As students settle back into the new term, we asked over 200 across the country, from both private and public colleges, from freshman to senior, about what they thought of their living situations, safety on campus, standard of education and much more in the world of Covid 19. Here’s what our Opinion Panel found.
First things first, we asked students about their university’s effort to enforce precautions and measures to keep students safe while on campus. Just 55% said their college had been enforcing safety measures and policies all of the time. 42% said it was only some of the time and 3% responded that their college had not been enforcing the measures at all.
From that we found that 46% of students say they do not feel safe on their university campus.
“Not all students are adhering to the new safety guidelines and I’m scared I’ll catch Covid from them.”
“13.3% of the early freshman class-tested positive, and they’re still not enforcing precautions.”
In turn, those who felt unsafe were asked how their college could make them feel more at ease, and the response was clear: by better enforcing regulations and by keeping classes online.
And they’re used to it by now. Eight in 10 students have not had any face-to-face learning during the pandemic and those who did said it was strange and even uncomfortable. We found that students are open to having their learning delivered fully online if it means they’d feel more comfortable, and remain safe.
But here’s the caveat. They told us online learning is simply not as engaging as face-to-face and is a poor substitute for practical classes such as Labs. Students also worry about the reduction of teacher support if taken online. How can you combat all these worries to ensure it’s worth them sticking around?
“Paying full price tuition for a quarter of the quality of the normal college experience.”
“I find it harder to focus, online lectures are just less interactive.”
So what does this all mean? Students are feeling unsafe, and open to learning online to ease that feeling. But it cannot just be a straight swap of classroom to video lecture, and call it an education. It must be engaging, interactive, collaborative. Because here’s something very alarming: One in 10 students say they are considering dropping out either before or over the Christmas holidays. And this is just the first few weeks of term.
They’re also seeing huge effects on their social lives, an important aspect to the university experience, with seven in 10 saying that the pandemic had negatively impacted their social life. Of these students, 94% said it had negatively impacted them seeing old friends, 89% said it had negatively impacted them making new friends and 57% said it had negatively impacted their love life.
We know that these relationships are crucial elements to the connectedness a student feels to their university, so with a dropout trend predicted for the coming months, these struggles definitely need noting.
“It just feels like colleges are not doing it in the interest of the student but rather the money. They just want us here for when the term starts and then they don’t care if we’re left alone, with no opportunity to meet people, or support one another.”
We’re seeing more and more that students are resilient, adaptable and technologically native, so online classes could be the way forward as the pandemic continues. But ensuring they are still an engaging, collaborative and social space will be the dealbreaker.
Listen to your students, and use these insights to help direct and inform your decisions, the experience you’re providing and the communications you’re sending. To both existing and prospective students, to ensure your enrolment numbers and student welfare don't suffer at the hands of Covid-19, like so much has already. If you want to discuss how insight can help you navigate this new world, get in touch with our experts to discuss your strategy today.