UCAS recently revealed that more young people than ever before are applying to university- with a whopping 37.4 per cent of all 18 year olds in England now in higher education.
The report also pointed to increases in Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggesting that the popularity of university is a wide spread phenomenon all across the UK.
Yet, in light of these statistics, however promising they may seem, it is important to recognise the main reasons driving these young people to sign up for further education in the first place, is it the prospect of further education or is it the promise of aesthetics, vintage stores, craft beers and ultimately looking cool?
With a drop in mature students alongside a rise in the young, are young people heading to university because they feel that it is the most fashionable thing to do right now, despite the extreme financial cost?
Hear me out…
The level of ‘hipster’ held by these universities is measured on certain factors, from how many vintage clothes’ stores they have through to record shops and craft beer bars- all counted as cool and fashionable additions to a city- apparently!
With universities now being ranked on their level of ‘cool’, it appears that student’s reasons for applying are also beginning to correlate!
According to Liberty Living’s survey carried out on over 3,000 students, an impressive 52 per cent stated that they would rather attend a ‘cool’ university than a highly-ranked one- meaning that over half of all student applications are based on aesthetic, not academic prowess.
In addition to this, 76 per cent of all students surveyed stated that when making their decision on their current university, the relative ‘coolness’ of the university massively influenced their final choice, whilst a rather startling 1 in 7 stated that it was the deciding factor in their final judgement!
Are we now living amongst a generation who deem the most suitable university for them on how cool it really is?
Well, according to the Guardian, university has always been based on style, look and aesthetic, they label the whole experience of higher education as one big popularity contest, stating that ‘students can find themselves embroiled in the kind of status games they thought they’d left behind in the playground’
The pressures of university are certainly evident, with mental health issues amongst students being at an all-time high, the Guardian have labelled the expectations around university as relentless, stating that the pressure to be cool, to fit in and to make the most friends you can in an aesthetically pleasing university are all factors which should be left in the playground, not dragged to higher education.
With more and more students swayed in their opinion by the aesthetic value of their university, it is interesting to look at what makes a cool university.
Evidently enough, it’s all down to money, whether it’s the ridiculously priced craft beers or the inflated cost of a ‘vintage’ t shirt, not only are students now seeking what they perceive to be a cool university- they are also more than willing to pay for what they perceive to a fashionable experience as well.
More than half of all students have also stated that they would happily attend a lesser known university if it was situated in a vibrant and aesthetically pleasing university.
It is evident that the apparent ‘street credibility’ of a university is a massive deciding factor in student’s decisions, maybe even to the extent that 2018 has witnessed the highest levels of university applications for the past twenty years according to UCAS.
Aesthetics could also determine the type of course chosen by students! 14 per cent of all students surveyed said that they personally felt that art and design stands as the most ‘hipster’ course, followed by sciences and then fashion!
So, what are the UK’s most fashionable universities?
Well, Newcastle is regarded highly as a ‘hipster’ university, with its abundance of vintage shops and impressive array of craft beer bars, whilst the University of Brighton also makes the list with its impressive array of vintage stores.
Surprisingly, despite its wide selection of locations, bars and stores, London does not even made the cut!
It appears that the North is most certainly the place to be in terms of looking like a pretty cool student- with northern cities such as Leeds, Edinburgh and Liverpool all ranking as the coolest places to study in the UK- closely followed by Manchester and Nottingham.
Overall, the most ‘hipster’ university in the UK currently stands as Manchester Metropolitan, who have claimed the victory on aesthetics, style, craft beers and vintage stores! Not an easy feat!
With over half of all applications placed to UCAS now being driven by the need to head to a cool university, would you make the call based on aesthetics alone?
To read more about the survey, head over to Liberty Living.
To find out more on increasing university applications, head over to Accommodation for Students Landlord Blogs.