You were there for students when they needed it, but don’t let go of their hands now

Eleana Davidson on 26 August 2020

This won’t be news to anyone, but an overwhelming majority of students told us that they felt the government handled the exam results situation badly. But while the chaos and disruption kept on coming, the true saviours of the day (in the eyes of the students) were you, the universities. Here’s what we found in report five of the Student Opinion Tracker. 

When students were asked about universities’ handling of Results Day following the government U-turn, 70% of students rated their interactions with university staff in a positive light. The students commented on the staff’s friendliness and the speed of their response.

“Responses were always extremely prompt and very helpful”

“Quick response and good support, clearly overrun with people contacting them due to Covid.”

So despite the huge curveball, the sector rallied together to get students the answers and the support they needed. But while this positivity is felt towards universities, that’s not to say the work has been done. 

Students may be happy with your response, but they are nervous, apprehensive and anxious about the paths they’ve taken.

81% of students asked felt a negative emotion towards starting or returning to university in September, suggesting that many students are still concerned about the realities of attending university next month.

While students may be coming through your doors as early as next week, keeping them from dropping out could be the next worry you have to contend with. While apprehension is always expected for a new student, as a result of mismanaged results and Covid-19 disruption, could students get to their new digs with regret, or even want to leave? 

We asked our panel how lifting the enrolment cap may affect them as well. Six in 10 students said they feel they will receive less access to services this academic year.

What’s more, one in two students feel they will have less access to staff this academic year. 

When asked what universities should do, students cited providing increased support as a favoured solution. 

Reassure returning students that they will be supported in any way possible.“

“They’ll have to provide more support”

Your empathic efforts did not go unnoticed during the days of the results chaos, but now you must continue with that approach. Students need reassuring that they have made the right decision, so reinforce their confidence in the direction they’ve chosen. Once they are through your doors, use the data you’ve collected over the summer to nurture and support your returning and new students, with information around mental health, finances and careers. 

Don’t let them feel like they’re the forgotten class. If you would like to take a look at the full report to find out more about what students have been telling us, and get first access to the findings every fortnight, you can upgrade here.

Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 26 August 2020