Student and staff expectations of university life - a pilot study.

Magdalena Dolecka, Noor U Khan, Vanee Sivagurunathan, Alison Faith Kelly, Hilda Mary Mulrooney


Student expectations of university lack clarity, yet unmet expectations may negatively impact upon satisfaction, attainment and progression. This questionnaire-based pilot study explored student and staff expectations, in a large English widening participation university.  In all, 65 students and 27 staff participated. Most notable was the similarity of student responses regardless of demographic characteristics. However, students already in paid work were significantly more likely to agree that they liked the university and found it easy to make friends. Students who might consider taking on paid work expressed significantly more concern that they may struggle with their academic work whilst those not in paid work had significantly more concerns about exams and self-directed learning. In terms of transferable academic skills, Black students were significantly less likely than white students to expect to make detailed class notes for themselves, albeit within this small sample size, while those first-in-family identified more academic skills needs than other student groups. Significantly more staff than students considered classroom attendance necessary. This pilot study suggests future research directions, including the impact of paid work and ethnicity on specific academic skills and underlines the importance of student support.  


Expectations; support; academic skills; diversity

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