COVID-19: Your Questions Answered

Your questions answered

If you have made an application to continue your study at degree level, or if you are still considering doing so, the Covid-19 situation will have raised a few more questions for you. We have addressed these concerns below and signposted where appropriate.

Accommodation

If you are thinking of moving away to continue your studies, there are lots of options of where to live.  If you have already received emails or letters from your chosen university/college regarding accommodation, please refer back to the information that they have sent you. It is also likely that they have an Accommodation Office who can answer your specific questions, such as when you will be allowed to move in and what their plans are for next academic year.

For Government guidance on a range of issues, visit: commonslibrary.parliament.uk/social-policy/health/diseases/coronavirus-student-accommodation  where you will find information on university-owned and privately-rented accommodation.  It covers subjects such as rent, tenancy agreements, what you are entitled to and how the Covid-19 is currently affecting students.

Teaching and Studying

Higher Education 2020/21: When and Where?

A key question at the moment is whether courses will be delivered in person, online, or a mixture of the two through blended learning. There is also a possibility that the start of term may be delayed.

Each institution will be making its own decisions on this and some have already stated what their delivery format and term dates will be. All universities are required to confirm their position by August:

For specific details, contact the university or college for more information.

Preparing for Study

Having been out of school or college for several months, you may be worried about getting back into study.  The Student Room has tips on how to get ready for degree level study and how to maintain effective study skills:

Going to Uni/Admissions (including A-level results changes)

Useful Links

For some general advice on whether you should go to university this year, visit the BBC webpage:

bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52753913

And for UCAS deadlines visit

ucas.com/ucas/events/find/scheme/undergraduate/type/key-date

Is it too late to apply for this year?

No. Whatever your reason for starting to think about doing a degree now, it’s not too late to apply.  Visit the UCAS website for details:

ucas.com/events/2020-entry-clearing-opens-348886

Try to attend some Open Days as well, lots of institutions have virtual tours even if you can’t visit them on campus at the moment:

thestudentroom.co.uk/news/coronavirus-education-help-and-advice/how-to-use-virtual-open-days-to-choose-your-university

Grades and Offers

You may have questions about your calculated grades or any revised grades, re-sits, what happens if you don’t quite meet your conditional offer etc.  For information on this, and reassurance on anything that you are worried about being unfair, please visit the UCAS Coronavirus page:

ucas.com/connect/videos/coronavirus/calculated-grades

If you are holding a place that you no longer want, or wish to be re-considered for your initial choices, speak directly to the institutions concerned. They are dealing with enquiries on a case-by-case basis and will be able to discuss your options with you.

Taking a year out

You may be considering deferring going to uni for a year.  To help you weigh up the pro’s and con’s, visit:

thestudentroom.co.uk/news/coronavirus-education-help-and-advice/should-you-take-a-university-place-in-2020-or-defer

For ideas on what to do in a gap year in the current situation, visit:

topuniversities.com/student-info/gap-years/coronavirus-how-take-gap-year

And if you do decide to defer, visit the UCAS website for more information on how organise this:

ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/when-apply/deferred-entry

Clearing

Clearing runs from 6th July to 20th October this year:

ucas.com/events/2020-entry-clearing-opens-348886

It will follow the same processes as usual, for more detail visit:

ucas.com/connect/blogs/clearing-what-you-need-know

However, there may be some changes e.g. how you chat to tutors or visit a campus.  Please contact the university or college direct to discuss what they have to offer – please see our Clearing Guide for phone numbers.  link

If you are feeling anxious or worried about Clearing, visit:

cwmt.org.uk/clearing for some advice on looking after your well-being at this time.

Studying nearer home

If you’ve decided that you’d rather study at an institution closer to home, do some research and find out what’s on offer link to NSSW course guide. Then contact the institution to find out if they have places and if they would be interested in making you an offer.  Visit the UCAS website to find out how to apply, this will depend on your current application status with them:

ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply/making-changes-your-ucas-undergraduate-application

Fees & Funding

Prospective students have been asking whether fees will be reduced if tuition is online. They will most likely be maintained at current levels:

thestudentroom.co.uk/news/university-students-will-have-to-pay-full-tuition-fees-even-if-classes-are-still-online-next

If you have questions concerning a change in your or your family’s financial situation, for example your parents have been furloughed, or you are experiencing difficulties in making a loan application, please refer to the government’s student finance coronavirus webpages:

gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-prospective-students

Uni Life

Safety

You may be concerned about safety aspects of going to university at the moment.  The Office for Students has published information for prospective students:

officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/coronavirus-briefing-note-information-advice-and-guidance-for-prospective-students

gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers

Making friends

It is likely that the start of term might be a bit different this year, but universities and colleges have a duty of care and will still be keen to make sure that you get off to a good start. There will no doubt be some innovative ideas for the traditional Freshers’ Week and different ways to meet like-minded people. Your chosen university or college will keep you up to date on what’s on.

Medical

University medical centres and surgeries nationwide will follow government guidelines:

nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/gps/gp-appointments-and-bookings

If you move away from home, you will be encouraged to sign up with a local GP so that you can make sure that you receive the right medical attention.  Your university or college will give you advice and support with this.

Advice on wearing face masks will also government health guidelines.

It’s completely normal to fee some stress when you start anything new, including going to university. For tips on recognising stress and managing it, visit the NHS Student Stress self-help webpage:

nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/student-stress

Other facilities

You may have questions about the re-opening of libraries, sports centres, laboratories and other facilities on campus.  This will depend on government guidance and any specific considerations for the institution:

gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses

This also gives guidance on transport for students and social distancing on campus.

Please note:

In accordance with recent government guidelines, Next Steps South West have taken the decision to either cancel or postpone all physical events until further notice. Whilst we are disappointed to have to take this action, the health and welfare of students and staff is our top priority.

In the meantime, we are continuing to provide information and support to students, parents and teachers via the Resource areas of our website and social media channels.

The Next Steps South West team are currently working from home and fully operational, so feel free to get in touch.

We hope everyone stays safe and well during this challenging period.

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