Purpose Competitive universities try to improve their reputation to attract the best students as university reputation is a significant factor affecting the decision of a student. In this context, universities need a systematic management plan to improve their reputation among the stakeholders. This study aims to identify the factors affecting university reputation with the University Reputation Model. This model includes quality of services, emotional appeal, employee competence, academic leadership, student orientation, and social responsibility as possible factors affecting university reputation. . Design/methodology/approach Survey methodology was used in the current study. A total of 1000 questionnaires were collected from the stakeholders: students, alumni, academic and administrative staff. A structural equation modeling technique was used to analyze the data. Findings According to the results, quality of services and emotional appeal affect university reputation directly. Furthermore, employee competence, academic leadership, and student orientation have indirect effects on university reputation with the mediating effect of quality of services. Besides, emotional appeal mediates the effect of student orientation and social responsibility on university reputation. Originality/value A University Reputation Model is developed to explore significant direct and indirect effects of employee competence, academic leadership, student orientation, and social responsibility on the quality of services, emotional appeal, and university reputation. Furthermore, a measurement instrument applicable to various stakeholders of a university is developed. Additionally, large-scale data is collected from the stakeholders in Turkey to increase the validity of the findings.