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Ever scrolled through social media and seen a picture of a university campus that looks straight out of a fairytale? From historic ivy-covered buildings to sprawling green quads, some universities boast an undeniable aesthetic appeal. And while you should never choose where to study based on a university’s appearance alone, it can definitely play into your decision.

But with thousands of universities around the world, which are the most photogenic of them all? 

To find out, we decided to dig into the data and see which universities are generating the most buzz on social media. Using a seedlist of top universities in the UK and around the world, we analysed the number of Instagram and TikTok posts for each to determine which have captured the hearts (and cameras) of students the most. 

The most photogenic universities in the UK


1. University of Oxford

Claiming the top spot as the UK’s most photogenic university, according to social media, is the University of Oxford. This prestigious university is famed around the world for its academic offerings – as well as its timeless beauty. It’s the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with stunning classical architecture to match. 

It’s no wonder, then, that Oxford has racked up more posts on social media than any other university in the UK. There are 459,408 Instagram posts tagged ‘#OxfordUniversity’, as well as 33,500 on TikTok. 

With over 40 different colleges – some dating back as far as the 13th century – there’s no shortage of impressive sights to take in at the University of Oxford.

For those looking to get a taste of the Oxford lifestyle, students can participate in Oxford summer programmes with Immerse Education. This will include experiencing life on campus and engaging in lessons taught by Oxford tutors, helping to prepare young students for their academic future.


2. University of Cambridge

Following close behind Oxford and claiming the second spot on the list is the University of Cambridge. With 335,459 posts tagged ‘#CambridgeUniversity’ on Instagram and 20,000 on TikTok, Cambridge’s picturesque campus is a clear favourite among social media users.

Just like Oxford, Cambridge is renowned for its academic excellence, as well as equally stunning aesthetics. Steeped in history as the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, its architectural beauty is a captivating blend of styles, ranging from Gothic to modern.


3. University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham ranks as the third-most photogenic university in the UK, capturing the attention of social media with 160,482 Instagram posts and 2,850 on TikTok tagged ‘#UniversityofBirmingham’.

While not quite as steeped in history as Oxford and Cambridge, Birmingham still boasts its own unique charm. The university’s architectural style is varied, ranging from red brick to more contemporary buildings, creating a visually interesting campus.

RankUniversityNumber of Instagram postsNumber of TikTok posts
1University of Oxford459,40833,500
2University of Cambridge335,45920,000
3University of Birmingham160,4822,850
4University of Manchester151,8992,422
5University of Glasgow146,4992,354
6King’s College London113,5884,595
7University of Leeds134,6632,623
8University of Edinburgh103,2703,649
9Newcastle University113,9242,445
10University of Nottingham108,7042,390

The most photogenic universities in the world

1. University of California, Los Angeles

With nearly 2 million Instagram posts and over 100,000 TikTok posts tagged #UCLA, the University of California, Los Angeles reigns supreme as the world’s most photogenic university according to social media. 

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains, the campus offers a beautiful blend of Californian sunshine, palm trees, and collegiate Gothic architecture. Whether it’s capturing a view of the iconic Royce Hall or snapping a selfie at the top of the Janss Steps, UCLA provides endless backdrops for the perfect social media moment.

2. University of Oxford

As well as being crowned the UK’s most photogenic university, Oxford also snags a spot as the second-most photogenic university in the world. 

Although Oxford’s 459,408 Instagram posts can’t live up to UCLA’s near-two million, it’s still a very impressive number, proving the university’s popularity online.

3. University of California, San Diego

Another Californian institution, the University of California, San Diego, comes third on the list. With a staggering 449,569 Instagram posts and 21,000 TikTok posts tagged #UCSD, UC San Diego’s beauty isn’t lost on social media users. 

The campus offers breathtaking ocean views, modern architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere, making it a picture-perfect spot for students and visitors alike.

RankUniversityNumber of Instagram postsNumber of TikTok posts
1University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)1,922,564116,400
2University of Oxford459,40833,500
3University of California, San Diego (UCSD)449,56921,000
4Harvard University318,46623,100
5Columbia University385,72117,700
6University of Cambridge335,45920,000
7University of Washington342,37610,600
8University of Michigan293,67813,500
9University of Toronto310,9815,053
10Yale University208,78811,000

The most photogenic universities in the US and Canada

Considering they both rank among the world’s most photogenic universities according to our ranking, it’s no surprise to see UCLA and UCSD top the list in the United States.

They’re followed by Harvard University in third, with 318,466 posts on Instagram and 23,100 on TikTok. As the oldest institution of higher learning in the US, Harvard’s visual appeal stems from its rich history and iconic architecture. 

In fourth is Columbia University in New York, which has a combined total of over 400,000 posts dedicated to it across Instagram and TikTok, followed by Boston University with 288,378.

RankUniversityNumber of Instagram postsNumber of TikTok posts
1University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)1,922,564116,400
2University of California, San Diego (UCSD)449,56921,000
3Harvard University318,46623,100
4Columbia University385,72117,700
5Boston University272,57815,800

In Canada, York University in Toronto ranks as the most photogenic university. Like many others on the list, it offers a blend of natural beauty and modern architecture, earning over 200,000 posts across Instagram and TikTok.

Following closely behind is the University of Toronto, boasting 310,981 Instagram posts and 5,053 TikToks. With iconic buildings like University College and the surrounding green spaces, the university provides a classically charming backdrop for social media moments.

Rounding out the top three is the University of Waterloo, racking up 154,669 Instagram posts and 13,400 TikToks. That’s followed by Western University and McMaster University, both in Ontario.

RankUniversityNumber of Instagram postsNumber of TikTok posts
1York University185,17818,500
2University of Toronto310,9815,053
3University of Waterloo154,66913,400
4Western University121,70915,300
5McMaster University109,0236,089

The most photogenic universities in Australia 

Across the Pacific, Monash University takes the crown as Australia’s most photogenic university. Amassing over 174,000 Instagram posts and nearly 5,000 TikTok videos tagged ‘#MonashUniversity’, its multiple campuses are a clear winner on social media.

Image: Monash University


RMIT University comes in second, with over 132,000 posts dedicated to it across Instagram and TikTok, showcasing its blend of historic buildings and contemporary architecture. Close behind is the University of Sydney, followed by Curtin University and Macquarie University. 

RankUniversityNumber of Instagram postsNumber of TikTok posts
1Monash University174,4564,745
2RMIT University128,6064,100
3University of Sydney144,6821,535
4Curtin University121,2791,717
5Macquarie University89,1532,478

How to choose the perfect summer school

For many ambitious school students, the summer break is a prime opportunity to dive deeper into academics and explore future paths. Summer schools offer a wealth of enriching programmes, but with so many options, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. 

We’ve put together five key tips to help you find the perfect summer school experience to fuel your academic goals and personal growth.

1. Align with your academic goals

Pick a programme that deepens your knowledge in a subject you’re passionate about or explores a field you’re considering for your future studies. Look for programmes offering college-level courses, research opportunities, or workshops led by industry professionals. From architecture to economics, there’s a range of courses to explore at universities across the globe at Immerse Education to suit your interests and future goals.

2. Challenge yourself

Look for programmes that offer courses beyond your typical high school curriculum. Explore advanced subjects, delve deeper into existing interests, or tackle something entirely new. Aim for a programme that pushes your intellectual boundaries and prepares you for the rigours of college.

3. Consider the format

Think about your learning style. Do you thrive in a traditional classroom setting, or are you interested in a more hands-on experience like fieldwork, internships, or travel programmes? Pick a programme that’s in line with how you learn best.

4. Think about the location

Location can be a major perk! Choose a programme on a prestigious university campus, in a bustling city with cultural experiences, or even abroad for a truly immersive experience. At Immerse Education, we offer programmes in a variety of locations across the globe, from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge to the National University of Singapore. 

5. Look beyond academics

Many summer schools offer extracurricular activities, workshops, and networking events. Choose a programme with offerings that complement your academic pursuits and personal interests, fostering a well-rounded summer experience.


Methodology

We created a seedlist of top universities around the world and in each country, then looked at social media data in order to determine the most photogenic universities. 

This was done by searching the number of TikTok and Instagram posts for each university and creating a ranking from the average of the two data points.

Data correct as of 22/04/24.

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