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Students are happy to be back in person

The annual WUSCA review collection provides IDP and its partners with an in-depth look into how current students feel about the universities they study at and celebrates institutions who champion the student voice across the UK. 

Each year, results can differ and universities that have participated in previous years benefit even more from the ability to compare year-by-year. So, at the halfway point, what have the reviews shown so far? Here are a few noteworthy insights. 

The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the university experience for students all over the world, and the UK was no exception to this. This continued to be the case through to 2021, and many students are still feeling the ripple effects of the pandemic this year.  

Thankfully, due to mass vaccine rollout, things have been returning to normal for students. Many students starting in September 2022 were able to have a more traditional university experience and those who started during the pandemic returned to a very different type of studying. 

The WUSCA reviews have highlighted student’s positive feelings about returning to “normal” in a number of ways.  

As an example, taking a lookat this year (blue bar) so far, we can see that student intent indicates that all ratings are up compared to last year (grey bar). However, the biggest jumps are with “Student Life Rating" and “Location Rating”. 

These are arguably the areas that were disrupted most for students during the pandemic, so seeing themincrease withstudents overall is a fantastic sign for institutions. Students would not have been able to obtain the benefits of their university's location, for example, properly during COVID-19 restrictions. So, seeing areas like this increase alongside the overall student life rating is a great sign. 

Results like this, that can be seen from preliminary results in universities all over the UK, suggest that students are happy to be back in person. 

Increase to work placements and internship rating

One of the other bigger increases, as seen in the figures above, is in the “Work Placements and Internship” rating. This is another, and perhaps the biggest, sign of the positive changes that have happened for students up and down the country in the last couple of years.  

With students in the UK able to pursue work placements or internships that can support their education again, it’s great for participating universities to get a clear idea of how they feel about this aspect of their student life. 

Due to delays caused by the pandemic, this is one of the first times that universities can gauge an idea of what students want in this area. 

One health and medicine student stated how nice it was to have “opportunity to do an NHS or industry placement for a year between 2nd and final year.” 

Highest number of reviews collected from health and medicine students

The WUSCA review process is available to all students across the UK who are studying at a participating university, but certain courses seem to have a higher turnout when it comes to student reviews.  

This year so far, around 1 in 6 university students that completed a review were studying Health and Medicine. To put this into perspective, 1 in 20 were studying Law. Though a total number of student reviews from a vast range of course backgrounds is ideal, and this is expected to balance out as more are collected, this high number of health and medicine student reviews provide valuable insight into the subject. 

As the number of prospective students interested in studying health and medicine in some form rises, we are seeing more news about a struggling NHS and how these courses were some of the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now,more than ever, these students’ voices need to be heard so that their universities can take action to make their education experience as valuable as possible. 

The WUSCA Review Collection plays a vital role in helping to improve the higher education journey for students across the UK. With each university that participates and each student that completes a review form, it can help thousands of students across the country. 

To find out how you can get involved download this playbook or get in touch with Partnerships and Projects Manager Kieran Hill directly at kieran.hill@idp.com.

Jonah Duffin
Jonah Duffin15 December 2022