Student Experience Blog

Going to university should be an exciting fresh start! A chance to explore a new city. Make new friends. Live a life of freedom! Yet this year, everything is different. But it doesn’t have to be as negative as it seems…

With many universities advising students to self-isolate due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, it has never been more important than now to focus on the student experience.

Encourage them to stay...

If student experience isn’t your priority right now, students might leave. There have been several situations already where students are fleeing from their accommodation and heading home, despite the rules in some locations. Students told the Daily Record that staying in residences felt “like a prison”. One student said: “The rules are so restrictive, why would anyone want to stay?”

Now let’s think about what this actually means… Why are students feeling so negative about staying in student accommodation?

“Staying in prison” could mean several things.

option1.1

They have nothing to do
and are bored

option2

They are missing out on socialising

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They miss “normal life” and freedom

To name but a few reasons. But being in student accommodation should NEVER feel this way. Regardless of being in lockdown or not. Students shouldn’t feel that staying in their accommodation is a chore. University teams must be investing in resources to a) monitor how students are feeling and b) keep them entertained. With the right support and provided entertainment, students will have a much more enjoyable experience.

Keeping them entertained

With students spending more time in their rooms, you must be aware that their time may not always be spent in the best way. For example, Charity Today advised that "the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has warned that the drastic change to student life this year could increase the risk of students experiencing gaming and gambling-related harm at university.”

By offering a range of entertainment and support, you will not only keep your students occupied and prevent them from online addictions, such as gambling, but you’ll also ensure they’re respecting social distancing rules.

 

Let’s discuss some ways you can do this…

1. Keeping in touch

As students will be spending less time in corridors and lecture theatres, the university must be keeping in touch with students online. Not only to ensure they're keeping safe and entertained but more importantly, to check their wellbeing.

An online student hub

An online hub will allow students to easily submit requests, such as a COVID-19 query or more info on a virtual event. By having this central portal, students no longer have to worry about emails going missing or having to be put on hold. This gives them the confidence that should they have any questions or requests, you team will jump on it as soon as possible.

Social Media

Social Media is a fantastic channel to meet the students where they are likely spending most of their time! In 2019, it was reported by Marketing Charts, that 74% of Gen Z adults use Facebook and nearly three-quarters on Instagram. Whether it be a 1:1 conversation, an open discussion, a private community group or a live stream, there are many ways you can utilise social media channels to keep in touch.

2. Virtual events

Virtual events don’t need to be restricted to Fresher’s Week. As students are limited on where they can go after their studies and at the weekends, why not host some online events for them?

There are so many traditional games that can be moved online. Here are 3 that our customers hosted.

Beer pong

The University of East London impressed us by advertising a virtual beer pong using Room Service. They delivered beer pong cups and balls to the students rooms and hosted the event using Microsoft teams.

Inter-flat games

The University of Bath worked with Video Games Society and offered students the chance to play a variety of fun trivia and creative games against other flat mates, all online.

DJ sets

The University of Reading hosted virtual DJ sets from resident DJs. In addition to this they hosted quiz and karaoke nights that were available to access virtually too.

Going the extra mile to provide a different but exciting student experience during these challenging times could prevent students from heading home and even withdrawing. After all, their wellbeing and happiness is priority and it’s YOUR job to support them.