These guidelines are updated on a regular basis. Last updated 15th August 2022.
StudentCrowd exists to help students make the best decisions through their higher education journey. 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.
The purpose of the StudentCrowd platform is to create a space where students can share their experiences of university freely and where their voices can be heard. We expect students to tell the truth and stand behind comments made in reviews. We cannot fact-check reviews.
While we have an automated moderation system in place, we rely on the StudentCrowd community to flag any content that breaches our guidelines.
Here are our principles in more detail:
★ We don’t edit your reviews
We never edit or alter the text of reviews or comments submitted on our site, no matter how minor, with the exception of replacing expletives with asterisks eg. this place is s**t. We don't correct spelling mistakes.
We never suppress, filter or delete content simply because it is negative/lower-rated, or positive/higher-rated.
★ We can’t check the truth of every single review on our site
We do not proactively assess every review left on the platform as to its truthfulness or usefulness.
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 trust students to tell the truth and stand behind any statements they make.
However, in extreme circumstances where a provider produces evidence to disprove serious allegations, we reserve the right to remove the review.
★ Verification is important to us
The integrity of StudentCrowd reviews is a big deal to us. That’s why we ask reviewers to verify that they are genuinely a student enrolled in the UK by requiring email verification from an .ac.uk email address. You can read more about why authenticity is important to us here.
Only student reviews are included in our league table calculations.
We require providers to respond to reviews from a verified company email account.
★ Our moderation process
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 (like TOO MANY CAPS!!!!! or <html tags>). If the content does not pass the technological review, a team of human moderators reviews the content to determine if it meets our guidelines.
If any piece of content is flagged for review on our site, a team of humans moderates the content.
We use proprietary technology filters and algorithms to detect attempted abuse and gaming.
We apply the same standard of moderation for all content (whether or not the content involves a provider client of StudentCrowd).
★ We believe in free speech
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.
★ About our terminology
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.
★ General Guidance
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.
Remember, your review will be more credible if you use good grammar, spelling and punctuation.
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.
★ Irrelevant content
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.
Content about services and experiences not related to university life will be rejected.
Commentary about another individual’s university experience will also be rejected. Reviews should be about the reviewers own personal experience.
★ Incomprehensible content
Your writing doesn't have to be perfect, but we need to be able to understand it. We reject reviews for excessive capitalisation, filler words/characters and using HTML tags.
We encourage students to leave reviews in English as this is more accessible to a wider range of students.
★ Written before the fact
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. Content that indicates otherwise will be removed.
★ Content attempts to manipulate a ranking or outcome through inappropriate influence
We remove content if we have evidence that users inappropriately influenced or coerced into leaving the content.
StudentCrowd defines inappropriate influence as, any activity or behaviour that may encourage students to reflect anything other than their true opinion of their experiences of a provider's services.
Inappropriate influence can emerge in several ways, for example:
a) Explicit or implicit instruction on the type of responses students should make, including the provision of standard or example responses.
b) Drawing attention, explicitly or implicitly, to the consequences of negative responses.
d) Encouraging students to avoid a particular point on the review criteria.
e) Failure to ensure that methods to encourage students to complete a review form, such as campaigns, the use of promotional materials (either explicitly or implicitly) or incentivisation methods, do not bias responses.
f) Holding compulsory sessions at which review forms must be completed.
We don’t tolerate the use of inappropriate influence and have built authenticity signals into our StudentCrowd score algorithm to deter providers from influencing students to leave positive reviews.
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.
You are not allowed to inappropriately influence students to write positive reviews, or 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.
★ Content is outside of another’s control
We do not accept reviews that feature content that refers to circumstances entirely outside of another’s control.
We don't approve reviews that include threats of violence, even if the commentary is likely to be sarcastic.
Content that glorifies structural harm to a property, such as threats of bombing or fires, will be removed.
Content containing the above types of threats may be reported to law enforcement.
★ Content promoting illegal activity
We do not approve content that promotes or condones illegal activity.
We may allow content where reviewers are describing eye-witness accounts of illegal activity, including, but not limited to, staff or student participation in drugs, violence, robberies, possession of firearms and sexual assaults. Such content should not glorify violent or illegal activity and is published to be helpful to future students.
We reserve the right to report to the authorities any instances brought to our attention of child endangerment, human trafficking or imminent threats to a person or property.
★ Discriminatory language
We do not allow reviews featuring discriminatory commentary about a person’s social, political or religious views or discriminatory language targeted at a group.
StudentCrowd will not host any content that promotes intolerance for, contains offensive stereotypes of, or incites hatred/bias towards people based on their ethnic or social origin, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious/spiritual beliefs, socioeconomic class, physical or mental ability, immigration status, or nationality. If the text is not explicit, we will lean towards removing any such content that could be perceived as expressing bias or hatred even if not necessarily intended that way.
★ Vulgar, profane or inappropriate content
We do not allow reviews with profane language. Swear words are manually replaced with asterisks.
We do not allow reviews featuring name calling or offensive profanities.
We do not allow reviews containing sexually explicit content.
★ Promotional or biassed content
We will reject any content meant as an advertisement or containing a web link.
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. 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.
★ Confidential information
We do not accept reviews that reveal confidential, non-public internal information.
★ Content that violates privacy
We do not allow reviews that include negative comments about identifiable individuals.
To safeguard privacy, we do not allow you to identify yourself or include any contact information (about yourself or others) in your reviews.
★ Non-original content
All reviews should be original: no substantial quoted material from other sources, including (but not limited to) websites, e-mail correspondence, other reviews, etc.
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).
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.
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.
If you would like to dispute a review, use the above section for guidance.
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.