Survey Reveals Key Considerations for Prospective DCU Students

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A survey of prospective first year DCU Students carried out by Dublin City University has found that over 40% are concerned about adapting to their new online learning environment while three out of ten are worried about making friends when they start college in September.

Incoming first year students will now be taking up places in higher education institutions that have had to adapt rapidly and change their models of teaching, learning and student experience in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has radically altered our daily lives.

Key Considerations for Prospective DCU Students

Commenting on the survey findings, DCU Director of Student Support and Development, Dr Claire Bohan, said the findings really emphasise the desire of students to have a sense of human connection and learning support, as they adapt to a new environment, and one which will be very different owing to Covid-19.

“We are very conscious that incoming first year students have been through a very difficult and challenging time already. All students, but particularly first year students, can trust that all of this has been taken into consideration and serious thought and effort has been put into trying to optimise the college experience and that sense of connection, as much as possible under the current restrictions.

“There will be a mix of online learning and on-campus teaching and learning. It is important to know that the DCU campus is open and looking forward to welcoming all students and, in particular, the first years in September. We have been developing a full-suite of extra-curricular activities, with our 140 clubs and societies, which are student-led, and they have been responding quickly to adapt to our new and changed circumstances. Other elements include an interactive online programme to help first year students develop their presentation, teamwork and organisational skills and the delivery of student supports online.

Incoming first years can rest assured that they will be supported in every way, as they begin their college life.”

Virtual Open Day

Conducted in advance of the university’s upcoming CAO Virtual Open Day (June 17-19), the survey includes the responses of almost 1,500 students in respect of their plans to take up a college place and key considerations about going to college. *Interestingly, 97.8% indicated they would take up a place, if they were offered one through the CAO (Central Applications Office) despite speculation that many first year students would defer their places, owing to the impact of Covid-19 on higher education institutions.

In light of the specific needs of incoming first years, DCU will provide a phased programme of orientation on campus with a specific focus on supports for online learning, commencing on September 21st. Overall, the university plans a hybrid delivery of teaching, with lectures primarily online and students attending campus for face-to-face laboratory classes, practical sessions, and small group interactions, where possible when the teaching term begins on October 5th.

The survey findings also showed that securing accommodation was a concern for over one quarter of respondents. Conscious of the challenges students are facing, DCU has already announced that it will roll-out a new, flexible operational model for on-campus accommodation to reflect the changed circumstances for students.

A New System

The new system will enable students, who have been allocated on-campus accommodation through the standard lottery application process, to indicate if they need accommodation for the full semester or for specific dates (on a nightly or weekly basis, for example).

In addition, any student, who has not been successful in the lottery to allocate on-campus accommodation, can also book short-term stays through DCU Campus Residences, subject to availability over the course of the coming year.

This week’s upcoming CAO Virtual Open Day is the first time that DCU has delivered all aspects of the event solely online and this is being done in response to Covid-19.

Prospective students can select from a range of nteractive multimedia events to inform them about DCU, which is ranked 19th globally for graduate employment rate and is among the top young universities worldwide.There will also be a series of information sessions for parents and guardians as well as access to pre-recorded course video presentations explaining what each DCU undergraduate course is about.
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