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2020 starters - will it even happen for them?

(9 Posts)
PancakePattie Tue 21-Apr-20 15:28:36

DD is due to start Uni in September, grades permitting. But so many festivals and events for planned for much later in the year are now being cancelled (eg London Fashion Week and Octoberfest both announced in the last couple of days) and while September has felt a long way off, it has suddenly made me realise that it's not guaranteed that University courses will be able to start as planned.

Where does this leave our kids?
Do you think they'll be able to start Uni in the autumn?
How will shared accommodation work if social distancing measures are still in place?
What will happen with freshers week and lectures / classes?
Would it be better for them to try and defer til 2021 (or reapply for 2021 in the autumn)?
What if courses can't run due to low numbers?

If you work in a university, are you planning for this? What's the inside info?

DD (and a good proportion of all the 18 year old's in the land) have looked forward to this for so long and while it's no ones fault, it feels so unfair when they've already missed out on everything they had planned for this summer (in DD's case her first independent foreign holiday and three weeks of really great work experience in late June which now look very unlikely to go ahead).

OP’s posts: |
ClerkMaxwell Tue 21-Apr-20 15:53:36

DDs firm (Edinburgh) is saying they are still planning for September 21st start but no mention of freshers week. DD is saying on the chats there might be a "refreshers" instead at the end of the year.

They do mention that they will consider deferrals until 2021 but if you apply now they won't give a decision until June . DD did a course with the OU this year (option for Scottish students still at school). Loved it so if face to face teaching substantially delayed then she'll probably continue with OU for a term or even a year and then apply to transfer into 2nd year. Deadline for OU sign up is early September so should be clearer by then. Only problem is accepting accommodation offer but might see whether there is a get-out if teaching is not face to face.

titchy Tue 21-Apr-20 16:25:33

All (I hope!) universities are making contingency plans (start online then move to face to face, start face to face but lectures via video and seminars in small groups in large rooms, January starting, and probably a few other options as well).

Equally all are hoping desperately that there'll be a normal start.

titchy Tue 21-Apr-20 16:27:23

I will say that any student who hasn't firmed yet doesn't have to make any decisions now till June. And no one should make any rash decision in the current uncertainty - deferring also has its issues. Wait and see what happens is my advice.

Ironoaks Tue 21-Apr-20 16:46:45

DS is really hoping that he will be able to start his course in the autumn. His maths and physics need to be at A/A* standard in order to access the course - he thinks he can maintain this level independently for 6 months, but 18 months would be tough.

He doesn't mind if freshers' events are postponed or cancelled and he wouldn't mind if the lectures are online to start with. His course includes several hours a week of practical work in labs, and he is hoping this would still go ahead.

Oratory1 Tue 21-Apr-20 20:17:58

Same here. DS is so keen to go, if he gets the grades, I think he would be happy to start on line and hopefully add in the face to face teaching and social stuff later.

Deianira Tue 21-Apr-20 22:54:24

Most universities (I work in one, and have colleagues working in others) are planning to start the year as usual - if necessary, with lectures/teaching online for the first part of the year, and students able to come in person and carry on their course once any restrictions preventing that are lifted. So the year absolutely will start as usual, but it may not be in the usual format.

Having said that, some universities are very worried about financial gaps from e.g. lack of overseas students, and the general universities body are concerned that there will be some dramatic changes over the summer if the govt doesn't agree a support package of some kind for them. There is more information here on what they are saying: www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/10/universities-face-a-financial-storm-thats-why-we-need-government-help .

BackforGood Tue 21-Apr-20 22:55:09

Same as IronOaks and Oratory here.

I don't think dd's study skills and knowledge would benefit from 18months without studying.

Universities are being asked to prepare for later starts, for potential on-line starts, and also to hope for a September start.
Quite frankly, I think Freshers' week is not really something that is on our biggest list of concerns.

fromlittleacorns Wed 22-Apr-20 11:01:18

I've blathered on about this on other threads - if universities don't go back in Sept/Oct, that will be approximately ? 1.5mn UK 18-21 yr olds in an economy with higher unemployment than we have been used to for a long time, and very limited travel opportunities. Around two thirds of them already part way through their courses - and some subjects, as other pp have pointed out, are difficult to maintain expertise in for 18 months - maths for instance.

Plus no fees paid to universities who are already in financial difficulties.

So, I think that there will be a very concerted effort to get things started in September, although it's possible that they may start online - though very difficult to do this for lab based courses. One thing one can say is that absence of freshers week would be a positive point for some students (although not others, I realise!) - some students don't really enjoy it, I think and it can be a very stressful start.

The other risk for universities is that new students will decide to defer rather than start an online only course for £9k a year - although again, what will they do instead? Employment prospects limited, gap year travel tricky (though maybe less so by September?)

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