Top 10 Universities for Sober Students

  |     |   Health & Wellbeing, Uncategorized

The typical uni experience may have a reputation for drinking culture, but today, a growing number of students are choosing not to drink. Which UK universities offer the best environments for sober students? Here are 10 unis where you can easily have a blast without booze. 


What Makes a University Sober Student-Friendly?


To find out which universities top the sobriety list, we researched a few key factors:


  • The number of students
  • The number of sober societies
  • The number of bars in the area
  • The support services available


This allowed us to give the universities their “sobriety ranking”. You might be surprised by some of the results:


10. Coventry University


Coventry comes in tenth on our list, with 58 sober societies and 9 support services. The area has 110 bars.


View the sports clubs, societies and gym classes you can join at Coventry University. Activities include fun alcohol-free events like escape rooms and tabletop gaming.


9. University of Bristol


This university has 386 sober societies and 12 support services available, with 242 bars in the local area.


The Bristol Student Union runs numerous sober Freshers’ events, from yoga to coffee get-togethers to jewellery-making socials.


The university also helps students struggling with addiction to get sober:


“Student counselling, treatment or rehabilitation maybe offered through Student Services and the NHS. The Student Counselling Service also provides specific support to students dealing with drugs, alcohol and addiction. Students are also able to suspend their academic studies to provide them with a period of rehabilitation and recovery.” – University of Bristol


8. University of Nottingham


You can expect to find 269 bars in the Nottingham area, with 272 sober societies and 17 support services offered by the university. Societies include sports clubs and student media groups.


The university provides a range of health and wellbeing services to support their students. The HealthyU section of the university website provides an Alcohol and Drug Safety booklet, as well as important facts about substances and addiction.


7. Nottingham Trent University


The second Nottingham entry on the list, Nottingham Trent has 132 sober societies and 17 support services. The area has 260 local bars.


Here’s a list of sober activities from the Nottingham Trent Students’ Union.


View the university’s wellbeing toolkit.


Find information and support services regarding alcohol and drugs.


6. University of Leeds


The University of Leeds has 366 sober societies, 440 local bars and 24 support services. In support of sober students, the uni recently submitted an article to Medium, which lists a nice variety of sober activities to enjoy during the notorious party-heavy Fresher’s Week.


More on support services at the University of Leeds:


“The Student Counselling and Wellbeing service is a multi-professional team of Counsellors, Wellbeing Practitioners and Mental Health Advisors. We offer free and confidential support to students during their time at the University of Leeds.” – University of Leeds


See an overview of the university’s counselling and support services.


5. University of Edinburgh


The University of Edinburgh has 434 sober societies and 9 support services, with 385 bars in the vicinity. You’ll find a long list of music, dance, art and film societies at the uni.


Find a University of Edinburgh society.


See an overview of the university’s counselling and crisis support services.


4. King’s College London


London is known for its nightlife and King’s College is surrounded by no less than 3540 bars. There are plenty of options for sober students though, with 299 sober societies and 50 support services. King’s has a choice of sports clubs, societies, volunteer opportunities and student media events.


“The central aim of the university’s policy on controlled drugs is to balance respect for the privacy and freedom of individual students, with the imperatives of compliance with the law and maintenance of a safe, productive and legal environment in the best interests of all students… Although the Counselling & Mental Health Support Service is not able to offer a treatment programme to students with drug or alcohol issues, we are here to talk about the problem and to help you connect with specialist drug and alcohol services.” – King’s College London


Find a King’s College society.


Learn about the SURE recovery app on the King’s College website.


3. University College London


Being situated in the bustling city of London, University College has no end of options for a wild night out, with 3540 bars in the area. However, sober students can enjoy a selection of 377 alcohol-free societies and can access 50 support services.


“Our team of expert wellbeing, disability and mental health staff provide a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space, in which you can discuss any issues that may be affecting your ability to study. All of our support services are free of charge and open to UCL students of all levels.” – University College London


View the university’s addiction self-help resources at their online self-help library.


See the list of best welcome events for teetotaling students from the Student Union.


2. The University of Manchester


Drinking culture may be big in Manchester, with 1912 bars accessible from the university, but there’s plenty of support for sober and sober-curious students too. The University of Manchester has 415 sober societies and 33 support services available.


Watch Manchester’s Sober Nights Out where students discuss the benefits of alcohol-free living.


Read Ideas for Sober Socials in Manchester.


“Manchester has a vibrant nightlife, but not everything has to involve alcohol… The city boasts social events all week round, whether that's cinema, theatre, music, restaurants, cafés and walks around our wider city areas.” – The University of Manchester


According to our statistics, Manchester technically ties with our winning sober university:


1. The University of Glasgow


Despite having 223 local bars, the University of Glasgow boasts 344 sober societies and 19 support services. The university also provides a list of resources on their site for those battling addiction, and states that they approach substance misuse in a rehabilitative way.


“The University is committed to creating and supporting a healthy working environment and takes a supportive and rehabilitative approach towards alcohol, drugs and substance abuse problems. The Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy sets out the positive approach the University takes towards addressing alcohol, drugs and substance-related problems at work.” – Human Resources, The University of Glasgow


Find a University of Glasgow society.


View the university’s Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy.


View the university’s Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Toolkit.


Navigating university life as a sober student has its challenges, but it’s good to know there are plenty of alcohol-free activities to enjoy at some of the country’s top universities.



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