Many students are feeling that their education is hanging in the balance. This era of predictability has ushered in changes that are affected everyone and students are one group facing confusion, panic and anxiety. Universities are also facing the potential of massive financial loss owing to lack of student admissions, this is likely to have a knock-on effect next year due to the large volumes of deferrals from students deciding to take gap years.
Exams have also been cancelled changing the standard course of A-Level’s final year. Grades will now be calculated from existing work, all current and future work is cancelled for the year and school will likely not resume until September. Many students are now wondering how their results will compare to if they were still taking exams, and whether their grades will be as strong.
All of these factors have collided to make the student landscape pretty rocky. Firstly, though, it’s vital to remember that you are not alone here. There are thousands of students in the same boat as you! Keep calm and do your best to carry on.
How are Uni Offers Changing?
Some universities were found to be sending out lots of unconditional offers to help secure students to prevent financial loss. This has been subsequently temporarily banned by the government who have been keen to allow students more time to reflect and consider options. This has been backed up by a support package for universities and students that is designed to assist with the autumn induction.
This plan includes the following:
- Temporary caps or student places across UK universities. This means uni admissions will be controlled to prevent overcrowding. For students, this may result in fewer places and great competition.
- Additional places will be allocated in nursing and other health-related fields
- Clearing Plus has been revealed to enhance the clearing process and to make it clearer and more transparent for students when going through the clearing process.
In general, the government has stressed that students need time and transparency to assist them in coming to a decision without excess stress of anxiety. Universities which don’t comply face serious fines.
What If I Want to Change My Mind?
Many students are reconsidering their options, either wishing to defer, change tact and study online or change their options. All of these are possible. Students can:
- Add new choices to their UCAS if they didn’t make 5 already
- Use UCAS Extra to change choices, if they’re eligible for the scheme
- Pick a new course through clearing
- Cancel their applications
Many students are wishing to explore online options and it’s possible that universities will switch firm offers over. Always contact your university directly if you want to remain at the same uni but study a different course. So long as entry requirements are the same or similar, they will likely accommodate this.
Can I Go to Uni Later if I Have to Resit Exams?
Many students are already planning what they’d do if they have to resit exams. One option will likely be to resit in the autumn and the aim is for results to be published before Christmas so universities can accept some students for late course entry in January. If you end up in this category, you must liaise with university admissions to see if your place can be made available for late entry.
What Courses Will be Affected by Coronavirus?
Some uni courses are looking more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus than others. Concerns are particular high surrounding courses with significant practical elements, e.g. lab work, events and sports. It’s possible that some courses will move practical elements until later in the year. Uni courses may also start online in autumn if lockdown and social distancing regulations are still in place.
What About Open Days?
Students are further concerned about whether or not they’ll be able to see the universities that they intend to go to. If they missed open days last year then the chances are, it’ll be impossible to see uni until the autumn term as unis will need all the time and prep they need to ready campuses for an influx of students.
To combat this, universities are hosting virtual open days and many will be taking place on the same days that the standard open days would have. There will be video tours of campuses and departments, live Q&As and even chances to speak to fellow students.
What if I’m Studying From Abroad
International students in a predicament resulting from flights cancellation and travel bans. IELTS exams for students wishing to study in the UK from overseas have also largely been cancelled and are taking place online. It is unclear what the state of travel will be by autumn so it’s advised international students keep a close eye on travel restrictions in both their country and the UK.