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89% of uni admissions officers believe freshers can't think for themselves


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89% of university admissions officers think that freshers lack the ability to think and learn for themselves, according to a survey.

ACS International Schools and the International Baccalaureate Schools and College Association’s (IBSCA) twelfth annual survey of admissions officers from 80 different universities, ranging from Russell Group to Post ’92 Institutions, provides a grim outlook on the level of preparedness of undergraduates starting university this autumn.

The vast majority of university admissions officers believe that incoming students will struggle due to their inability to think and learn independently or manage their own time and workloads, as 89% and 88% of those surveyed, respectively, think those factors will have an impact on students’ successful transitions.

Furthermore, 74% of university admission officers feel that the prospective students have poor social skills or are unable to engage with others, and 72% think that they lack important common sense life skills.

“Students just don’t get enough experience of how to work independently at schools,” an admissions officer at northern university said.

“Also, some students really throw themselves into university life, but some find it hard to get on with a new group of people, and can even feel quite isolated and homesick.”

In addition to 70% of officers believing that students don’t appreciate what their courses will involve, 52% cite an inability to carry out extended writing and the same number responded that the students are unable to remember facts due to a “Google-it” mentality brought on by the ease of search engines in research.

“We have carried out an analysis into changing behaviour among students, and there is definitely a decrease in their attention span and ability to retain information,” an admissions officer at Welsh university said.

“Think this is definitely due to the digital environment and social media, and is the cause of many of the things mentioned.”

However, it is not just students whose abilities have fallen by the wayside due to this internet search culture.

“I think we are all guilty of a ‘Google-it’ mentality these days!” an officer at a specialist HEI said.

New undergraduates don’t have to worry too much, though, as 65% of admissions officers claim that their institutions employ transitional programmes to help students quickly adapt to university life.

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