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Looking back, would you have chosen a different uni course? watch

  • View Poll Results: Are you happy with the uni course you chose?
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    Almost one third of university students (32%) might have chosen a different university course, had they known what they know now.

    A fifth of students (21%) thought information provided by universities was vague and one in 10 (9%) thought it was misleading.

    Those are among the findings of a new report published by consumer watchdog Which? and the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi).

    The survey shows that the average student workload is, on average, lower than expected at 30 hours a week.

    And it says that, despite a nine-fold increase in tuition fees since 2006, "our latest research finds no change in the amount of contact time, small group teaching or proportion of teaching delivered by academic staff and no apparent relationship between the fees students are being charged and what they receive."

    Three in 10 first year students say they think their course offers poor value for money.


    What do you reckon? Does/did your uni course give you value for money? Would you have picked a different course, with the benefit of hindsight?

    Full report here (external link)

    Hit the spoiler for the full press release
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Large variations in student workload a cause for concern

    The 2013 Student Academic Experience survey reveals large variations in the total
    workload for students with some working less than half the hours of other students.

    Produced jointly by Which? and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), the 2013
    Student Academic Experience survey, reveals students at some universities study for an
    average of just 20 hours a week in some subjects, whereas others are working for 40
    hours or more. The total student workload averages 30 hours a week - 25% less than
    official guidelines – raising questions over standards and whether students are being
    pushed hard enough.

    The survey also confirms differences revealed in earlier surveys in the amount and type
    of contact time students are receiving. Some students receive as much as double the
    amount of contact hours compared to students studying the same subject at other
    institutions with, for example, contact time for students studying mathematics varying
    between 13 and 22 hours. In many cases those with low contact hours compensate for
    this with more private study – in some they do not.

    Students receiving up to nine contact hours a week are three times more likely to say
    they don’t think their course is value for money (30%), compared to those receiving
    between 15 and 24 hours a week (10%). The majority nevertheless thought that their
    course did represent value for money and were satisfied with the amount of contact
    they received.

    Since the first HEPI Student Academic Experience survey in 2006, contact hours have
    risen by only 20 minutes per week to an average of 14 hours across all institutions.
    Over the same period there has been a nine-fold increase in tuition fees at English
    Institutions. Three in ten (29%) first year students at English universities now say they
    don’t think their course offers value for money.

    Nearly nine in ten (87%) surveyed said their course was good quality, yet over half (58%)
    told us their course had been worse than expected in some respects. A third of students
    (32%) said they might have chosen a different course if they had known more about the
    academic experience, with a fifth of students (21%) saying that information from
    universities was vague and one in ten (9%) that it was misleading.

    Other key findings in the 2013 Student Academic Experience survey include:

    > There has been an increase in the amount of private study students put in – from an
    average of 12 hours 48 minutes in 2006 to 14 hours and eight minutes in 2013;
    > Small group teaching is important to students – two thirds (65%) say they gain a lot
    from learning in groups of up to five students; and
    > Students at Russell Group universities and specialist institutions received more
    contact in small groups; however small group teaching was more likely to be led by
    non-academic staff, whereas at newer, post-92 universities it was more likely to be
    led by academic staff.

    Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
    “With an increasingly competitive higher education sector, and soaring tuition fees, it
    has never been more important for prospective students to get as much information as
    possible to help them make the right choice.

    “There must be an investigation into the huge variations in the academic experience
    that we have revealed, and more transparency to ensure students can get the
    information they need.”

    HEPI’s Director, Bahram Bekhradnia, said:
    “Universities are under increasing pressure to deliver – and be seen to deliver – value for
    money now that students are paying substantially higher fees. However, it is important
    to remember that, although students pay more and might expect to receive more for
    their money, for the most part universities are no better off as increased student fees
    are balanced by a reduced government grant.

    “Our surveys consistently show the large variation between those universities that
    require the most and the least workload in any one subject and raises again the question
    about the comparability of standards between these institutions. It is unlikely that
    students, studying for on average less than half the time studied by other students on
    the same subject, will achieve the same outcomes.”
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    (Original post by shooks)
    Almost one third of university students (32%) might have chosen a different university course, had they known what they know now.

    A fifth of students (21%) thought information provided by universities was vague and one in 10 (9%) thought it was misleading.

    What do you reckon? Does/did your uni course give you value for money? Would you have picked a different course, with the benefit of hindsight?

    “Our surveys consistently show the large variation between those universities that
    require the most and the least workload in any one subject and raises again the question
    about the comparability of standards between these institutions. It is unlikely that
    students, studying for on average less than half the time studied by other students on
    the same subject, will achieve the same outcomes.”
    [/spoiler]
    Isn't this generally a STEM vs none-STEM issue? My friends studying non- STEM courses are usually disappointed with the minimal contact time while it's usually the opposite for STEM subjects where 9-5 days happen usually twice a week.
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    (Original post by shooks)
    Almost one third of university students (32%) might have chosen a different university course, had they known what they know now.

    A fifth of students (21%) thought information provided by universities was vague and one in 10 (9%) thought it was misleading.

    Those are among the findings of a new report published by consumer watchdog Which? and the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi).

    The survey shows that the average student workload is, on average, lower than expected at 30 hours a week.

    And it says that, despite a nine-fold increase in tuition fees since 2006, "our latest research finds no change in the amount of contact time, small group teaching or proportion of teaching delivered by academic staff and no apparent relationship between the fees students are being charged and what they receive."

    Three in 10 first year students say they think their course offers poor value for money.


    What do you reckon? Does/did your uni course give you value for money? Would you have picked a different course, with the benefit of hindsight?

    Full report here (external link)

    Hit the spoiler for the full press release
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Large variations in student workload a cause for concern

    The 2013 Student Academic Experience survey reveals large variations in the total
    workload for students with some working less than half the hours of other students.

    Produced jointly by Which? and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), the 2013
    Student Academic Experience survey, reveals students at some universities study for an
    average of just 20 hours a week in some subjects, whereas others are working for 40
    hours or more. The total student workload averages 30 hours a week - 25% less than
    official guidelines – raising questions over standards and whether students are being
    pushed hard enough.

    The survey also confirms differences revealed in earlier surveys in the amount and type
    of contact time students are receiving. Some students receive as much as double the
    amount of contact hours compared to students studying the same subject at other
    institutions with, for example, contact time for students studying mathematics varying
    between 13 and 22 hours. In many cases those with low contact hours compensate for
    this with more private study – in some they do not.

    Students receiving up to nine contact hours a week are three times more likely to say
    they don’t think their course is value for money (30%), compared to those receiving
    between 15 and 24 hours a week (10%). The majority nevertheless thought that their
    course did represent value for money and were satisfied with the amount of contact
    they received.

    Since the first HEPI Student Academic Experience survey in 2006, contact hours have
    risen by only 20 minutes per week to an average of 14 hours across all institutions.
    Over the same period there has been a nine-fold increase in tuition fees at English
    Institutions. Three in ten (29%) first year students at English universities now say they
    don’t think their course offers value for money.

    Nearly nine in ten (87%) surveyed said their course was good quality, yet over half (58%)
    told us their course had been worse than expected in some respects. A third of students
    (32%) said they might have chosen a different course if they had known more about the
    academic experience, with a fifth of students (21%) saying that information from
    universities was vague and one in ten (9%) that it was misleading.

    Other key findings in the 2013 Student Academic Experience survey include:

    > There has been an increase in the amount of private study students put in – from an
    average of 12 hours 48 minutes in 2006 to 14 hours and eight minutes in 2013;
    > Small group teaching is important to students – two thirds (65%) say they gain a lot
    from learning in groups of up to five students; and
    > Students at Russell Group universities and specialist institutions received more
    contact in small groups; however small group teaching was more likely to be led by
    non-academic staff, whereas at newer, post-92 universities it was more likely to be
    led by academic staff.

    Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:
    “With an increasingly competitive higher education sector, and soaring tuition fees, it
    has never been more important for prospective students to get as much information as
    possible to help them make the right choice.

    “There must be an investigation into the huge variations in the academic experience
    that we have revealed, and more transparency to ensure students can get the
    information they need.”

    HEPI’s Director, Bahram Bekhradnia, said:
    “Universities are under increasing pressure to deliver – and be seen to deliver – value for
    money now that students are paying substantially higher fees. However, it is important
    to remember that, although students pay more and might expect to receive more for
    their money, for the most part universities are no better off as increased student fees
    are balanced by a reduced government grant.

    “Our surveys consistently show the large variation between those universities that
    require the most and the least workload in any one subject and raises again the question
    about the comparability of standards between these institutions. It is unlikely that
    students, studying for on average less than half the time studied by other students on
    the same subject, will achieve the same outcomes.”
    In my first year, I'd have said poor value. In my final year, is say it was decent value. Now, it was great value.

    I wouldn't have done anything else.


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    (Original post by Freiheit)
    Isn't this generally a STEM vs none-STEM issue? My friends studying non- STEM courses are usually disappointed with the minimal contact time while it's usually the opposite for STEM subjects where 9-5 days happen usually twice a week.
    I suspect this is true to some degree but I suspect that it also due to changes in school education. Pupils in this generation have come to expect a greater degree of spoon feeding than their parents did. Therefore the absence of structure in a traditional university arts course has come as a greater shock to students than was the case in the past.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    I suspect this is true to some degree but I suspect that it also due to changes in school education. Pupils in this generation have come to expect a greater degree of spoon feeding than their parents did. Therefore the absence of structure in a traditional university arts course has come as a greater shock to students than was the case in the past.
    I agree completely and that also applies to the sciences. There's a lot of information available concerning (% with good honours, league tables) but it's rarely highlighted how much independent studying is required and how difficult degrees courses can be. I would say about 70% of the thing's I've learnt in my course were self-taught as I don't find the teaching method of lectures useful although I attend regularly. The shock is probably greater than before as you mentioned.
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    I'm happy with my course (politics), but with 20/20 hindsight I would seriously consider doing Law LLB with politics.

    It's not because the uni didn't give me enough info, or because I don't like the course I am currently on, it's just that I have more life experience than I did 4 years ago when I applied, and a better idea of what I might like to do career wise. It's not an insurmountable problem though - it can be rectified with a year of postgrad study.

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    I studied Civil Engineering this year. I'm changing to Tourism Management.

    A lecture with 150 other students is never going to teach me much. Anything I learnt was self taught or through the use of YouTube tutorials, which were a lot better than my lecturers. I have no doubt they have the knowledge but they completely lack personality.

    On top of all that I don't think the course was for me anyway so it is my fault I didn't enjoy it. I knew i shouldn't of done something just for the career prospects. I'm feeling good about my change of course and I've had the opportunity now to meet my tutor face to face and get a lot more information on the course. I'll be in a smaller group when being taught (30-40) which is a lot better I think, at least for me.

    Is uni worth £9k a year. HELL NO! I have no idea why they need that much money. Unless all the lecturers are getting £300k+ salaries. Which they don't deserve for talking people through slideshows that could be read by anyone.

    In fact I'd go as far as saying the lectures I had this year, every single one of them, were a waste of my time. Saying that I stopped going to them shortly after christmas anyway..
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    (Original post by pizzle223)
    I studied Civil Engineering this year. I'm changing to Tourism Management.

    A lecture with 150 other students is never going to teach me much. Anything I learnt was self taught or through the use of YouTube tutorials, which were a lot better than my lecturers. I have no doubt they have the knowledge but they completely lack personality.

    On top of all that I don't think the course was for me anyway so it is my fault I didn't enjoy it. I knew i shouldn't of done something just for the career prospects. I'm feeling good about my change of course and I've had the opportunity now to meet my tutor face to face and get a lot more information on the course. I'll be in a smaller group when being taught (30-40) which is a lot better I think, at least for me.

    Is uni worth £9k a year. HELL NO! I have no idea why they need that much money. Unless all the lecturers are getting £300k+ salaries. Which they don't deserve for talking people through slideshows that could be read by anyone.

    In fact I'd go as far as saying the lectures I had this year, every single one of them, were a waste of my time. Saying that I stopped going to them shortly after christmas anyway..
    Which university did you study civil engineering?
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    (Original post by eggfriedrice)
    Which university did you study civil engineering?
    Plymouth
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    (Original post by pizzle223)
    Which they don't deserve for talking people through slideshows that could be read by anyone.
    Presumably, their main role is (and hence, most of their salary would go into) research, with teaching being a trade-off.

    Also:
    Despite a nine-fold increase in tuition fees since 2006, "our latest research finds no change in the amount of contact time, small group teaching or proportion of teaching delivered by academic staff and no apparent relationship between the fees students are being charged and what they receive."
    The universities aren't getting any more funding then they used to, so I can't see why anyone would've expected any greater amount of contact time or better teaching.

    Anyway, I'll be starting university this September, so although I can't really contribute I'm finding this thread quite interesting!
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    I wouldn't have chosen a different course, however the structure of this final year has changed dramatically compared to what was advertised when I started the degree. Although realistically it has lessened the workload, though put more emphasis on the dissertation, so whether that's a positive or negative is debatable, I don't think its been for the better and has annoyed a lot of people.
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    I would've chosen computer science instead of software engineering if I got the chance to choose again, but only because I think I would've enjoyed that course a bit more and scored a bit better and got the same job prospects. As for the money, I think university is a poor investment if you want to learn - or at least it was for me. It was still a good investment overall, but that's because it got me a job I'm happy with and gave me good life experiences. As far as teaching the subject went, they didn't teach much material but told you what material to teach yourself. From my standpoint I was paying for a very expensive set of hoops to jump through for them to give me a rubber stamp of approval.
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    (Original post by Vian)
    Presumably, their main role is (and hence, most of their salary would go into) research, with teaching being a trade-off.
    Well if that is their main role then that's bull****. Especially since the research they has never amounted to anything.
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    I'm happy with my course (politics), but with 20/20 hindsight I would seriously consider doing Law LLB with politics.

    It's not because the uni didn't give me enough info, or because I don't like the course I am currently on, it's just that I have more life experience than I did 4 years ago when I applied, and a better idea of what I might like to do career wise. It's not an insurmountable problem though - it can be rectified with a year of postgrad study.

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    This is exactly what I did.


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    I did actually switch courses half way through this year, but given that all first years share a common year it wasn't exactly much of a change. So I definitely wouldn't switch from what I was on now, but it was a bit daft to have not seen this course when I was applying! No matter...

    As for value for money, four year course, £9k a year. Whilst it's good, we get a lot of contact time - seeing tutors four-five days a week, often for an hour or so - and the studios are pretty good and the...reputation I guess of the degree is pretty decent, I'm not sure it's really worth what I'll be paying back. Lovely and helpful as the tutors are and whatever is, it's a lot for what is basically sitting in a studio 9-5 every day doing odds and ends and occasionally having a lecture. Not that I mind that much It's great fun at any rate.
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    My contact time basically amounted to one field trip and tutorials bi-weekly (sometimes there wasn't one at all, so I think there were at most 8 tutorials in the whole academic year), a few practicals, exams, coursework and about 6 lectures a week (none after Easter).

    Probably worth it for 3k. For 9k? Nope.
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    Wow. This year is my third year of four, and I've been in 9-5 Monday-Wednesday (one hour lecture, the rest in the lab) and at least four hours the other two days, with loads of assignments and stuff to stick around and work on. I'm amazed by the level of some of the academic staff we're taught by, generally the teaching is really good and the staff are happy to help with anything, even though for most of them their main job is definitely research.

    I love my degree, I honestly do.

    However. I've completely changed as a person since I started it, and now I want to be a speech therapist. So I'm going to take this degree to honours and finish it and hopefully do well, and then start all over again, hopefully, doing Speech & Language Therapy. I do love it, I wouldn't want to leave without finishing, it's just not what I would choose if I started now.
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    I wouldn't change a thing; I love my uni, my course and it's excellent value considering the course is £7k a year, I pay £3k a year and the amount of contact hours we have are brilliant, I can never quite believe it when some people only have 9 contact hours a week, what do they do with the rest of their time? :eek:
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    I'm happy with my course but if I could talk to my 17 year old self I'd tell her to do something different - does that make sense? I currently do Politics with Economics at Bath, and the Economics department are so awful and this year's economics has been like banging my head against a brick wall...

    When I started sixth form I thought I wanted to do English at uni but I had such an awful teacher for it in y12 that it made me hate the subject. In hindsight, I'd have maybe dropped Spanish instead of English and gone to Scotland and done English and Politics, because you can take a third (I'd have done Econ) in the first year and then drop after that.... Meaning that I could have tried both English and Econ at university level.

    I've promised myself that if I don't get into second year (I should do, it has just been Econ which I might not pass and that's the only unit I *have* to pass) I will take a year out, hopefully with a job, and apply to an English and Politics joint honours degree somewhere, and do an English OU course during the year out to prove I'm up to it. If I DO get into second year, then I'm going to work my socks off to try and get my placement year in publishing or magazine journalism or something I really want to do, then after I graduate I'll take OU English courses until I can get a job. This summer I'm going to try and find a first year English lit reading list and read some stuff off there. I love books.
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    I don't pay the 9k fees, but still feel as though I don't really get good value for money as contact hours are so low, you still have to fight for books and computers in the library etc. At a uni like mine I didn't think these would be issues as it has such a great reputation.

    I have enjoyed my degree subject so far and feel that it has opened my eyes to the world a lot, plus I like all the extra curricular stuff that comes with uni life. However I would choose a different subject if I could choose again just for the sake of career prospects, as I'm not planning to work in anything related to it at all.

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my HTC Desire S
 
 
 
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