacts on satisfaction and retention.

Student Employability

Most students feel their university is preparing them well for their future career but some are less confident about their employability than others.

Student Finances

Most students are managing their money well but some are more at risk than others. Our data reveals the importance of being financially prepared for university.
You are welcome to download the data file for your own analysis:
Universities may also request anonymised data for their own students, providing that at least 50 of their students responded to the survey. Please contact to make a data request.

Skills such as planning, persistence and goal setting, make a significant difference to students and may underpin wider learning and skills development.

John Blanshard, Student Experience Director