The Student Room is by far the biggest online student forum in the UK. The majority of its active users are currently studying A levels (16-18 year olds), though there is a huge contingent of university students, and a few even who have already graduated. At the other end of the scale, there is also a thriving society for year 11 students.
The main reason why many people register is to gain academic help. This is evidenced by the huge flurries of activity that the forum receives in May, June and January, the main examination months in the UK. Students look for past papers and study resources, as well as exam build up and post mortem threads. They can create threads as they wish to ask specific questions, and they can answer as they see fit on other threads.
Activity also spikes in September, when a huge number of prospective university applicants come to discuss their University choices. There's a set group of experienced and respected members who form the Personal Statement help team (giving expert advice on a crucial part of University applications), and also a Personal Statement bank, for examples of previous statements for the thousands of university courses available. What draws people to the site is that they can connect with students who've already been through the system and have knowledge of the accomodation, campus, social life, course and people at the universities in England.
Two of the most famous subsections in the academic side of The Student Room (TSR, as it's users name it), are the Oxbridge and Medicine forums. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are highly selective in choosing their potential students, and as a result, many prospective and current applicants use TSR to ask previously successful users on their thoughts as to what makes a good application. Medicine is a similarly highly competitive course, and it's sub-forum is amongst the busiest places on TSR.
Aside from academia, TSR also has a thriving social and chat scene. The famous Health and Relationships sub forum proves to be particularly popular with teenagers asking for advice in their personal lives, and the International Lounge, most prominently home to the Pakistani, Indian and African Societies, offers students the chance to connect with other students of similar backgrounds.
The Everyday Issues forum provides a space to ask, as the forum subheading says, 'questions and advice about everyday life, from post office opening times to eBay queries or what to buy your loved one for their birthday.' The Student Room also has major forums for Sport, Music, Gaming, Technology, Fitness, Fashion, Entertainment, Travel, Current Affairs, Religion, Philosophy and History, as well as offering advice in the Gap Year and Careers forums.
Though there is a certain degree of input from moderators, the vast majority of TSR's guides (often enclosed in the organised TSR Wiki section) were written by normal members. Indeed, many people become moderators for contributing their experiences to TSR. The Moderation team is superceded by a group of Supermoderators, and then the TSR Administration Team.
TSR boasts 800,000 unique users having made 32,000,000 replies as of July 2011, including 300,000 new users in the last 11 months. It's growth and popularity is exploding and it is sure to remain the biggest student forum for English students for many years to come.