One in three Aussies regret their degree
"ALARMING" new research shows one in three Australians are unhappy with their choice of university or university degree.
A survey of 1000 Australian university students found 31 per cent would attend a different university if they had their time over again.
The main reasons given for that choice were a lack of study support, poor curriculum and feeling like they weren't getting value for money.
Other reasons given where an overall lack of enjoyment and preferring to study online.
The survey, conducted by Studiosity, an online study support service, also showed men were more likely to regret their decision, with 36 per cent wishing they had made a different choice, compared to 28 per cent of women.
Mature-aged and part-time students were also significantly more likely to feel they had made the wrong decision.
Education expert Professor Chris Tisdell from the University of NSW, who is on Studiosity's Academic Advisory Board, said the research was concerning for a first-world country that prides itself on its quality education system.
"The fact that almost one in three students weren't happy was quite alarming to me," Professor Tisdell told news.com.au.
"Expectations have changed and as a society we're more connected than ever before and we're more impatient. People are looking for personalised, flexible, educational experiences and they're feeling like they're not getting value for money," Prof Tisdell said.
The biggest challenge facing universities, according to Prof Tisdell, is their inability to offer students support out of hours.
"Learning happens anywhere, at any time and a lot of students really do need academic support outside of regular hours. So many students are looking for that outside of hours contact. One of the challenges is that universities still operate in the 9am-5pm world," he said.
"For example, it might be 9pm and there's an assessment tomorrow and students are looking for someone to reach out to. But they can't necessarily reach out to lecturers or tutors because they're not working those hours."
This problem is particularly acute for postgraduate or mature-age students juggling multiple commitments.
"The majority of students at universities are school leavers, however for many universities a key cohort are mature age students," Prof Tisdell said.
"Somebody might be in their 40s coming back to university or perhaps studying for the first time. They're busy ... they might have a job and a family and they're looking for that flexibility."
More Australians than ever before are going to university.
The total number of student places in higher education increased by almost 70 per cent
between 2001 and 2014, from around 588,000 places to more than 977,000.
That growth is in part being driven by overseas students. Overseas fee-paying places increased their share from less than 20 per cent in 2001 to more than 25 per cent in 2014.
Most Commonwealth-supported university degrees cost between $15,000 and $37,000, but "high value" courses such as veterinary and medicine are more expensive and can cost around $50,000.
The average fee for a year of full-time study for an overseas student studying in Australia is was $26,908 in 2014.