What are students saying? An opinion poll on how students feel about COVID-19

Eleana Davidson on 16 March 2020
What are students saying? An opinion poll on how students feel about COVID-19

The question of ‘do universities and colleges close down’ has been on everyone’s mind, with COVID-19 causing disruption everywhere. While the answer to that question is best left to the scientists and politicians, here at Student Hut we thought it was about time to hear what students want and need at this worrying time. 

We’ve asked just over 500 students to share what they’re thinking in a flash survey of our Opinion Panel, open for just 48 hours. They’ve revealed what they’re most concerned about, what’s impacting their decisions and what’s really stopping them in their tracks. The answers give all student specialist marketers something to think about. 

And you can read the full report here.

Students are more concerned about missing out on their education than they are about their own health.

Over half of students are concerned about the impact that COVID-19 will have on their health, however, they’re more concerned about the impact and disruption this pandemic will have on their education. Instinctively, an individual’s own health and wellbeing should fall top of their priority list, however, due to the uncertainty of summer exams and university September entries, students are ranking this anxiety even higher. 

With that being said, the number one concern is about their family and friends' health, with 85.6% saying it was their greatest worry. 

34% of students said they would rather go to a university with more online/distance learning when choosing where to go in September 2020.

A third of students indicated that they want their university or college to offer online alternatives in place of in-person classes by September 2020. In a significant shift, our survey found that 44% of prospective 2020 undergraduate students are considering an online course provider instead of a traditional course with in-person delivery. The opportunity in crisis for online providers, or traditional institutions that can be agile and adapt their delivery, is huge. 

Half of students also stated that the approach a university takes to their admissions criteria in September 2020 will too impact their decision.

“I worry that I won't be able to sit my exams and then get the A-Levels I need to go to university.”
“Well if my college gets closed now, the stuff we've all be working on for weeks will be for nothing and that would be a real shame, it will probably affect our grade but I’m unsure of my college's approach to something like this.” 

68% said closing universities all together would have a negative effect, so it can be said that a vast majority of students are hoping for an online transition, as opposed to a blanket lockdown, in order to minimise the disruption.

"This is my final term of my degree, so every day counts. As important as it is to protect everyone from the virus, I also don't want to let all of my three years of hard work go to waste, months before I am due to graduate."

70% of students still plan on going to friend gatherings despite coronavirus scares. Over half still plan on going on holiday and 48% plan to still go to the festivals they have planned. 

So whilst confidence in ‘business as usual’ is understandably low, if your consumers are students, then perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in that they still plan to spend, party, gig and holiday if allowed. 

Situations are constantly changing and opinions are continuously evolving so stay up to date with our newsletter and if you’d like to get in touch with our experts to see how the Student Hut Opinion Panel can help you understand what students are thinking, get in touch.

And you can download the full report below.


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Eleana Davidson
Eleana Davidson on 16 March 2020