Top of the Toks: UK’s most popular University TikTokers
There is no doubt that one of the best things to come out of lockdown is the popularity of TikTok. As students headed back to University this autumn, the UK’s new obsession with the video-sharing app bought a new wave of student TikTokers with it. With videos ranging from first lecture reviews to tours of student digs, it’s become a new hub for the student experience; with little opportunity to go outside, student life has been taken indoors.
With the ability to make it viral within days, those making waves on TikTok have the opportunity to make it as a creator- shunning traditional student jobs to get sponsored for their content by some of the UK’s biggest brands. Our research has revealed the UK’s most popular University TikTokers, finding students with the most potential to earn big money in this new student side hustle.
How we worked it out
We found thousands of creators posting under their UK university’s hashtag and ranked them using metrics including engagement rates, overall followers, and historical likes since this year’s university term began- with average likes, comments, views and shares the highest indicator of success. We also deducted points for inconsistent content performance.
It’s been found that TikTokers with a substantial following and popular videos can make hundreds per post- with the ability to become popular overnight through TikTok’s algorithm powered by a recommendation system which feeds users videos it thinks they might enjoy.
Unlike platforms like Youtube where content creators slowly build a following, TikTok finds stars in a matter of days- including those making UK-viral content whilst studying. And with brands discovering these stars who talk to millions of other students, there is a massive opportunity for paid collaborations.
Who Topped the Toks?
Coming out at the top is @yelenazylko, a University of Sussex student and creator of the now infamous “things in our uni house that just make sense” video which made national headlines, currently has 2.8 million likes. Her video launched a TikTok trend of showcasing poorly-designed student houses and their decor. She has since become a source for relatable videos highlighting everyday uni struggles including zoom lectures and housemate drama.
@yelenazylkoThings in our uni house that just make sense xxx #fyp #foryou #uni #student♬ original sound – yelenazylko
Taking the silver medal and showing that student downtime isn’t all about partying is @puzzlesbynathan aka Nathan Tozer, a University of Bristol student, whose time-lapse videos of him completing puzzles have attracted the attention of puzzle brands- for which he is reported to be making £500 a pop.
@puzzlesbynathanImpuzzible Wavy Rainbow! #puzzle #jigsaw #satisfy #oddlysatisfying #rainbow #timelapse #fyp #wow #color #colors #amazing #incredible #satisfying♬ Believer [NSG Remix] – Romy Wave
Third place is @laylagraceallsop, a student at the University of Hull, who gained popularity with a heartfelt video which documented her big move to university accommodation- including packing up, leaving home, and saying goodbye to her family (and dog) The video has racked up 6.2m views, and over 5,000 comments, with Layla now posting about her time as a student in the pandemic.
@laylagraceallsopA little summary of the day👩🏻🎓 #uni #university #student #hull #foryoupage #fyp♬ always remember you – Abbi Sutphen
Fourth goes to prolific and hilarious TikToker and Newcastle University student, @max_balegde, whose oeuvre includes his embarrassing doctored mumps image which landed him on BBC news, and the several-part series “things that celebrities have done that are questionable”. Max has even launched a podcast, following his continued fame on TikTok, with an episode dedicated to life as a student and all of its tribulations.
@max_balegdeI don’t know why I behave the way I do but I wouldn’t have it any other way #fyp #storytime #britishhumour #ukcomedy #newcastle #uni♬ I hate myself – Max_Balegde
Sliding into the fifth spot is University of Nottingham Masters student, @ellieblythe_. Many of Ellie’s videos are with her younger sister Zahra, who is a star in her own right. The duo have gained so many millions of TikTok likes that they have since even created their own YouTube channel, but some of Ellie’s most popular videos feature in the series ‘‘rating places on campus where I’ve…..’ You can fill in those blanks!
@ellieblythe_Family arguments be like | insta: ellieblythe_ #sister #amongus #emergancymeeting♬ original sound – Ellie Blythe
Next on the list is @mrlandi, studying at University of Lincoln, who shot to fame after giving the world a tour of his university accommodation in Lincoln which featured a distinctly loud pair of curtains and a hole in the wall. . Since then, he has also enjoyed fame from rating the things he sees in the windows of fellow COVID-isolating students.
@mrlandi£131 a week for this 🙁 #uni #uniaccomodation #thingsinmyhousethatjustmakesense #unilife #student #uk #british #fyp #foryou♬ Ice Dance (From “Edward Scissorhands”) – Ashton Gleckman
Up next is @taylor.castroo from University College London, whose uncanny resemblance to actress Kiera Knightly has seen her shoot to fame this as one of TikTok’s recognisable stars., In fact, Taylor has already partnered on sponsored posts with student brands that speak to her thousands of student followers, with whom she speaks to about the likes of personal statements, job applications and life at one of the UK’s top universities.
@taylor.castrooThank me later 😘 @smartacademicsolutions #ad #fyp #foryoupage #asosdaytofright #uni #university #alevels♬ zup made this sound – zup
University of Leeds student @cxllum19 takes eighth place. Callum’s videos encompass all things student life – the good and the bad. One video which captured the unfortunate short story of him and friends falling off a bench, sending both themselves and their drinks flying, has received over 500K likes and over 10K shares- with Callum now at over 1.6m likes for his channel.
@cxllum19a short story #leeds #uni #gay #fyp #university #drunk #queens #slay♬ original sound – callum
In ninth place is @mackisaac, the Nottingham Trent student who not only creates witty and shareable videos on Tiktok but also has a popular YouTube channel with over 13K subscribers- including a video of his grandparents reacting to his TikTok hits. His creative take on a Britain’s Got Talent spoof, ‘TikTok’s Got Talent’, and student lockdown diaries, make him one of TikTok’s most consistently high performing creators.
@mackisaacWho will go through to the next round? #fyp #foryou #talent #comedy #tiktok♬ original sound – Keady Mack 🏴☠️
Finishing off the list is @mr.miami_uk, the University of Wolverhampton’s 33-year-old business management student from across the pond. The Miami native has become famous for reviewing classic British food. After starting with a following of just 97 and he skyrocketed to more than 67,000 after reviewing local doughnuts, and hasn’t stopped since. Nick has since stacked up the likes reviewing cult favourites such as Greggs, and Nandos.
@mr.miami_ukReply to @blkgranit3 So I went to #lidl for #yumyums and this happened 😅 #yumyum #mrmiamiuk #lidl #middleaisle #fypシ #orangechocolate #grocery♬ Spongebob – Dante9k
With many universities closing their campuses, and many student areas seeing limited access to social hubs like bars, restaurants and shops due to local restrictions, student accommodation has become more significant than ever; not just a place to sleep, but a lifestyle hub; the centre for work and, importantly, play.
Student jobs have always been an important part of student life, but with the pandemic meaning more traditional jobs are off the cards, the increasing popularity of TikTok has meant that students can not only meet and engage with other students through relatable content about their lives in lockdown but make money from it too- and all from the comfort of their bedroom. From fashion to mental health, TikTok is fast becoming a place where students can be inspired, meet friends and socialise, bringing student life to their fingertips.