A fresh look

Most people have a sense of what modern students in the UK are like. After all, many of us have been privileged enough to have the benefit of higher education at some stage in our lives.

However, when it comes to what students really want to get out of their university experience, beyond education, not many of us can say we accurately represent the views of those either currently enrolled, or preparing to attend one of the UK’s higher education establishments. The cultural fabric, the legal landscape, and even the financial climate of the UK has changed beyond recognition since many readers studied for their degrees — and will continue to change with each new generation.

Our latest research report - Extra Curricular - seeks to find out what really matters to what has become an increasingly discerning audience. An education has never been more expensive, more competitive, or even more scrutinised than it is today. It is why higher education institutions who offer more added value, beyond the standards of education they bestow on this new breed of customers, stand a better chance of attracting a higher number of candidates than their competitors.


Extra Curricular

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Extra Curricular (PDF, 1.7MB)

Extra Curricular looks into what students really want to get from their experience in higher education, and the importance they place on certain criteria before and during their time at university.

This research is designed to do something to move the collective preconception of student life away from the clichéd backdrop of bad nutrition and trips to the pub, so our findings have been specifi cally focused into seven key themes.

Our focus was to gauge the opinions of current students, who have already spent at least one year in student accommodation. However, we also wanted to understand the preconceptions of young people about to enter into higher education to see whether the reality of accommodation measured up to expectations.

To understand these audiences, we undertook a blend of quantitative and qualitative research methods, in conjunction with our research partners Morar Consulting. We polled over 1,700 students across the UK at the start of June 2015.

Using Morar’s online system, we were able to compare and contrast the opinions of several groups: sixth formers actively looking into their choice of university, first year students coming to the end of their fi rst year of life in student accommodation, international students at the same stage and post graduate students.

Qualitatively, we ran focus groups with our partners at the University of Essex, getting deeper insight into their expectations, experiences and ideas on the subject of student life.

Project co-ordination: Nicolas Swiderski, Nicolas Guerin, Samantha Veal, Ian Smith, Steve Atkin, Simon Cotteral, Karis Galliano Editorial team: Simon Cotteral, Jamie Collins-Adams, Steve Atkin, Samantha Veal Graphic concept: Goosebumps


New perspectives

In 2014, students of the BA (Honours) Architecture: Spaces & Objects course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design were invited by Uliving & Bouygues UK to think about the future of student accommodation in London. The students conducted comprehensive research into the future scenarios of student accommodation in the city.

Beyond Dwelling is the result of this research, presented in the form of student proposals. In general, the thinking went far beyond the pure provision of accommodation, catering for various aspects of the students’ social and cultural patterns. Their ideas were received and encouraged by Uliving & Bouygues UK, with the assistance of university and college staff.


Beyond Dwelling

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Beyond Dwelling (PDF 5.8 MB)

Beyond Dwelling is a natural extension of Uliving's research and development activity in a fast-moving sector which has changed beyond recognition in recent years.

We are excited to be engaging with young talented individuals with fresh ideas and direct, recent experience of student living to get a new perspective on student accommodation. The college’s staff have been exceptional, guiding the students to create impressively thorough, ambitious and innovative entries, which far exceeded our initial expectations

We were particularly pleased with the variety of angles students took to tackle the project, with entries focused on factors as diverse as the quality of the living environment and how it relates to developing professional skills, efficiency and flexibility, social interaction and general living organisation. It was also interesting to note that every entry included sustainability in some form either from an environmental, social, or economic perspective. The collaboration proved to be insightful and interesting to all parties, who learned valuable lessons from each other.

Uliving would like to thank the teaching staff and liaisons at University of the Arts London & Central Saint Martins for their time, assistance and commitment. We would also like to thank and congratulate the students of BA Architecture: Space & Object, whose energy, enthusiasm, hard work and creativity has made this project such a successful collaboration.

Project co-ordination: Mel Dodd Oscar Brito Project tutors: Oscar Brito David Chambers Rut Cuenca Orsalia Dimitriou Geoffrey Makstutis Federico Nassetti Editorial team: Shumi Bose Oscar Brito Graphic concept: Andrew Side