How do Students Perceive Universities?

Survey results have uncovered the motivations among students concerning study and a certain contrast between expectations and experiences. Around one third of students admitted that they chose their place of study due to simplified entrance processes. The survey was undertaken by the Centre of Education Management at the Faculty of Management of Comenius University in partnership with Profesia. Over 5300 students in Slovakia took part and included those currently studying at undergraduate and postgraduate levels of study.

26. 10. 2018 10.50 hod.
By: CU Public Relations Office

Most students choose a specific discipline

The results showed that students most often decided on a university because of the offered disciplines. This is what 66.5% of respondents stated, which is an interesting result because it contradicts the latter behaviour of graduates in the labour market. Every year Profesia presents a ranking of graduates according to employers’ interest. Among other things, the results once again showed that graduates in the Natural Sciences, Education, and Health Care often do not look for work in the field which they studied. One interesting factor is that more than half of the respondents stated that the reasons they chose university studies was the chance to get a well-paid job. Getting a university degree because it would be “useful” was a motivation for around one third of respondents. Fewer respondents, 18.2% to be exact, said that the chance to extend and experience student life was a motivation. Influence from one’s parents and surroundings played a key role in only 14% of cases; the influence of family tradition was also a minor factor, attracting less than 4% of responses.

Almost one third of students admit that they chose a university that was easy to get into

The choice of a particular university and faculty was mostly influenced by its reputation and regional proximity. Also, almost one third of students (30.3%) admitted that their choice was governed by how easy it was to get into a certain school or faculty. The decisions of students are also influenced by other people. Around 37% of respondents said that when choosing a place to study, they looked at the rates of success of recent graduates in the labour market, and 33% of them added that they were influenced by recommendations from friends, acquaintances, and family.

They rely on the fact that universities will teach them precisely what they need for the job market

Some of the most frequent expectations from universities were exceptional references due to having finished studies, ideal preparation for the job market, and a universal and wide-ranging application. In this case, it is possible to see that even before attending university, students have the impression that they can rely on their university to perfectly prepare them for what employers will expect of them when they enter the job market.

Nothing exceptional is expected of Slovak universities

Before going to university, respondents had the lowest expectations when considering whether their school would provide them with international opportunities, their studies would be proficiently organized and managed, and whether the school would provide an extraordinary approach to students and study conditions. Even though students had lower expectations before studying concerning international cooperation, the offer of international student exchanges received the best evaluation based on students’ real experiences. In this case, it was shown that students’ expectations were lower than the reality.

Students perceive a lack of business skills

Respondents stated that universities gave them the best preparation for personal development, the ability to study, and the chance to build a future career. While a future career was relatively positively evaluated, respondents were more critical of the development of business activity.

What structure would students choose for their studies?

At present, students prefer the T-shaped model over the I-shaped or Generalist models. This means that they prefer acquiring expertise in one field and knowledge and skills in related areas with the aim of having the ability to work on an interdisciplinary level. 

Students want more practical experience

What should universities change as a matter of urgency? According to students, there needs to be an emphasis on practical elements of training, a greater emphasis on hard skills, and more opportunities to combine subjects.