This article is more than 4 years old

Changing Places: your niche rankings update

Voter registration, bicycle parking spaces, and scrabble scores. Paul Greatrix brings us the gift for even more niche rankings
This article is more than 4 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

It’s been a wee while since our last league table update here which highlighted international, domestic and a couple of entertainingly dumb rankings, including the least popular cities in the world in which to study (anyone for Minsk?).

And then there are these even dodgier league tables which rank affordable cities and kebab pricing and another which offered some extremely novel approaches to sifting universities, including via tortoise racing (in theory at least).

All of which serves to remind us that there are many hundreds of league tables covering every higher ed topic imaginable, none of them adding very much to our understanding of the sector or indeed offering useful information to prospective students.

Let’s have a look at some of the latest offers.

First up is this highly topical voter registration ranking from Vote For Your Future which claims:

For the first time ever, universities have been ranked according to their voter registration efforts in five key areas: Digital integration, communication, turnout, monitoring and engagement.


Whilst a worthy attempt to promote the need for student voter registration it is a somewhat subjective assessment based on a limited set of FOI responses and indeed I’m not sure they have published any data beyond the top 10.

HESA data is the core source of data for UK rankings compilers but down the years has also provided details of a range of information which goes beyond student and staff information including estates data for example. This enabled the sector’s essential car parking ranking to be created (which some people are still cross about for all sorts of reasons) but has also enabled a few others including some rarely surfaced but nevertheless exciting ones such as these…

Hoop Dreams

Drawing on HESA 2017/18 Estates Management Record data we can discover then which university has the largest number of parking spaces for bicycles.

A suspiciously round number there for Cambridge.

And then there is the total number of buildings in the estate which produces a perhaps surprising top 10:

(I suspect it is a full-time job counting all those buildings at Warwick.)

Going Green

A league table to be applauded here – it’s the total renewable energy (in kWh) mgenerated onsite or offsite by institutions. All credit to Queen Margaret University for its efforts:

And then we have this delightful offering from those ever-creative analysts over at The Tab who have ranked the average parental contributions received by students based on some bank’s data:

We all know them. The mate who pretends to be broke, never chips in to taxis, never does any work, but somehow also manages to never run out of money.
Are they running a bitcoin farm from their room? Probably not. More likely, they’re getting a funnel of money straight from Surrey to their bank account.
Well, now, you can figure out how much (on average).

What fun.



And a final special mention just in case you missed it, here is an extremely special league table which just failed to make it into the latest top 10 of dumbest rankings.

Yes, it’s the Bantshire league table of university names and the scores they would attract in Scrabble. Special.

Well done everyone. Niche work.

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