Over the next few weeks, half a million students will be starting out on their university careers, but during this uncertain time, the experience may look a little different to previous years.
Our team at Carfax Education have rounded up the latest news and guidance to share with students embarking on their 2020 University journey.
Unsure what to pack for University? See our checklist here.
Expect to see more plexiglass throughout your chosen university, as they make changes to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. Safety and wellbeing are currently the top priorities for universities, so they are each taking their own measures to keep their students safe.
These are divided into tiers of measures, that will reflect the government guidelines for offices. In the case of local lockdowns, lectures will be moved online, and those with symptoms will be asked to isolate at university, instead of spreading the virus by travelling back home.
Most campuses will start events off digitally but are hoping to move back to normal as the country gets the virus under control. Many places are also offering voluntary testing programmes and will have discreet methods of reporting those who ignore the new covid rules.
The expectation of big parties and alcohol fuelled events will seemingly be a thing of the past, as freshers’ weeks as universities move towards more socially distanced activities. Expect activities to be mainly based outside or online.
Many have come up with innovative solutions offering opportunities to meet new people in socially distanced environments such as outdoor cinemas, food festivals, walking tours and at some universities, even “speed friending” and socially distanced discos.
Whilst it will look quite different to the traditional first weeks at university, these different activities, promise to make it a memorable and inclusive experience, whilst still offering the opportunity to meet new people, try out new societies and get to know your new city and university.
Expect to see smaller classes and more tutorials, as Covid-19 brings about plenty of changes to how subjects are taught. Bigger lectures are likely to be held online for students to tune in to live and will also be available to re-watch, whilst smaller classes and tutorials will likely be held in person.
However, it is hard to generalise exactly what this will look like, as every university has a different plan. The University of Manchester, for example, is starting off completely online, whilst others such as Imperial College are hoping to blend in person and digital learning. These changes are seemingly going to offer a much more flexible and practical way of learning, with a shift away from knowledge recall, focusing instead on knowledge application.
There are pluses to online learning as it allows for a wider variety of speakers from all over the world, and smaller classes means students may have more of a chance to get to know their professors and have more support in their learning.
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Communal Living & Social Life
Living with people is one of the best ways to make friends in your first few weeks at university, and luckily this won’t be changing too much as most universities are designating flats and halls as their own ‘bubbles’.
Whilst flat parties and clubbing are out of the question for the moment, universities will be hosting other activities that allow people to socialise, whilst remaining socially distant.
Starting university is an exciting, but also daunting experience, and the uncertainty of Covid-19 might exacerbate this for some students. However, universities are very aware of the rise in anxiety throughout this period and will have support systems in place. These will likely be digital, but this can offer a flexibility and anonymity that talking to someone in person doesn’t.
Ask for help if you are struggling, but also find ways to keep busy, and always try to remember the excitement you had when applying and why you chose this particular university.
Decide on what you want out of your year, and whilst this may look a bit different to previous years, this experience is still life enhancing and exciting. Have fun!