'Head north' for student nightlife
Students seeking an exciting nightlife should head towards the bright lights of the north or Scotland, while those with an eye on a political career should consider universities in London and the south east, according to a survey.
It also reveals that students who are keen on the arts could find themselves at home at a smaller, specialist, institution.
The poll, published by Which?, is based on surveys of more than 12,000 undergraduates, and rates UK universities on areas including nightlife, sports, creative activities and political scene.
It found that 11 of the 15 universities voted highly for their diverse local nightlife are in Northern and Scottish cities although for the first time, this year's top entries include two London institutions - University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
The took their place alongside Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool John Moores, Glasgow Caledonian, Strathclyde, Northumbria, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Sussex, Leeds Beckett, Nottingham Trent and Glasgow.
Would-be politicians were likely to be found in London, with SOAS University of London, LSE, Goldsmiths and UCL all considered by students to be among the top political universities. This means that they have lots of different political groups and activities and politics are a visible part of the university experience.
Oxford and Cambridge were also highly rated for politics, as were Sussex, Glasgow, Essex, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Unsurprisingly, Loughborough was considered by students to be among the best places to go for sport. Other sporty institutions - those offering a wide range of organised sports teams, clubs and facilities for all levels - included St Mary's University in Twickenham, Bath, Stirling, Durham, Brunel, Worcester, Cardiff Metropolitan, Birmingham, Harper Adams, Surrey and Northumbria.
And the top creative institutions, providing students with lots of opportunities in music, theatre, dance and the visual arts, were Falmouth, Goldsmiths, University of the Arts, Bath Spa, University for the Creative Arts and Southampton Solent.
Institutions were also rated on the variety of their student union activities, with Leeds, Sheffield, Loughborough, East Anglia, Harper Adams and Keele all scoring highly in this category.
Four universities scored well across the board in nearly all areas and were found to offer a particularly good extra-curricula scene, Which? said. These were Leeds, Glasgow, UCL and Edinburgh.
Which? University spokesperson, Jenni Allen said: "With tuition fees now averaging nearly £9,000 a year, it's important that prospective students do their homework, find out everything they need to know about different universities, and weigh up all the options before deciding where they want to study.
"Which? University is a free website to help students compare universities on both the extra-curricular and academic experience and make the right choice for them."
Research published by Which? last month found that concerns among some students about their university experience, while others suggested they feel they are not getting value for money.
In total, just half (49%) of students said that the amount of work they have to do for their degree is demanding, while only four in 10 (39%) said the content of their course is stretching.
:: The latest Which? survey conducted by YouthSight, interviewed 4,519 students in their second year or above, online between October 9 and 29. This data was merged with the previous year's survey, which interviewed 8,053 students in their first year or above, online between July 8 and August 8 2013. Students who were surveyed in 2013 were not surveyed in 2014.