Uni return: Half of students concerned about impact of pandemic tuition on job prospects

Monday, May 17, 2021

As thousands of students around the UK expect to graduate after a year unlike any other, research conducted by online library Perlego reveals growing concerns over the quality of pandemic teaching, and the impact this will have on grades and future prospects.

Half of the 1,549 students surveyed (50%) worry that lockdown uni tuition – much of which took place online at the height of the pandemic –  has negatively affected their job prospects. One in four believe that they need to upskill themselves beyond the average £9,250 a year uni tuition, just to boost their job prospects.

“University teaching during COVID hasn’t been worth the money”

With many students paying over £9,000 a year for online classes, over half (57%) of those surveyed by Perlego feel they aren’t getting value for money from their virtual studies, and a further 39% claim that they are not getting the same level of support from university staff as they did before the pandemic.

One in five students (22%) believe that university has failed to equip them with the skills they need to enter the job market as a result, and a third (32%) of third year students are considering an additional year of studies  – such as a masters, diploma or year abroad – to bridge the skills gap.

However, two thirds (64%) of those questioned in the study say they are still planning to enter the job market immediately after graduating.

Hannah John, a third year student said: “I understand there was no other option but to go remote, but the level of resources available to complete my dissertation was appalling. The uni tried to move online, but I was forced to search elsewhere for remote resources. Studying social studies, I needed books on a range of topics, so just searching online aimlessly took up so much time and made learning a lot harder.”

Sitting exams virtually made cheating a viable option for students

As universities moved to online learning, two thirds (67%) of third year students surveyed believe that their university provided all the technology that they needed to complete their studies.

However, with growing concerns around the credibility of online uni assessments, as well as resource access while studying online, one in ten (11%) students admit to cheating on their virtual exams.

Gauthier Van Malderen, CEO and co-founder of Perlego, the world’s largest online textbook library said: “The last year has challenged university students and staff unlike ever before. The move to online-only education has highlighted just how unprepared we were for remote learning. With libraries closed and limited facetime with tutors, students struggled to access the resources they need and now face concerns about how this will impact their grades and job prospects. Despite a solid vaccine roll-out, university life has changed for the foreseeable future, meaning it’s imperative universities take the learnings from the last year and implement them to ensure the future of a new cohort of learners come September.”