TripAdvisor for Universities? A new trend in showcasing external student reviews

I recently stayed in a hotel that was so bad that I considered sleeping in my car. The room looked as though Norman Bates had decorated it, the bathroom was crying out to be cleaned and most upsetting of all, the door didn’t lock properly. Why didn’t I run screaming? I was on a trip that had been organized by friends so I had no choice but to grin, bear it and sleep with one eye open. The first chance I got, I got straight on TripAdvisor and began reading a mountain of bad reviews. Reviews such as "A prison bed would be more comfortable" and "The worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in" jumped out at me. It got me thinking firstly, why hadn’t my friends read these reviews and secondly, how important reviews are to any business.

Researching reviews before booking or using a service have become part and parcel of any transaction. Reviews are a very good compass of whether or not a business is reputable.

Loughborough University - News 

Late last month, I read that Loughborough University have become the first UK university to showcase external student reviews on their website. The Loughborough team worked with the StudentCrowd, an independent student review service to set up a direct feed to pull through real-time ratings and comments about the University from its site.

Loughborough University Review Page

The reviews are authentic reviews and aren’t approved by the university. You can read a certain portion of reviews directly on the university website and it then links out to external review sites.

Loughborough University Individual Review 

Whether you’re booking a holiday, shopping online or picking a university where you’ll spend 4 years of your life, a good crop of honest reviews will help you make your decision. Nobody will hold the odd complaint about unreliable Wi-Fi or bus frequency against you. But, they will question your integrity if it’s apparent that your student reviews have been hand-picked to paint you in an impossibly positive light.

While it is easy to knock the idea, there are some strong benefits:

  • You get a clear understanding of problems within the student journey and can resolve them quickly
  • You can be seen to be quick to respond and responsive to feedback
  • It shows you are genuinely interested in improving the student experience
  • "Feedback is a gift" - you can quickly collate and escalate issues to senior management

If you’re going to get in the review game, you might as well embrace it! Don’t be afraid of what your students have to say and they may just turn out to be your biggest advocates!

You can read the reviews for yourself here: 

Anyone else tempted to add an external review component to their website?