So much has shifted in the last two years and we all understand the importance of checking in with the students themselves to ensure they are getting the education they expected, the information they are after, the support they genuinely need.
That’s why we asked our Student Pulse panel, made up of over 1000 students across the country about how they’re finding online learning, what’s important to them and if postgraduate study is still on their radar. Here’s what we found. The good news is that 80% of students have said that the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t changed their interest in studying postgraduate programs. Meaning there are still a lot of opportunities out there, especially when we consider that 78% of students are thinking of pursuing further study after graduation.
Of these students, 17% are interested in online-only programs, and half are interested in a hybrid learning model. This is great news for the many institutions that have recently launched new online courses or entire virtual schools.
But here’s an insight that paints a stark picture of the student reality of today: over one-fifth of students don’t want to pursue postgraduate study due to mental health reasons. Here’s an enormous group of students that could be interested in your programs, but only if you have the services and facilities to support them. Many of these students may not be aware of all the initiatives and resources you offer and that are available for them. Demonstrating the importance of understanding the barriers that students face when continuing their education so that you can tailor and pivot your messaging and campaigns to speak to those concerns.
What are the other opportunities that are available when looking to fill your online study programs?
A third of students that are interested in studying an online postgraduate degree, say that it is very important to them that they have access to the campus when in the university's region. Many universities already facilitate these visiting rights, but this may not be something you think is worth shouting about. But it is. What’s more, a further 49.3% say it's ‘somewhat important’. It’s definitely worth advertising, and considering how you can embed it into your online course messages.
Much like the mental health concerns, many students who are thinking about pursuing a postgraduate program online have other concerns that you need to tackle head-on.
> 8.6% of students worry about their lack of technology skills
> 21.6% of students worry about their lack of confidence to study online
Both of which, universities can help support and remedy. Through workshops, live Q&As, tutorials and training, you could be opening up entire new groups of students to sign onto your courses.
> 35.2% of students said not knowing anyone else studying online was a concern
> 28.4% of students said the lack of awareness of online programs was a concern
Similarly, these are another two barriers that can be minimized and settled, given the right time, attention and resources. How can you connect those 35+% of students who do not know anyone else studying online? Through your ambassadors, existing postgrad students and alumni, and peer technology such as Unibuddy. Your advocates are your biggest assets here. And naturally, an emphasis on this strategy will help boost awareness in those inner student circles.
Those are just some of the opportunities on offer when it comes to advertising your online postgraduate courses come 2022. And the importance of hearing from students first-hand is undeniable. The Student Pulse is now available to all our Net Natives clients and Akero users where you can interrogate and digest the insights yourself (for free). Get in touch and our team will be able to set you up with a login.