3 key recommendations from the UK Domestic Student Survey

Our annual UK Domestic Student Survey is now live! Here are three key recommendations that your UK institution can use in 2021.

More than 13,800 prospective domestic students across the UK shared their opinions and preferences for the fourth iteration of the QS UK Domestic Student Survey (DSS). 

Since the 2020 report was released, the UK higher education sector has seen widespread changes as a result of the coronavirus crisis. 

This 2021 iteration provides a range of recommendations and insights to inform and support UK higher education institutions as they navigate this complex climate.  

Read on to discover three key recommendations from the 2021 UK DSS. 

Plan for a full return to face-to-face teaching in September 

Higher education institutions across the UK must prepare for a full, or at least partial, return to face-to-face teaching in September with students expecting this delivery model in the next academic year. 

According to our survey analysis, only 15% of those who will begin their studies next academic year expect the majority of their teaching to be online, and most prospective students expect face-to-face teaching to form the dominant mode of delivery for their degrees. 

Additionally, over half of all prospective students see online learning as a limiting factor in their ability to interact with both their professors and their peers, which reinforces the notion that they see the value of their degrees predominantly placed in the face-to-face learning environment. 

While a return to face-to-face teaching is dependent on the UK’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, institutions should consider the above insights and determine how they can manage students’ expectations and deliver elements of face-to-face teaching in a safe manner.  

Invest in mental health support 

The coronavirus crisis has further highlighted the clear need for effective mental health services in higher education institutions.  

When our prospective UK students were asked what they think the most important support services a university should offer to their students are, support for mental wellbeing and mental health counselling were the second and third most desired services, with 51% and 49% selecting these, respectively.  

Interestingly, those selecting either of these options has risen from 72% in 2020 to 80% in 2021, demonstrating that prospective domestic students are placing more value on mental health support.  

Institutions must invest in mental health support in 2021, offering students access to specialist help in the form of mental health advisers or student counselling sessions and promoting the availability of 24-hour helplines (those either set up by the university or by third-party charities). 

Improve the admissions process  

Restrictions to social mobility and the necessary establishment of social distancing has disrupted the usual examination model and the admissions process, exacerbating student anxiety and stress 

According to the UK DSS, over half of prospective students expect to face difficulties when it comes to going through the admissions process for universities this year. 

However, it’s important to note that an overwhelming majority of students support the decision to cancel this year’s exams. 

These finding demonstrate the overall level of concern amongst prospective students and illustrates the need for additional support from UK universities throughout the admissions process. 

To discover more recommendations and insights from the UK Domestic Student Survey, please download your free copy of the report now 

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