Open Menu Close Menu


Survey Reveals Students Struggling with Academics During Pandemic

As students adjust to the realities of college life during a pandemic, the majority (71 percent) are having trouble staying focused on their coursework, according to a fall 2020 survey. More than half of students (52 percent) said they are struggling to complete coursework, and 40 percent found it challenging to attend their classes. The survey, conducted by Hobsons and Hanover Research, polled more than 1,000 two- and four-year college students across the United States, representing a variety of background and ages. Fifty-three percent are attending school fully online; 44 percent in a hybrid environment; and 3 percent in person.

Drilling down further, the survey found that returning students (non-first years) were experiencing greater academic challenges compared to pre-pandemic times. Respondents said that during COVID, it was harder to stay focused on school work (67 percent), complete coursework (55 percent) and attend classes (43 percent). And students in hybrid programs were the most likely to report challenges staying focused (75 percent), followed by those studying fully online (69 percent) and those attending in person (63 percent).

Additional findings include:

  • Just half of returning students felt academically prepared for the fall semester. Looking at responses by instructional model, the survey found that 40 percent of hybrid students felt unprepared, while 35 percent of online students and 27 percent of in-person students felt the same.
  • Fifty-seven percent of students felt their overall learning experience was somewhat or significantly worse than the previous year. The same share of students also said their interactions with classmates were worse. And the survey results by instructional model revealed that 63 percent of students said their overall learning experience was worse, while 53 percent of online students and 38 percent of in-person students felt the same.
  • Sixty-eight percent of students said that COVID-19 had either somewhat or very negatively impacted their mental health. The pandemic's impact on mental health was 75 percent greater for students learning in remote or hybrid environments.
  • Nineteen percent of students said they were seriously considering not attending college next semester. Of those, 78 percent said COVID-19's impact on the college experience was their primary reason for stopping out.
  • While nearly all students said they know where to find academic support on campus, roughly a third of students did not know where to find physical or mental health services.

The full report, "Higher Ed Student Success Survey: Fall 2020," is available on the Hobsons site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

comments powered by Disqus