University students ‘have more friends’

By Ian Dunt

People who go to university have more best friends than those who don’t, a new report revealed today.

The survey, published by Unite, which provides student accommodation, came on the same day that reports mapped out the full price of going to university, and the level of debt students could expect once their studies were over.

The Unite survey paints a far rosier picture. It found going to university helps to dramatically boost circles of friends. On average, people who go to university end up with 15 very close friends, compared to just ten for those who choose not to do a degree.

Friendships forged while at university are also more likely to be closer than those formed at school or work. In fact, going to university can even increase the chances of someone tying the knot. One in five (20 per cent) of former students are married or in a long-term relationship with their uni love.

University also appeared to be important in forming a successful professional network of contacts.

Sixty per cent of former students say that the contacts they made at university were just as, or more important, than their degree itself when job hunting.

More than two in five (41 per cent) graduates said a friend from university had directly set them up for a job interview or introduced them to a potential employer and a quarter (24 per cent) actually landed a job because of a uni friend or contact.

Nathan Goddard, Unite sales and marketing director, said: “In the current climate, a degree alone doesn’t always guarantee you a job – it’s also the people you meet and the friends you make along the way that could help you get ahead.

“Our research reveals that people who go to university make strong social networks which help set them up for life; whether it be work, lasting friendships or even marriage.”

The survey comes as young people and their parents across the country nervously await A-level results, due out on Thursday.