UMD undergraduate survey shows students faced difficulties in the fall semester

Library and campus of the University of Maryland located in College Park, MD.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/sframephoto)

The University of Maryland in College Park has released the results of an undergraduate survey showing many students struggled with learning in the fall while navigating the coronavirus pandemic.

Students were invited to complete the “Fall 2020 Student Experience Survey” in October and November. Of the nearly 4,600 undergraduate respondents, 75% said that they found studying effectively ranged from “somewhat to very difficult” during the fall semester.

Additionally, 81% said that maintaining motivation was difficult and 72% said that maintaining research productivity was difficult. 67% of students said that they felt isolated from the university community.

89% of those who took the survey said that their classes were entirely or almost entirely online, 10% said that they had a mixture of online and face-to-face classes and 1% said that they had only in-person classes.

64% of the students said that their experience in the fall semester was at least somewhat negative.

A screenshot of the survey from the University of Maryland.

Managing distractions and learning in a digital environment were the greatest challenges, noted by 75% of the students in the survey.

Of those students who took classes in the spring semester, 75% said that they found the fall semester coursework to be more challenging than the spring. Additionally, 79% said that their academic experience this fall was worse than their experience in fall of 2019.

When it comes to how much they learned over the semester, 70% said that they were learning less in 2020 compared with the previous year.

Because of the pandemic, 76% said that their readiness for starting the fall academic semester was negatively impacted and 82% said that their mental health was impacted.


Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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