Answers from Alex Square

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Are you concerned by this year’s drop in undergraduate admissions?

Lancaster was my number one choice so I’m very biased! Some people want to go to the best they can, but I don’t really see the importance.   — Marcus

Lancaster is ranked first in the marketing department, so these admissions figures didn’t really matter to me. It’s one of the best.   — Yomina

I think Lancaster is sometimes treated unfairly. Some people were surprised that I was going to Lancaster; so I think sometimes it suffers.   — Hazel

I know a lot of people who haven’t applied due to all sorts of reasons, fees and other things. I don’t think admissions grades are entirely the reason.   — Beth

I don’t think it looks bad on Lancaster, I just think it’s how people are viewing university admissions as a whole.   — Nick

It depends, because sometimes you get the idea that people who chose to go to university weren’t going because they wanted to learn or to learn a degree. It’s a double edged sword: on the one hand you want people here who come to work and it’s not just a sort of booze-fest, but on the other hand I don’t think the fees are fair. Despite the fact that I don’t like the fee increase that happened, which I believe is the cause of this, at least it’s made people reconsider what they want to do more carefully.   — Matthew

I think the main reason is that the University increased its entry tariffs, so less people are vying for places. If the entry tariffs are higher, not as many people are going to apply. At least that’s what I heard.   — Patrick


Would you trust a private firm to deliver your Part I modules?

It’s a strange thing to do to outsource it to people who don’t teach at the University.   — Grace

I don’t like the sound of that!   — Nick

I just think that’s really harsh on postgraduates. The whole idea behind this decision is that, if we can outsource the first year education, then that releases professors, lecturers, and PhD students to do ‘more important’ things. But it sounds like a very strange solution. The first year is an important year; it’s a formative year. It needs to be taken more seriously.   — Matthew

I wouldn’t trust a private company with my first year. The University can probably pick better tutors than a corporation. But I don’t know if the University as a whole is being too business-like.   — Patrick


Do you think the library refurbishment is a worthwhile investment?

It’s the University’s lookout on what they spend. I’m assuming if they’re investing £15,000,000 they’ve decided that it’s a worthy investment. The construction work is only to better our education.   — Marcus

I think the library is worth investing a lot of money in because it’s a place where we learn and study and meet course mates.   — Yomina

I think it would be helpful if they had it finished sooner.   — Grace

I didn’t realise it wasn’t going to open fully until January 2016.   — Hazel

It was pain during exams when they kept moving boxes around.   — Beth

I like the renovations. I think it’s much easier to find books. I like what they’re doing with and I don’t really find it disruptive.   — Nick

I think it’s getting in the way. It needed refurbishing, but if it gets to a certain point in the year, I don’t know where students are going to go. It’s a good job there are fewer undergraduates coming!   — Matthew

I don’t think it’s going to disrupt anything I do. I haven’t actually been to the library yet, so I wouldn’t know about anyone else. But I suppose I do plan on visiting the library at some point in the near future, so I’ll find out then. As long as the keep the library open and allow access.   — Patrick


Why do you think Lancaster’s score has decreased in the National Student Survey?

Every survey has to be taken with a grain of salt. It could be an issue, but I would focus on what they rated poorly.   — Marcus

I think international students are more likely to rely on this survey. This might help people like me sort out what’s good and bad.   — Yomina

It can really depend on the experience they’ve had that week.   — Grace

If they’ve had a really good experience they’re likely to exaggerate.   — Hazel

It’s a personal reflection of people’s time of university. I’ve just started second year so I don’t really know how I feel about it.   — Nick

You trust the Vice Chancellor and University management to take student interest at heart and, to be honest, his position made it seem like he was taking a corporate decision for the benefit of the business side of things. Everyone talks about it: there’s an ‘encroaching corporatisation’ in universities, and universities are becoming neoliberal institutions. So the Vice Chancellor was very vocal about it, it upset the students, he was actually quite hostile to Lancaster students protesting against the changes, and as such, they say, “Right, if you’re going to treat us like an element of your business, as a unit cost,  then we’re going to act like customers.”   — Matthew

I don’t think it’s worth worrying about. I mean, as you say, it’s only about one percent and I think it will sort of fluctuate from time to time. If next year we’re talking about a larger percentage decrease, then there’s a cause for concern. Nothing here is really frustrating me at the moment. I’m quite satisfied with the University so far.   — Patrick

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Daniel Snape

Daniel was an undergraduate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lancaster University and Comment Editor at SCAN.

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