What students want to know

According to the Sodexo-Times HE University Lifestyle Survey, these are the Top 3 reasons students go to university:

  1. To improve job opportunities (73%)
  2. To improve salary prospects (58%)
  3. To improve knowledge in an area of interest (57%)

And these are the Top 3 things prospective students want to know about a course:

  1. More information about what a course would qualify them to do (47%)
  2. Views of past students of the course (43%)
  3. Number of contact hours with academic staff (42%)

Given this, what if every university prospectus answered these questions based on each degree course:

  • What could I go on to do with my degree?
  • What are my future prospects like after completing this course?
  • How do previous students rate the course? [Include interviews & comments from past students?]
  • What did those previous students go on to do?
  • How much time do students get with tutors and how accessible are they outside formal teaching hours?
  • How many hours are spent per week in formal teaching situations (i.e. lectures/seminars/tutorials)?

Many matters are important when choosing a degree, but these are overwhelmingly big questions according to the survey.  I’d say a good, open and honest prospectus would do well to answer the questions set out above as a priority.

That’s just what Paul Marshall, Executive Director of the 1994 Group of universities, said today:

“Providing transparent and accurate information about universities, and the nature of what they offer, should be a priority in delivering excellent student experience. Students need clear and accessible information to enable them to understand the choices available. Prospective students deserve more than glossy advertising prospectuses to inform crucial decisions about which university to attend and which course to study.”

As a student, would you know how your uni would answer the above questions?  Were you happy with the information given to you before starting, or would you have preferred greater detail for making a suitable decision?

photo by ChiBart

photo by ChiBart

Further resources on the survey:

Access the full University Lifestyle Survey [PDF 2Mb]
Major facts & statistics are mentioned in this Sodexo press release [PDF 66Kb]