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FRESHER FEARS: Making new friends the hardest part of starting university

  • Nearly 25% of students surveyed were concerned about managing their finances
  • One in ten students will miss their friends and family back home

A new survey reveals the range of challenges facing students in 2018. The survey of 1000 first year university students was conducted by Connectt, the digital business behind popular student community app Campus Society.

The study provides insight into student views on the hardest part of starting university, their future job prospects, and where the pressure in their lives comes from.

The two biggest concerns about starting Uni are making friends (29.3%) and managing finances (23.3%).   The academic workload, the daily routine and generally being homesick are also significant worries for this group of students, and nearly 13% of students are concerned about all aspects of starting uni. Basic chores, such as washing clothes and cleaning, are a concern for less than 5% of students, although 45% more male than female students have this on their mind.

When it comes to future job prospects, the findings are surprising, with over 60% of students either “not worried at all” or only “slightly worried” about their job prospects.  Whilst nearly a third are “somewhat worried”, less than 10% of students are “very or extremely worried”, which indicates the continued positive view on the value of a UK university degree. Other findings this year show that 74% of graduates are in employment within six months of graduating with only 5% unemployed.

Students are taking control of their lives, with an astonishing 74% citing the biggest source of pressure coming from themselves. The pushy parent view, often quoted in mainstream media, doesn’t seem to wash with university students, with only 13.5% feeling parents were the source pressure.  Teachers and social media don’t seem to cause much stress to students, being cited in only 4.6% and 3.6% of cases respectively.

It’s clear starting University remains a cause of anxiety and uncertainty for students, but its forming friendship groups and making their student loans last the term that keep them awake at night, whereas they are very positive about managing the coursework and future employment prospects.

Rashid Ajami, founder of Connectt and Campus Society, said, “Our research uncovers the changing shape of student life and the challenges that they face. The importance of making friends and the pressure students put on themselves are an opportunity for social platforms to use their ability to go beyond likes and swipes, allowing students to collaborate on projects and meet likeminded others to enhance learning beyond the lecture theatre.”