Four-fifths of undergraduates want to experience a "friendly campus" while at university, a study suggests.
Warwick was deemed the best campus in the UK
The higher education market research agency Opinionpanel also found that 72% valued an institution which did well in academic league tables.
Overall, Strathclyde was rated the best university in the UK, followed by University College London, King's College London, Oxford and Cardiff.
Some 10,542 first-years were asked for their opinions of universities.
Strathclyde's principal, Professor Andrew Hamnett, said: "The key to our success is the fact that we make the campus familiar to students before they even apply through open days, summer schools and, of course, the highly successful summer academy.
"When they arrive, students can rely on the help of their departments, the careers service and our student advisory service."
The "best campus", according to the survey, belonged to Warwick University.
Spokesman Peter Dunn said: "It's no surprise to us. We are situated amid a beautiful landscape.
"The facilities - in terms of arts, eating and studying - are also an attraction. People feel happy and work well here."
In second place was Oxford - not actually a "campus" university, as it is comprised of separate colleges spread around the city.
After that came Loughborough, Birmingham and Nottingham, suggesting that the Midlands are the UK's student happiness hub.
In terms of those most recommended to young people by parents and teachers, traditional universities did best.
Oxford was top, followed by Cambridge, London School of Economics and Imperial College London.
Only 70 of the UK's universities were eligible for the tables, because 50 students had to respond for the institution to qualify.
Opinionpanel's managing director, Ben Marks, said: "If we had included those who sent in 30 or more responses, almost all would have been included."
At some universities, up to 500 students responded.