Academic performance, not lockdown, is at the top of students' worries

Eleana Davidson on 4 November 2020

As another lockdown looms, it’s fair to say that we’re all feeling a little stressed. But for students, it’s even more stark - as we found out in this week’s student tracker. 

Three quarters of students told us that they feel nervous and stressed often, and more than half said they felt unable to control important things in their own lives. 

But the cause of their stress is not related to the Covid-19 restrictions. 

A quarter of students said that worries over academic performance were having a severe negative impact on their mental health, whilst only 16% said that concerns around loneliness and isolation had this effect.

And while we all know academic worries are normal for students, when they are telling us that this is still their top concern, even in the middle of a pandemic, we really need to listen. 

Students are uncertain about many things right now; as lockdown approaches, will they be asked to isolate, stay on campus or return home? Will their learning be online or in person? Will they be able to see their families at Christmas? At the moment, this is all anyone’s guess - but for your students one thing clearly matters: whether they will be able to achieve the grades they have worked hard for. 

For the Class of 2020, this is now ingrained. They’ve already faced huge disruption to their A-Level results, and they are no doubt worried that history will repeat itself in 2021, this time with a high price tag. Transparency around how you will assess grades this year, alongside information and communication around personal tutor support, library facilities and online resources that can help would certainly go some way to reassuring your students that they are heading in the right direction. And don’t forget to signpost those activities that are still taking place, and any support services you offer - students don’t always know where to find them. 

If you would like to have access to the full report which covers more on students’ mental health and their concerns as we head back into lockdown, sign up to the premium subscription here

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 4 November 2020