Since the pandemic hit in 2020, life hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as we would have hoped. That is particularly true in the case of university students. Distance learning, including Zoom lectures, online exams and a lack of the uni experience due to having to move back home; university students have had a tough time. However, 2022 is here and it’s the start of a whole new, drama-free year,  right? Well, while Covid restrictions look on the way out, here are some of the issues that uni students have and may face, in 2022.

University Strikes 2022

Firstly, the University and College Union (UCU) announced that it will stage a number of university strikes from Monday 14th to March 2nd 2022. The university strikes are over pension cuts and demands for increased pay for university staff. The widespread strikes affect students at 68 UK universities which equates to more than one million uni students who face having lectures cancelled. This is a big blow for students following disruption from previous strikes at the end of 2021.  You can see the full list of universities that are affected by the 2022 strikes here. 

If you are one of the students that have been affected by the university stikes in 2022, let us know your thoughts in the comments, (including whether you agree with them or not.)

Online exam disruption

University strikes and online exams: the issues uni students face in 2022
Source: Canva

During the pandemic, traditional university exams were replaced with online, open-book ones. In contrast to traditional exams, online exams are done in a controlled virtual testing environment. Students upload answers to a specific website, rather than submitting a paper. Like normal exams, online ones were time-sensitive. They were also recorded and regulated by an AI investigator.

Initially, the exam shift took some getting used to. However now, many lecturers and university students actually favour the online option. Some of the reasons for this are that students believe online exams work better for essay-based subjects. This is due to online exams being open book. This format of exams also helps develop an understanding of a subject, rather than simply having to memorise it.

Will exams be online in 2022?

As life starts to get back to normal, it looks like exams will too. However, announcements by universities to move back to the traditional exam format has divided some uni students. in fact, in letters to tutors, Oxford undergraduates said:

“online exams require a different skill set’.

‘Advising students now of the in-person format leaves them minimal time to completely rewrite their notes before finals.’

For these reasons, some other universities have decided to stick to online exams, while others are favouring a hybrid approach.  What are your thoughts on online exams? And how are your exams due to take place this year? Let us know in the comments section.

Increased competition for university places 

A record number of students applying to university straight after school has been reported for 2022. In fact, UCAS has reported that 320,000 sixth formers have applied for university places so far. This is 50,000 more than at the same stage in the year in 2019. In terms of international students, applications from the EU have fallen to due university price rises following Brexit. However, applications have increased from other countries such as China, which have risen by 12%.

Undoubtedly, Brexit and Covid have had the biggest impact on university admissions. Many students have decided to delay gap years due to Covid uncertainty and universities have made use of online open days and social media advertising. Likewise, international students are favouring the UK over countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which had essentially sealed themselves off for most of the pandemic.

A shortage of university accommodation

University strikes and online exams: the issues uni students face in 2022
Source: Canva

Likewise, an increase in university applications will undoubtedly lead to a shortage in university accommodation. This will be particularly evident in cities like London, where affordable accommodation is scarce for uni students as it is. If you are looking for student housing for the coming academic year, then check out our guide of when to apply.

With ongoing uncertainty worldwide due to Covid-19, it probably won’t be plain sailing for university students in 2022.  But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, the job market has changed. However, there are plenty of graduate opportunities out there for uni students set to enter the workforce this year. In fact, graduate opportunities are up an impressive 22% compared to 2021. Plus, graduate salaries are set to rise for the first time in seven years. Read on to see some of the skills that graduates entering the workforce will need, post-Covid.

All in all, 2022 looks full of opportunities for students ready to adapt to the changing environment.

The most useful university degrees to study in the UK: 2022