The Sunday Times released their annual “Good University Guide” on November 2nd 2020. The supplement, which accompanied the main paper, details a league table with the top nineteen third level colleges ranked against one another. For the second year in a row, UCC has achieved a second place ranking in the guide.
Universities are ranked on a range of factors that are weighted by points, out of a total 1,000 possible points. The categories taken into account include the student experience, research, employment, leaving certificate points needed for entry and the amount of 1st class and 2nd class honour degrees awarded. The student to staff ratio, the amount spent on facilities, and the progression rate to the second year of their courses are all taken into account as well.
It was Trinity College Dublin who took the top spot this year, earning 760 points out of the possible 1000. It should be noted, however, that UCC outscored Trinity College on several indicators, including the employment rate of graduates, the amount of students receiving 1st or 2nd class honours, as well as in the progression rate to second year. The student to staff ratio of 58 points was awarded to both institutions.
UCC won the ‘University of the Year’ title in the Sunday Times in 2016 and has achieved the accolade five times in total. One of the reasons for this is UCC’s record for retaining first year students, 92.2% – which is 6% above the national average. The Hub, recently opened in January 2020, was also mentioned in the University’s bio, as well as the plan for a new €25 million business school and a 255-bed student residence, amongst other plans.
Featured in the profile of the University, is the opinion of Naoise Crowley, UCC Students’ Union (UCCSU) President. As with every other institution, Mr. Crowley gave answers to key indicator questions posed by the Sunday Times. Mr. Crowley lists the ‘beautiful campus in a vibrant city’ as his first impression of UCC. Conversely, Mr. Crowley listed the price of rent as the worst feature. Separately, it is also mentioned in the profile of the University that private rents can range from €450 to €900 per month. Mr. Crowley added that the facilities were ‘excellent’ and that the ‘deal clincher’ was the ‘incredible experience’ provided at UCC.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, UCC was unable to hold its annual open day for prospective undergraduate students, something which usually takes place on the second Saturday in October. As with most other events this year, it is taking place in a virtual realm. This year, the virtual undergraduate open days will take place on December 4th and 5th 2020 from 10am-4pm. According to a profile done in the Irish Times on virtual open days from nearly all third level institutions in Ireland, UCC are boasting presentations, information videos from their chosen subject areas and student life sections. Prospective students will also be able to take a virtual campus tour to view the University’s facilities. A web-chat function is another key feature that UCC are offering on the day, so that attendees can talk with academic and professional services staff about subjects and supports.
UCC will also be featured in a new television series, by RTÉ and the Irish Universities Association (IUA). Chrisdina O’Neill, a Professional Masters of Education student at UCC and a member of the Travelling Community will share her experience of University and the personal challenges she faced. The move to remote learning, due to the Covid-19 pandemic will also be included in the programme. Ms. O’Neill told the Irish Examiner, that sharing her “experience of University was so important to break down the barriers and stigma around University within marginalised communities.” The programme will begin on Friday November 6th at 7:30pm and the series will run for five week, featuring seven different journeys to Higher Education.