Researchers have said that younger students need much better university preparation. They say this is likely due to an unrealistic expectation they have of university life.

The Finding

Researchers from a “Higher Education Policy Institute” study have said that prospective students have too unrealistic of expectations regarding university, and need much better preparation for it.

The study sampled 2000 prospective students, and found that 66 percent of them think university will have more office hours with teachers than at school, when it’s not true. Sixty percent of them also thought that there will be more “lecture hours” than the “classroom hours” they had in school. They also found that prospective students with mental health issues are unlikely to have disclosed it to their universities.

Finally, the study also found that students with less financially stable backgrounds were more likely to be less prepared for university life- particularly meeting strangers and making friends.

Comments On the Finding

The Hepi director, Nick Hillman suggested that school-to-university preparation should be a bigger focus in society.

“We know lots about what students think but very little about what those applying to higher education expect to happen when they get there.” he said.

“We set out to fix this gap because people who expect a different student experience to the one they get are less satisfied, learn less and say they are getting less good value for money.

“Most applicants expect to spend more time in lectures than they do in school lessons, but few university students actually do this.

“Almost three-quarters of them expect their future university to contact their families if they face mental health issues, but this is a legal minefield so typically does not happen.

“Schools, parents and universities – not to mention policymakers – all need to help school-leavers get real about their expectations.”

Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister, said: “People will have different expectations of a university education, but what is indisputable is the expectation for excellent teaching and a good return on their investment.”

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