Queensland universities have proved their mettle against the nation’s best in the latest Good University Guide, released on Monday, with Bond University ranking number one for several aspects of student experience.
In a new addition for the national university guide, universities are ranked by the proportion of the student cohort who are the first in their family to enrol in a higher education course.
The University of Southern Queensland and Central Queensland University ranked equal second nationally, with 40 per cent of their student cohorts the first in their family to pursue a tertiary education.
Griffith University also ranked highly with 39 per cent of its students first in their families.
Good Education Group chief executive Chris Lester said the new ranking provided information on which universities were actively supporting students whose parents had not pursued education beyond year 12.
The student cohort enrolling in university without family background were more vulnerable to dropping out earlier, research found.
Bond University student Declan Roe was the first member of his family to attend university, saying he wasn’t prepared for the amount and quality of work he was expected to produce.
“However, the number of services that were on offer to students … helped me figure out what to research in an essay and how to structure, allowed me to embrace the academic style of writing that is expected at university,” he said.
Bond University was the only university ranked in the “very small” category by The Good Universities, with less than 10,000 students.
Of all the Queensland universities, Bond University had the highest percentage of international students, with 19 per cent, followed by UQ with 18 per cent and USQ just 6 per cent.
The University of Southern Queensland also had the highest number of non-school-leavers enrolling in Queensland, with 76 per cent. CQU had a student body of 68 per cent non-school-leavers, while UQ had 40 per cent.
Non-school-leavers are defined as people who have pursued other training or certification, entered the workforce or are mature-age students.
Bond University had the highest percentage of students studying full-time and on-campus nationally at 89 per cent, followed by the University of New South Wales on 87 per cent and UQ on 83 per cent.
Only 10 per cent of University of Southern Queensland students studied full-time on campus, with the university’s focus on online and blended learning.
Bond also ranked highest nationally for student retention above the national average, retaining 14 per cent more students at university than the average.
For social equity, CQU ranked first nationally with 37 per cent of the entire student cohort coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds, with the University of Southern Queensland in second place.
The University of Sunshine Coast was also awarded five stars for social equity with 24 per cent of its student cohort from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Students with high university entrance scores gravitated toward Melbourne, Sydney and WA, but the University of Queensland came in fifth above the Australian National University for student preference.
UQ was also listed in the top 20 per cent of universities nationally for student demand, awarded five stars by The Good University Guide.
UQ staff were also highly qualified, ranking second in the nation behind ANU with 86 per cent for the number of academic staff holding a PhD or Doctorate. Griffith ranked eighth nationally with 81 per cent.
The University of Southern Queensland ranked highly for graduates gaining full-time employment, closely followed by CQU, and both universities ranked highly again for graduate starting salary.
Bond came a close second to Notre Dame University for overall student experience, and the Gold Coast-based university took out the national number one spot in all but one of the six experience metrics.
Bond University vice-chancellor and president Tim Brailsford said it was the 13th year in a row the university had ranked so highly.
“We’ve received this accolade consistently for more than a decade because we put our students at the heart of everything we do,” Professor Brailsford said.
The Good University Guide is available online at via ebook.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au.
This article originally appeared in the Brisbane Times – ‘Very small’ Queensland uni at top of the class for student experience