Dublin has been ranked as one of the top student-friendly cities in the world after being placed 15th out of 50 cities that were considered worldwide.
The British company that specialises in analysis of education, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), published the rankings and gave Dublin 92/100 for student mix, 80/100 for quality of life and 77/100 for university rankings, while employer activity was rated at 75/100.
This year, the criteria considered for the rankings has significantly changed. These changes have been cited as the cause of Dublin dropping seven places since last year from 8th student-friendly city in 2012 to 15th this year. The decline is also partially attributed to a section of the survey that takes into consideration a city’s affordability for students.
Dublin’s affordability score of just 42/100 brought down the city’s aggregate score, with rent prices rising referenced as the main contributing factor. It was also noted that rising rent prices bring legitimate concerns to Dublin’s universities in relation to retaining the volume of international students coming to the city.
Amongst the top 10 student friendly cities, there were four European cities: Paris, London, Zurich and Munich. Dublin, a comparatively small European city, was ranked alongside Vienna and above cities like New York, Tokyo and Barcelona.
Despite achieving a respectable place in the top student-friendly cities rankings, the latest findings to be released by QS don’t reflect the academic quality of the Dublin-based universities.
The QS University Rankings are dominated by English and American universities, with the highest ranked Irish university, Trinity College Dublin, placed 62nd. These rankings are based on academic excellence and not by considerations relating to the quality of student life. They focus on assessing the factors such as the amount of funding given to high-level graduate research and not on the the average undergraduate or postgraduate student’s experiences of college.
In order to be featured in the rankings for top student-friendly cities, the city must have a population of 250,000 and must possess two universities that are in the QS World University Rankings. This stipulation rules out a significant number of other cities in Ireland and meant only 98 countries qualified for the survey.
The best represented countries in the survey were the US, with seven cities in the top 50, Australia boasting six cities, and the United Kingdom and Canada having three cities each.
The top 10 was announced in the following order. Paris, London, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Zurich, Hong Kong, Boston, Montreal and Munich.