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Insights from the industry

COVID-19: A Students Point of View

COVID-19: A Students Point of View

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Daniel Farrell

You’re highly likely to be distracted by the impact COVID-19 could have on your institution, your family and friends whilst at the same time keeping busy and dealing with internal and external communications.  We believe that the best way to carry on collaborating with our clients and the industry overall is by working on bringing you valuable information (research), ideas and support.

One of your major questions may be the sort of content that you should be creating to communicate with current and potential students, and whether this content would still be well received from students, we decided to research both parts of this question

What is the biggest source of stress for students right now?

Our partner Adapt conducted a survey to their users, students currently preparing for their GCSE’s & A Level Exams, to analyse the situation from their point of view and help the universities and colleges we work with plan for different situations and potential solutions. The intention was to see if COVID- 19 and school closures are serious causes of stress for students right now. The insights we got from the sample group were:

  • They are confused about schools closing or not
  • They are worried about their exams: how they are going to prepare for them, if they will be postponed or cancelled.
  • How the potential closure of schools and disruption on their revision would affect their grades
  • What support there’ll be if schools close
  • Having to go to school despite the virus
  • Worried about their families
  • Work experience – Apprenticeships cancelled

Below is a raw summary of some the most common student answers

  • How do I stop obsessively thinking about everyone I love dying due to Covid-19
  • Coffee is sold out. It’s the end of the end. NO COFFEE
  • Not enough A Level resources online that are free
  • Mental health
  • Not knowing how in depth to go when revising!
  • My recent mock grades were much lower than my predicted grades. Not sure what to do
  • Schools closing, I am 2/3 months away from my exams and failing too many classes
  • All the effort and preparation for exams that mightn’t happen
  • Changing timetables if they shut schools and move exams
  • Revision and classes, and keeping on top of it while not in school
  • I need my teacher and I need to be in school, personal study is not enough for me
  • That we might lost time to learn content because of the virus
  • What’s going to happen to our A Levels/GCSEs?
  • Exams are 54ish days away and they might cancel and give us mock/predicted grades, but I’ve worked too hard since my mocks to get my mock grades
  • School closing, not finishing our A Level courses, and not being prepared for exams
  • All of our teachers giving us MORE work and testing in case we go off
  • The amount of support we will not get if school closes
  • Potentially having to repeat the year omg it would be terrible
  • Potential movement of year 12 exams to September 😬😬 so BMAT, Uni prep all together!!
  • How I’d be getting good revision resources if the school did shut
  • Not being able to fit everything in to revise before exams
  • Potentially having to learn from home for a few weeks

Education Marketing Research:

We recently did a research piece with our internal team to better understand the situation out there, the current demand on universities and colleges internationally and in the UK as well as to analyse the performance on the campaigns we still have active and a forecast taking into account the current situation.

So far we have seen that there has not been any major impact on the demand for university programme searches on Google at a general or specific level and in terms of social media & news sites such as BBC we have actually seen a drop in costs due to the increased usage of the platforms. In general, the national and international campaigns we are running have not been affected at this time.

We sent this research to our clients already, but if you want to receive it as well please do not hesitate to ask and we will be glad to send it to you. Please contact us on info@educate-direct.com

Based on the research we did we have some recommendations for educational institutions:

Listen to your students – give them continuity

If you are stopping face to face teaching, this might be difficult for your students as they will have to adapt to a new routine. This is especially true for younger students as they may feel lost

The advice from Ofqual at the moment is to continue to prepare for the exams as normal hence we recommend educational institutions to help students by encouraging them to use tools and platforms to assist them with their revision programmes. Our partner Adapt provides such a service to ease students’ stress and worry: a revision app that structures their revision timetables and does the hard work for them by scheduling their academic activity.

Go digital – Reach students where it matters

In this time of uncertainty, students do not need more uncertainty. It is likely that educational institutions are now facing the issue of cancelling face to face events and needing to redistribute the budget in order not to lose contacts with their prospective students. Going digital is a sensible solution now, in a time where all activities are moving online. This would guarantee a touchpoint with your prospective students without health risks, for reassuring them and giving them the information they need. If you are moving your teaching online, using new virtual learning platforms, hosting a virtual open day, let students know. They are turning to social media and online to look for answers, and you need to be there at the right moment to provide them with the information they need.

Be reassuring

There is a lot of fear and panic connected to the current situation, so as an educational institution you have to make sure you are approaching the situation with a calm and reassuring voice. Students are worrying about their academic future, their health and their families. Reach out to them, be welcoming, informative, and connect with them addressing their concerns. Explain to them which measures you are taking to face the situation; give them all the information they need to reassure them and make them feel safe.

Students still want to study with you

Research published by BOSSA/COSSA showed that whilst the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted plans for Chinese students, 64% of those surveyed will not change their original plan to study abroad. Even if the student recruitment market is now hitting a forced slow down, you need to be prepared to welcome new students. Some tactics such as allowing online admission processes, accommodating application deadlines and course start dates might be appreciated if the situation does not normalise soon enough.

Finally we want to send our best wishes from all at Educate and wish you and all your loved ones well. We are constantly evaluating the situation based on the news released on a daily basis, and we have made the decision to work remotely for the safety and well being of our staff and clients. We are continuously operating to ensure our activities as a business carry on as normal, so there is no disruption of the campaigns and the results our clients have entrusted us to deliver. We also commit our full support to our clients to help them with any useful information on how we can help them navigate this period of difficulty. Get in touch with us for any question you might have

Contact our team today