Majority of high school students ill-prepared for university due to pandemic: poll

By Erika Chorostil, Michael Ranger

As the deadline for 2022 university applications approaches, a recent survey is shedding light on another fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study suggests an overwhelming majority of Canadian high school students, in grade 11 and 12, feel ill-prepared for post-secondary education.

The national survey — conducted by Toronto and Vancouver-based tech company GrantMe — shows that 84 per cent of respondents said that remote learning during the pandemic has affected how prepared they feel for university.

“The results of the survey mirror the trend we’re seeing in our educational counselling practice,” said GrantMe founder Madison Guy. “Students today are more uncertain about their future than before and don’t know where to turn for help.”

RELATED: Canadian students share anxieties, hopes for another pandemic altered school year

More than half of those students, 57 per cent, say they find it hard to maintain good study habits due to pandemic isolation.

Just over half of respondents said they find it hard to stay focused for virtual learning and approximately one-third say they aren’t sure how they will handle the stress of a post-secondary workload.

Most students polled say they will now be settling on a lower-ranked post-secondary school due to their marks suffering as a result of the pandemic. A third of students have changed their undergraduate plans for health and safety reasons.

“Many families experienced financial challenges over the last year and a half, and about half the students queried said they worry about their ability to pay back student debt, which has increased amid the pandemic,” said Guy.

“Especially because of the limited opportunities they had for part-time or summer jobs.”

More than three-quarters of students responded that their confidence in being able to pay for a post-secondary education has gone down post-pandemic.

The survey was conducted in October and polled more than 1,000 grade 11 and 12 high school students.

GrantMe is a technology company that aims to help students through their post-secondary education in Canada.

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