The annual Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs) highlight the incredible work carried out by institutions for their students. Due to Covid restrictions, this year’s awards were not collected on uni campuses as usual, but instead based on submissions from institutions, which were then judged by our special student panel.
2021 WUSCA winners
The lecturers and academic advisors work very hard to deliver a learning experience but the university itself has let us down, we feel neglected and not part of a community as a result of covid isolating. Students have been treated more as economic prospects than people.
There's a lot of material and career talks
We were promised blended learning at the start of the year but this has not been delivered, the entire course is online which makes connecting with coursemares difficult
Don't know because we haven't been in
Mental health support was really rough and confusing over the past year
The teaching materials, the lecturers and tutors were the highlight of the year. I am really enjoy the academic course. The whole year wasn’t as great as we were invited to go back to campus and then told before the first week of teaching began that all lectures and activities will be delivered online, so there was no blended learning which was promised. This was quite infuriating as there was no other reason to go on campus than to give university money for the accommodations. I am aware of the situation on hand but that was just disappointing and the university provided little help with that. Studying online has been very difficult and keeping on track with your studies was hard as there were no way to keep yourself accountable offered if you did not create a system yourself. There were deadline extensions due to Covid in the second semester which was helpful. First semester was exceptionally hard to get through with little support offered.
There are those services and they have a lot of offers and information on hand, however, for my specific course it lacks greatly. There are general career service opportunities and events and those are great too. There are a lot of written material to help with CVs, cover letters, etc. and a very helpful service for interview practice.
This year I haven’t had any lectures/tutorials/activities in the university live. I couldn’t even go go the Department building to explore because it wasn’t safe to do so. However, there are phenomenal lectures in this course, who truly do everything to make sure you get the best teaching experience. The learning material is provided in an incredibly effective way, each lecturer/tutor have their own unique way of delivering content which is very enjoyable. They are easy to reach out to too, always ready to answer any question or discuss any and everything.
Hard to say as I’ve only had the chance to visit the Main Library and the Sackville Building but they were impeccable. The libraries in both buildings are incredibly comfortable to study in, the spaces are clean, disability friendly (even the older Sackville building which has quite a lot of stairs is suitable for people with disabilities). I would say that the Student Union are incredibly accessible and helpful too.
The university informs about the support they offer more than once a week. The mental health support services are great, the people who work there are very sensible and kind. I do not use the disability service but heard that it takes a while to get the disability confirmed but once it is quite automated, plus the lecturers remind before each activity/test/exam how the timeframe or anything else is adapted.
It has been okay, obviously limited by covid, especially as an entire 2nd year module for me was based around a trip abroad which obviously didn’t go ahead. Therefore that led to a last-minute module that wasn’t the best, but other than they the university did as good a job as they could’ve for me with online learning.
Despite the less-than-ideal situation in which we find ourselves, I've really had a lovely time at university this year. My first year wasn't at all what I expected but we were all in the same boat and made the most of it. I love all my flatmates, course mates and lecturers. We've all formed a nice community and I feel confident that the friendships I've formed will be long-lasting. This year has simultaneously been the best and most stressful year of my life (uni, life and pandemic stress make quite the cocktail!), so it's definitely one to remember! I look forward to getting out and getting onto campus more -- believe it or not, in the year I have studied at university I have only been to the library once and the Students' Union twice -- and exploring my course as well as all that the beautiful city of Manchester has to offer when it's in full bloom. This year has been tough, but the friendships I've made make it all worth it and I'm hopeful for my future.
I have loved my time at Manchester, but throughout Covid I feel they could have done more, why aren’t we having a graduation later in the year?
The careers meetings I went to were not great however the job opportunities from volunteer opportunities is highly valuable
I really enjoyed the academic support
I would say the geography library is quite outdated but I do enjoy going there, there is literally rat traps in there though and in the big library which is not good
Really hard to get a mental health appointment, however the geography departments mitigating circumstances panel seems fair. Jen, the director of undergrad, is extremely approachable
I love the uni and can't wait to start clinical years, but i have nothing but negative comments about PBL. I don't think it is effective for anyone and it is much safer to teach our future doctors via lecture based study than PBL. It should take a more integrated approach.
Mixture of online and in class - mainly PBL which means a LOT of self guided study and its very unclear how much detail to go into
This year has been difficult and the move to online has been useful in some ways as it allows you to be more flexible in your learning and fit your time around other things. However, you definitely feel like you get less support with it being online and the university seems to give more work to make up for the fact we are not in person.
The careers service is useful but there isn’t a range of internships that the university offer.
Online learning has been difficult as the lecturers seem to provide more work because we aren’t in person even though online work can take longer to complete.
The shared spaces and study areas are clean and tidy.
A lot of mental health support has been put in place this year.
My tutors have been amazing but the university itself has proven to be untrustworthy and does not put students first. I have not been on campus for over a year and have just had my year abroad cancelled at the last minute (which was the whole reason I chose to do this degree).
Yes, this academic year has been a disappointment for everybody. But, I think that my lecturers have made the best out of a bad situation- they have been enthusiastic and available to chat and have tried to keep us all engaged with the content. It is not their fault that we're in the situation we are in. However, saying this, I believe that the University as a whole could have done better, especially for first years. I was lucky to not be living in halls, but the images I have seen over the last year have made me lose all trust in the senior management at the University of Manchester. There could have been more done to support the welfare of first year students, as well as there academic studies.
The career service is great- they offer so many events and one-on-one meetings, as well as really useful tools such as the CV checker and a specific website to find jobs for after graduation. The only downside is I don't think that it's advertised enough.
Since COVID, all lectures and seminars have been online. Lecturers, for the most part, have made content engaging and have made themselves available to talk about coursework. The lecturers are enthusiastic about their research, and they work with you to find answers instead of just handing them to you. I have received a lot of support from my academic advisor, who has initiated meetings twice a semester. He has been really helpful in calming my nerves about the future and has signposted a lot of useful resources as well as advising me on my coursework and approaches to learning.
The library has an intense booking system, and I have found that many of the smaller libraries and study spaces on campus have not been open during COVID. I also wish there was greater support for those students living in privately rented accommodation- not university run ones- as I have struggled with my wifi over the last year and some support from uni would have been greatly appreciated. The university also have a system which allows you to remotely access computers on campus from your own laptop at home. I found this really helpful when doing coursework which required specific software.
I have never had to use these services but I have seen and heard things on social media and from friends which do not make me hopeful if I ever have to use them. Also, they told us to treat lockdown as a 'retreat' and then proceeded to give us more work than ever before.
My overall uni experience has been fun, yet my academic experience has been severely disadvantaged by my university's apparent lack of compassion for the students.
All online, even the tutorials
They have not been open during covid