Your Voice, Your Future – Wave 3 Results

What Prospective and Current Students are Thinking in the Coronavirus Crisis
This is the third survey (wave) in the “Your Voice, Your Future” series by CRi and the SchoolFinder Group.

This series is meant to provide some insight into what current and incoming post-secondary students are thinking in this pandemic. In the first wave, between April 27 and May 3, 2020, we had over 4,000 Canadian and international students complete the survey. In the second wave, between May 15 and 23, over 6,000 students completed the survey.
In this third wave, between May 30 and June 8, over 6,600 students completed the survey.

Current Students

2,713 responses (margin of error 2%)

First the good news:

The reality and necessity of online courses for Fall 2020 seems to have settled in

» The proportion of current students who say they won’t return if all courses are online is holding steady at 14%, where it was in Wave 2 down significantly from 23% in Wave 1.

» In parallel, now only 13% of students are certain that in-person classes will start in Fall 2020, compared to 19% just two weeks before in Wave 2 and 35% in Wave 1.

Kudos to professors and TAs

» In Wave 2, 85% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their instructors are trying to do their best, closely matching the 83% in Wave 1. There are no Wave 3 results since school closed 3 months ago. 

And now the bad news:

Students struggle with online classes 

» After two waves in a row at 59%, the percentage of respondents who say they get easily distracted and are not able to focus their attention in online classes has fallen to 46% in Wave 3. Students are acclimating but still need supports.

» 19% of respondents think a gap year makes a lot of sense (up slightly from 18% in Wave 2 and still high in comparison to 12% in Wave 1). It might take some persuading to draw them to online learning.

» The percentage of respondents who say that even with government grants, they will need a job to have enough money to go to school in the fall remains high at 72% (effectively unchanged from Waves 1 and 2 at 73%).

» Only 9% agree that tuition fees should be the same for online and face-to-face courses, with 9% neutral. An overwhelming 81% disagree (similar to Wave 2).

On the communications front

» Overall satisfaction with communications has fallen to 52% (down from 58% in Wave 2 and 63% in Wave 1).

» The percentage of students who report that the communications they receive answer the important questions they have has fallen to 50% (down from 55% in Wave 2).

Prospective Students

3,978 responses (margin of error 2%)

Good news:

Broadly, prospects are on a similar page to current students

» Now 14% of prospects say they won’t attend if all their courses are online compared to 15% in Wave 2.

» With Wave 3, 24% of respondents are certain that in-person classes will start in fall 2020 compared to 19% of prospects in Wave 2. In part, this can be attributed to a larger number of respondents from Québec; shortly before the survey launched, the Québec government announced that in-person classes would start in fall 2020.

On the bad news side:

Not every prospective student is on board

» The proportion of prospects who say a gap year makes sense has decreased slightly from 19% to 17% (still up from 11% in Wave 1). Those who disagree that a gap year makes sense has shifted again slightly to 63% (where it was 61% in Wave 2 and 72% in Wave 1).

» In Wave 3, 25% of prospects aren’t fully committed to attending school in Fall 2020 compared to 28% of prospects in Waves 1 and 2. However, the proportion of prospects who say they will stick with their top choice school has remained steady at 82% in Wave 3 compared to 83% in Wave 2.

» About 10% of prospects say they would accept their offer and then ask for a 1-year deferral.

» 71% of prospective students in Wave 3 say they need a summer job which is lower than Wave 2 at 77%.

» Of the prospects who say they won’t attend school if all classes are online, 77% say they would get a job and earn some money. When asked what they would do if they couldn’t find a job, 44% say they would instead attend school.

» Confidence in the ability to make progress towards educational goals has risen slightly to 71% in Wave 3 (from 69% in Wave 2).

» The percentage of prospects who say tuition should not be the same for online delivery is down slightly to 81% compared to 85% in Wave 2.

On the communications front

» Overall satisfaction with communications continues to be poor at 58%, with the biggest drop coming for communications being clear and easy to understand.

» Email remains the best way to reach out according to 87% of prospective students.

Planning for Fall 2020

Here are some preferences and trends to consider for Fall 2020.

If all classes are online this fall, what kinds of extra support do you think you might need?

Retention and reasons for concern

» If you are interested in these insights, please let us know.

Next Steps

Benchmark your own student body against the national average:

Contact Kirk or Chris for further information:

Kirk Kelly

Chris Wilkins
SchoolFinder Group

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