Why I think Coaching based Academic Skills Training Programmes are essential today for university students studying in UK universities.
Over the past 4 years there has been much talk about how to give university students in the UK better value for money. Students are feeling that they are getting a worse deal now that university fees have soared and so universities themselves are rightly asking questions about how to offer a better quality service.
The annual HEPI/HEA Student Academic Experience survey published in June revealed that students feel most disgruntled about their perceived lack of value for money. When you’re investing £9,000 a year you want something for it.
The survey finds that a lack of communication between what students expect and what universities are providing lies at the root of the problem. And this is not just simply about the types of courses universities provide. In fact, there are various layers of miscommunications in their preparation for life beyond the lecture halls and within the student experience.
Many students feel abandoned and unable to manage. An article published on The Guardian’s Academics Anonymous blog on 11th August 2017 supports this view that students are not sufficiently equipped for the changes into adult education and professional life after school. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/aug/11/how-do-you-finish-a-phd-when-you-dont-feel-you-belong-at-university#img-1
One way to close this miscommunication gap is to provide Coaching based Academic Skills Training Programmes. 100% of home and international students I asked said that they would use this kind of service if it were made available. Types of Academic Skills Training Programmes already exist in some UK universities.
However, these are currently called ‘Pre-sessional’ and are only provided for international students who are entering the UK higher education system for the first time. Some of these ‘pre-sessional’ programmes are also more focused on English language training rather than pure academic skills training which limits their effectiveness.
However, Coaching based Academic Skills Training Programmes would be beneficial for both home and international students because they not only train students in pure academic skills but also help them to boost their confidence and understand what might be stopping them from reaching their potential.
In fact, Coaching based Academic Skills Training Programmes have 8 key advantages.
Coaching based academic skills training programmes:
- give students the knowledge to get a better quality degree – perhaps a 2:1 instead of a 2:2 or even a first class degree. With a structured knowledge of academic skills, students will feel less confused and more confident in their own academic abilities.
- boost students’ confidence and consequently motivating them to do better than they may have done
- equip them for academic realities such as lectures, note-taking, seminars, public speaking, library research, debating etc
- give them life tools for social and professional relations post-graduation
- teach students how to find information out for themselves
- highlight that UK higher education environments are not places where the teacher stands at the front of the class and gives you the answers but places where you are provided with the spark for motivating your own research
- give you the maturity to manage academic demands
- help them to become better critical thinkers, problem solvers and decision-makers
These 8 advantages would indeed help students to have a better experience and make them more appealing to employers.