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One year on: Supporting new students

Posted on 9 April 2021

A-level results week 2020 was chaotic and confusing. After uproar as 36 per cent of grades in England were downgraded by exams regulator Ofqual, the government announced that grades would be based on teachers’ predictions.

A student writing in a notebook

Colleagues working on clearing and confirmation had to deal with the technical challenges of new ways of working, the increased volume of calls to our vacancy hotline and the uncertainty around policy changes.

They handled prospective students with care and compassion, as this parent wrote: ‘Thank you for the support and communication with my son and I during what has been a testing period for everyone, including yourselves. The service rendered by the department has been second to none.’

Another parent said: ‘My son hadn’t slept well since results day. When the verbal offer came in he came running into the kitchen in tears. You have turned dreams into reality. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!’

“Thank you for the care and integrity with which you handled university applications. The education sector is frantically trying to help so many individual state-educated students, adversely and potentially unfairly impacted by the application of an algorithm. It is brilliant and affirming to see York taking the time and trouble to reach out to and value a young person rather than relying on an algorithm. We won’t forget.” Headteacher feedback

To support new students who would be starting University at a time unlike any other cohort, we designed and delivered four Short Private Online Courses (SPOCs), for undergraduates and postgraduates, on learning at York and life at York.

“This has yet again been another fantastic course that has allowed me to feel more prepared for university, as well as calming any nerves or uncertainties. I think that it is great that so much is mentioned in this course that isn't actually related to the academic side of university, in terms of extra opportunities and support!” Student feedback

“Not only did this course answer all my questions as well as questions I didn’t even know I had, but the use of students, professors, employers etc gave us a perspective on the university from multiple different angles. The whole experience turned the university from a standard building of learning, into a supportive and social community.” Student feedback

We are celebrating all that colleagues from across the University have done to keep our students safe and supported over the last 12 months with a series of stories on these pages.