These guidelines are updated on a regular basis. Last updated 28th June 2021.
StudentCrowd exists to help students make the best decisions. We follow a simple set of principles to ensure the most authentic, transparent and valuable information is available to students while balancing fairness to higher education providers.
- We never edit or alter the text of reviews or comments submitted on our site, no matter how minor.
- We never suppress, filter or delete content simply because it is negative/lower-rated, or positive/higher-rated.
- We apply the same standard of review for all content (whether or not the content involves a provider client of StudentCrowd).
- We require email verification from an .ac.uk email address to ensure the reviewer is a genuine UK enrolled student. Only student reviews are included in our league table calculations.
- We require providers to respond to reviews from a verified company email account.
- We moderate every piece of content through a two-step moderation process. The first stage of review is technological. We apply proprietary technology that analyses multiple attributes of the content. If the content does not pass the technological review, a team of human moderators reviews the content to determine if it meets our guidelines. Additionally, a human always moderates any piece of content that is flagged for secondary review.
- We use proprietary technology filters & algorithms to detect attempted abuse and gaming.
- We stay neutral in all cases of dispute; we don’t take sides and we don’t act as the finder of fact with respect to review content.
- We remove content if we have evidence that users were incentivised or coerced into leaving the content.
- We believe in the principle of anonymity and free speech: everyone has a right to voice his or her opinion and be heard without fear of retribution, censorship or other unwanted attention.
- StudentCrowd uses the term 'content' to describe text and video reviews, photos and other user-submitted content.
- StudentCrowd uses the term student to describe prospective, current and graduated students from a university institution.
- StudentCrowd uses the term higher education provider to describe university institutions, course provider and accommodation providers, as well as those providing employment opportunities specifically targeted at university students e.g. placement organisations and graduate recruitment. We also use this phrase for organisations providing targeted services or products to university students e.g. student bank accounts.
StudentCrowd’s Review Policy
In order to build a platform of trust, we need to ensure that reviews on StudentCrowd are useful, informative and do not expose StudentCrowd members to harm. Therefore, StudentCrowd expects that all reviews adhere to the following:
- Your review should be truthful and constitute your own personal opinion and experience of the higher education provider you are reviewing. We don’t take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect you to stand behind your statements expressed in your content.
- We encourage you to think about your university experience from a few perspectives and include both a pro and a con to provide a balanced review. While not required, we do believe balanced reviews make for a better community experience.
- Reviews should be relevant to StudentCrowd and your university life experience. Prospective and current students are reading your reviews to learn about all aspects of university life. Reviews that are off-topic are distracting and don’t help students to make informed decisions. To keep reviews relevant, we recommend avoiding the following:
- Commentary about a person’s social, political or religious views
- Profanity, name calling and assumptions about a person’s character or personality
- Content that refers to circumstances entirely outside of another’s control
- Content about services not related to university life
- Commentary about another individuals' university experience.
- We do not allow reviews that include negative comments about identifiable individuals.
- We don't approve reviews that include certain profanities, threats of violence or discriminatory language targeted at an individual or group. We may allow reviews that mention race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and the like if we believe the comment is used to describe a situation you have encountered.
- We do not accept reviews that reveal confidential, non-public internal information.
- To safeguard privacy, we do not allow you to identify yourself or include any contact information (about yourself or others) in your reviews.
- We will reject any content meant as an advertisement or containing a web link.
- All reviews should be original: no substantial quoted material from other sources, including (but not limited to) websites, e-mail correspondence, other reviews, etc.
- Your writing doesn't have to be perfect, but we need to be able to understand it. We reject reviews for excessive capitalization or filler words/characters. And remember, your review will be more credible if you use good grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Reviews are most helpful when they provide unbiased information. Therefore, we don't allow individuals or entities who are employed by, or are affiliated with higher education providers, to post reviews of their own products and services. Higher education providers creating fake profiles to review their own organisation, or providing something of value in exchange for positive reviews, are considered a violation of our guidelines. Violations may result in the restriction, suspension or termination of your StudentCrowd account.
- We do not allow individuals who are confirmed to offer competing products or services to post reviews of their direct competitors, for example, other higher education providers in the same market e.g. accommodation, banks, placement companies etc. Reviews created for the purpose of dissuading others from using those services or driving business to other providers, are not allowed. Violations may result in the restriction, suspension or termination of your StudentCrowd account.
- You are not allowed to incentivise positive reviews, to use the threat of a negative review to manipulate a desired outcome or to influence another’s review with the promise of compensation. Any attempt to use reviews or review responses to force a person to do something they aren’t obligated to do is a misuse of reviews, and we don’t allow it. Violations may result in the restriction, suspension or termination of your StudentCrowd account.
- Our algorithm identifies any HE provider who receives a high volume of 5 star or 1 star reviews. We consider it to be incredibly unlikely that any provider or their services would receive overwhelming high or low review scores as individuals experience is varied. We have set minimum and maximum thresholds for review scores in set timeframes to identify inconsistent review score patterns in order to ensure authenticity of reviews. Providers cherry-picking high score reviews, and those wishing to cause mischief by garnering negative reviews, will be identified and we will take appropriate action to protect students from being misled.
- Reviewers must have had experience of a review area to write a review e.g. started their course, moved into their accommodation or experienced their university location etc.
- Each individual is allowed two reviews, per year, per review type. If a user updates a review more than twice within a year, the older review will be archived and the newer review will be listed.
When we receive a report of a review that violates this policy, we may remove the review from our platform. Repeated violations may lead to suspension or permanent deactivation of responsible account(s).
Some content is never allowed on StudentCrowd.
Reporting a review that violates StudentCrowd's Review Policy
While we encourage and expect all students to post reviews that contain objective and accurate information, StudentCrowd does not mediate disputes concerning truth or fairness. We expect the author of the review to stand behind the content of their review.
If you see something on StudentCrowd that you believe violates our guidelines, you should flag it for our evaluation. We will reply via email with our decision. Keep in mind that flagging a piece of content for a second look does not guarantee that it will be removed from the site. Because of the diversity of our community, it's possible that something could be disagreeable to you without meeting the criteria for being removed or blocked.
We will remove the review if we confirm that it violates our Review Policy. However, please note that we do not fact-check reviews, so we cannot remove a review simply because there is a disagreement about its contents.
We apply the same standard of review for all content (whether or not the content concerns a provider client of StudentCrowd). Ultimately, content decisions are within our sole discretion and we do not negotiate about our application of a guideline to reach a final decision as to whether or not a piece of content warrants removal. For more information, see our Legal FAQs.
If you believe a review is fraudulent or otherwise improper, please report it by emailing email@example.com.
If you receive a threat of blackmail, please alert us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responding to a review
HE provider clients of StudentCrowd are able to respond to reviews with additional information, to provide their own perspective of a situation or to address feedback given. Any responses given must follow our Review Policy and provide relevant comments for future students.
StudentCrowd moderates provider responses after they are posted. If the response does not meet the guidelines, it may be shown for a short time before it is removed. We will send a notification by email if we remove your response.
Provider responses are moderated using the Reviews Guidelines, with the exception that we do allow providers to include their contact information and relevant web links (e.g. links to internal company policies, ethics/compliance hotline sites, etc.)
When responding, we specifically ask providers to:
- Be courteous and professional.
- Do not include the name of the individual you believe wrote the review.
- Do not threaten the writer of a review with legal or other punitive damage.
For guidance on what to include in a response to a review, please read our How to reply to a review article. If you would like to dispute a review, learn how to report a review that you believe goes against our policy.
In exceptional circumstances, we may enable a non-client provider to reply to a review if there is evidence to suggest the review is wholly untrue and defamatory to the organisation.