Do universities over-sell their courses?

By Emma Videan

For freshers, the first few weeks of their degree can be very eye opening. Before my first year, I went to 2 Cardiff University Open Days and I read through my course handbook back to front. I’d also pretty much read through every module option for the 3 year course; I moved to Cardiff feeling pretty confident that I knew what to expect from my course.

I remember being (and I continue to be) disgruntled by the very few contact hours that my course, Media, Journalism and Culture, has. I worked out pretty quickly that each of my 9 contact hours per week would cost me £46.88 – a good reason to wake up for those 9am lectures.

While there are ‘office hours’ where students can meet with their lecturers and discuss any issues, I think that it would be hugely beneficial if these were made compulsory. Meetings would only require 10-15 minutes, but would give an opportunity to feedback to students, ensure satisfaction with the module, help with assignments and give lecturers and pupils an opportunity to know each other better.

Extra support should be given to everyone, not just for people who are keen enough to organize meetings. With the amount of money that students pay to be educated by incredibly intelligent professors, extra one-to-one help would, I think, hugely benefit students. The hours that are spent in university are so useful, however, understandably in research-based courses a lot of the learning that students do is in their own time in the library.

I understand that open days are basically a promotional day for universities, who rely on student funding, but if a little more time and money was spent on individual student care, I think it would really pay off in the long run.

With all of this being said, my course has a student satisfaction rate of 89%, which is higher than Cardiff University’s average of 83%. These satisfaction rates are fair in my opinion. While there is definitely room for improvement in the amount of compulsory hours, the lecturers are more than happy to help students should they ask for it and I feel as though open days do give adequate information (if you read it!). Once I got my head around the amount of self-motivation I’d require to do well, this course has pretty much been exactly what I expected in terms of content.

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