2020 applicants
Studying at Essex

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) applicants guidance

Advice for applicants applying to the University

We know you will be concerned about what the impact of COVID-19 means both for your university application and, for your university experience when you start in the autumn.

We have been working hard to ensure that our applicants are able to start with us in October – in whatever way possible – and have focused on:

  • Measures to protect the health and well-being of our students and staff;
  • Ensuring the value, quality and transformative nature of an Essex Education is maintained and;
  • Developing contingency arrangements to manage any further impact of COVID-19 on the next academic year.

In this section you can find:

We are monitoring and following all advice from Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation. We review and update our guidance daily, so do check back regularly.

 

Not an applicant?

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) guidance for applicants

Information about applying to Essex and starting your course

As an enquirer or applicant to the University of Essex, we will keep you updated on the steps we are taking to limit the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on our community. This page contains important information for prospective students about applying to and starting your course at the University of Essex. We will update this regularly.

If you are a current student or member of staff at the University, please refer to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) guidance on our student directory and staff directory.

We are undertaking a programme of work to ensure that we manage the impact that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) might have on students who will be joining us this autumn for 2020 entry. We will continue to monitor changes to the external environment as they develop, and update our plans in response to new developments and advice.

Whether you are worried you might not get your final exam transcripts; that you might not be able to arrive on campus in time; or you are concerned you won’t be able to travel to one of our campuses for the start of the new academic year – we are working hard to find solutions that will work for you, and have provided more information in the Q&As below which we will keep updated as things change.

Applying to Essex

What will happen to my application if one or more of the University's campuses temporarily closes?

Although many of our staff are not currently working in their offices on campus, we are continuing to process applications and deal with all your queries. Your application is important to us and we are continuing to assess all applications in the usual way.

Should I still apply if I'm currently not able to leave the country?

Yes. If you are interested in joining the University this autumn, but are concerned by current travel restrictions, we still encourage you to apply. It is highly likely that the situation in all countries will change a lot over the next few months. Most of our courses are still open for new applicants for 2020, so we welcome new applications at all study levels.

We are working hard to ensure we can welcome our new students on to our campuses in October. We will continue to follow public health guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements apply.

What happens if my final examinations have been cancelled or changed?

If your exams have been cancelled or you haven’t been able to complete part of your studies, please don’t worry – we have arrangements to manage exceptional circumstances for all our applicants. We are following advice and guidance closely from the University’s regulator (Office for Students), and the exam boards.

We are aware that awarding bodies for some qualifications have confirmed that they will be awarding students a ‘calculated grade’. Please be assured that we will consider calculated grades in the same way as we would have considered your final examination grades.

For postgraduate applicants, we will normally have expected you to have completed 50% of your final year’s study, and we will base our decision purely on your grades up to that point.

In all cases, we will be as flexible as we can with our minimum grade requirements and will take into account any impact on your final grades as a result of COVID-19 disruption. We will consider your academic performance up to the point of the COVID-19 disruption and will base our decision on your grades at that point.

Please do not be concerned, we will be in touch with you regarding your offer when exam results, or alternative assessment results, are published.

If you have any further questions, please contact us via our Live Chat or email our Undergraduate Admissions team at admit@essex.ac.uk or our Postgraduate Admissions team at pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

 

I cannot get hold of the information you have requested, what shall I do?

We are aware you might have difficulties getting hold of supporting information. We will be as flexible as possible - if you will need extra time to gather requested information, please just let your Admissions Advisor know.

If you are unable to obtain a final certificate or transcript for your qualifications, either as a result of your exams being cancelled or due to other factors such as school closures, please provide what you can and contact our Undergraduate Admissions Team by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk or our Postgraduate Admissions team at pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

We may be able to accept proof of your results in an alternative format – this may include interim transcripts, copies of school/college/university records or a letter or email from your school/college/university.

If you are not waiting for further results or calculated grades, please provide the grades for your qualifications so far, including any part-completed studies, to the Admissions Advisor on your offer letter.

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We are aware that many of you will have had your studies interrupted and that some of you will either not receive the award you expected or will receive the award but with fewer credits. Please be assured that we will base our decision on your academic performance up until the point of any COVID-19 disruption.

We will normally expect you to have completed 50% of your final year’s study, and we will base our decision purely on your grades at that point. We will also be as flexible as we can with our minimum grade requirements and will take into account any impact on your final grades as a result of COVID-19 disruption

I’m having difficulties obtaining a reference to support my application, what do I do?

If you are currently holding an offer that is conditional upon obtaining a suitable reference or other information, and you are unable to get this due to the current COVID-19 situation, please contact either our Undergraduate Admissions Team by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk or our Postgraduate Admissions team at pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for advice. It is likely that we can waive the requirement to supply a reference.

I am having problems being able to take the English Language test that is a condition of my offer, what shall I do?

We are aware that some English Language tests may be cancelled or postponed, or you are unable to attend due to travel restrictions, please see below links for full details of the English Language tests that we can accept, including online tests, and the scores we require. Please note these are updated regularly with any additional tests that we are now in a position to accept:

If you already hold an English language test that isn’t listed in the tables above, or your current English language test is not at the level required please contact your relevant Admissions Office:

Can I apply for Pre-sessional English (PSE) study at Essex?

Yes. Due to travel restrictions currently in place, all our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online, so you can study from your home country. Please read our Pre-Sessional English webpages for further details. We are also currently investigating a range of other options including in country provision and we will update you once we have more information.

For the five-week course and the final five weeks or all the other pre-sessional courses, we are hoping that students will be able to study on campus, if they wish and are able to do so. But we will be running these five weeks online for those students who need it.

For those students studying on our campus for the final five weeks, we are providing free accommodation.

Can I take a Pre-sessional English (PSE) course in my home country?

All our Pre-sessional courses will be delivered online, so if you are eligible for one of our Pre-sessional courses, you will be able to study this in your home country. Please read our Pre-Sessional English webpages for further details. We are currently investigating a range of other options including in country provision and we will update you once we have more information.

Can / should I defer my place?

If you are thinking about deferring because of concerns about the term beginning in October, please be assured that putting solutions in place to ensure you can start with us on our campuses in October.

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible. To achieve this, many of our courses will now be taught in a way that blends face-to-face classes with a range of online lectures, teaching, learning and collaborative support. We’re aiming to be as flexible as possible so if things change you can change your pathway any time.

These changes will allow you to start your course whether you are able to attend campus or not. That way, if restrictions apply or circumstances change, we can move to blended and online delivery, offering the flexibility for you to continue your studies uninterrupted, whatever the circumstances.

This is not an online degree. Our goal is to replicate face-to-face teaching digitally, where necessary, but continue to teach face-to-face where we can.

If you think you might still wish to defer your place, please contact your Admissions Advisor who can discuss your options with you.

What happens if I'd prefer to start my course on campus in January?

If you're not able to come on campus until January, you will still be able to register for your chosen course in October and then study online until you are in a position to join us on one of our campuses.

We have launched some new postgraduate courses that are available to start on our campuses in January. These will be in the areas of: international law, artificial intelligence, data science, business analytics, economics and our AMBA-accredited MBA. Information will be available here as soon as they are launched.

Please note this is not applicable to all courses. If you’re an East 15 applicant then contact Admissions to find out your options.

Do I have to attend campus for my interview?

If you have to attend an interview as a compulsory assessment component for your application, we will contact you to arrange an interview remotely, either via ZOOM or telephone.

If you are waiting to hear about an interview, please contact the relevant Admissions Office:

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All auditions (on campus and abroad) have been cancelled so students should submit digitally. An email has been sent out with details how to do this.

Please see the East 15 website for more information. Applicants will be contacted if anything changes.

What do I do if I have concerns about getting a visa?

Please see our Tier 4 Visa and immigration guidance FAQs (.pdf).

Please see the UKCISA website for further Coronavirus (Covid-19) infomation and advice for international students.

Can I still visit campus if I want to look around?

We are currently suspending all public events, gatherings and visits to our campuses due to COVID-19. We know this will be as disappointing to you as it is to us. Whilst our campuses do remain open, we are not able to offer tours of visits at the moment.

In the meantime check out our Colchester and Southend Campus virtual tours, videos and a range of live and recorded webinars so you can get an insight into the University.

You can find out more about our Loughton Campus here.

Do I still need to pay my deposit?

Some students are asked to pay a deposit to secure their place on a course with us. You should still pay this but if for any reason you are unable to start your course, it can be deferred or refunded. Further information about our tuition fee policy can be found on our website.

Please note, the East 15 Acting School course deposit Terms and Conditions are different and can be read in full here.

Starting at Essex

Pre-arrival information

Will there be any changes to the start date for my Undergraduate or Postgraduate study?

There are no changes to your start date, which can be found in your offer letter on your myEssex portal.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information. 

What if I can't travel for the start of my course?

We know that some students may not be able to travel to our campuses for the start of the academic term in October, and that is ok.

Many of our courses will now be taught in a way that blends face-to-face classes with a range of online lectures, teaching, learning and collaborative support. We’re aiming to be as flexible as possible so if things change you can change your pathway any time.

These changes will allow you to start your course whether you are able to attend campus or not. That way, if restrictions apply or circumstances change, we can move to blended and online delivery, offering the flexibility for you to continue your studies uninterrupted, whatever the circumstances.

If none of these options are suitable, you can of course defer the start of your course. If you have paid a deposit we will refund it.

This page will be kept up to date with the most recent guidance and advice so as the start of term approaches please review these pages to check for updates. We will continue to follow national and international health guidance and will be sure to notify any affected applicants should alternative arrangements apply.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.  

Please note that the East 15 Acting School course deposit Terms and Conditions are different and can be read in full here.  

 

If I start online, when do I have to come to Campus?

There will be no deadline for when you need to return to Campus. We have adopted a flexible approach, which means you can study online until you are ready to come to Campus, whenever that might be.   

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information. 

How do I register if I am starting my degree online, and is there a deadline?

All new students are required to register with the University by the third week of October. This year, every student will need to register online (regardless of whether you are starting on campus, or online). 

If you are planning on beginning your degree online you will need to let us know, don't worry for now, we'll be in touch to let you know how to do this.

If I'm travelling outside of the UK; how can I make sure I get to campus safely when I arrive?

We appreciate that many students may not wish to use public transport when they arrive in the UK. We are therefore in the process of making arrangements so that students will be able to travel from London UK airports by University-arranged coaches, adhering to any social distancing measures that are in place.

Once we have more information relating to this service, we will put this on this webpage and on the new students section of the website 

What if I have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK?

If restrictions are in place which mean you are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, we will supply up to two weeks of accommodation to new students, free-of-charge. Your self-isolating accommodation will consist of a single bedroom within a cluster flat, where some facilities will be shared with other students in your household.

At the point we start providing students with their allocated accommodation, we will ask you if you would like to arrive early and use these two weeks of free accommodation.

Please note, this only applies to our Colchester and Southend Campuses.

Will there be any changes to the pre-sessional English courses?

Due to travel restrictions currently in place, all our pre-sessional courses will be delivered online so you are able to study on these courses from your home country. For the five-week course and the final five weeks or all the other pre-sessional courses, we are hoping that students will be able to study on campus, if they wish and are able to do so. We will be running these five weeks online for those students who need it.

For those students studying on our campus for the final five weeks, we are providing free accommodation.

What if I contract COVID-19 in my home country as I'm due to start in the UK?

If you contract COVID-19 before you are due to travel to the UK for the start of your course, you should not travel, and should follow the local health advice and guidance. You should wait for clear medical advice that you are no longer contagious before you consider travelling.

You should contact the University to let them know the situation.

Many of our courses will now be taught in a way that blends face-to-face classes with a range of online lectures, teaching, learning and collaborative support. These changes will allow you to start your course whether you are able to attend face-to-face teaching sessions during the academic year or not. Your learning will also be tailored to your needs; with flexibility for you to manage your studies.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.

What would happen to my deposit if I become unable to start the University in autumn 2020 because of COVID-19

If you are asked to pay a deposit to secure your place and scholarship, you should do so by the relevant deadline. Our refund policy will be applicable in any circumstances related to COVID-19 that might make you unable to join us this autumn.

Please note that the East 15 Acting School course deposit Terms and Conditions are different and can be read in full here

      

Teaching and assessment

Will there be any changes to the way my course is taught?

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  • Webinars;
  • Lectures and tutorials in the University’s virtual learning environment;
  • Collaborative discussions
  • Group project work using social media or other meeting platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp or Messenger.

There will also be other ways of learning, designed to enable you to engage more easily and manage your workload. It will also help develop your deeper understanding of the topic. This will usually involve:

  • Self-directed study;
  • Readings and;
  • Online tasks.

You will engage in an interactive classroom environment in real-time, even if you are online, and will have access to the resources and materials needed for your course. Interactivity is important to our teaching, we want our students to discuss, debate and tackle key issues together. This style of dual-delivery teaching ensures that we maintain these crucial interactive elements.

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible, but if restrictions apply or circumstances change, we can move to blended and online delivery. This will offer the flexibility for you to continue your studies uninterrupted, whatever the circumstances.

This is not an online degree. Our goal is to replicate face-to-face teaching digitally, where necessary, but continue to teach face-to-face where we can.

The Department you have applied to will be contacting you by the end of June to let you know more about the specific arrangements for your course.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.

How long can I study online? Can I do the whole year online?

We want as many of our students to join us on campus as possible; this is not an online degree. We hope that if you begin studying online, you will be able to join us on Campus as soon as you can.

If you are an East 15 Acting School applicant, please refer to their website for updates on term information.

       

Accommodation and living on campus

I am hoping to start in October, should I still apply for accommodation?

Yes! We are fully intending to be in a position to start our courses in October so students are encouraged to apply for accommodation as usual.

We understand that planning for October might be difficult with so much being unknown. If you do want to stay in university managed accommodation this academic year, it is really important that you apply for a room. 

All full-time fully-registered undergraduate students living at our Colchester or Southend Campus in October, are entitled to accommodation for the first year of study.

You must submit your accommodation application before 11.59pm on 21 August 2020 to be guaranteed.

Applications can be made via your myEssex portal. If you apply after this date, we may still be able to offer you accommodation, but we will no longer be able to guarantee you a room.

What if I can't arrive in October?

We are aware that a small number of students might want to study remotely at first, so we are looking at different scenarios and making plans to be as flexible as possible.

It is important that whatever your intentions, if you require a room at some point in the next academic year, that you continue to apply for your accommodation as normal.

The accommodation team will contact all applicants at the beginning of August to work through your arrival plans. If you have decided to delay your arrival until the Spring term, our accommodation team will do our best to provide you with a room, subject to availability. 

What if I need to quarantine on arrival to campus?

If you are travelling to campus from outside the UK you may be required to undertake a period of quarantine on your arrival. If you are required to quarantine, you can arrive at your accommodation 2 weeks early for no additional cost to undertake your quarantine. 

Wherever possible, the room where you will complete your quarantine will remain your room for the rest of the academic year. We will make sure we keep in touch regularly to check everything is okay.

We will be contacting all students at the beginning of August and invite you to make a ‘quarantine booking’ if needed, so please keep an eye on your emails if you think this might apply to you.

Please make sure you familiarise yourself with the latest UK guidance on quarantine requirements before arranging your travel to campus.

What if there is a second wave?

The University has been working hard to ensure that your course can be delivered as flexibly as possible, and our accommodation offer has been designed to reflect this.

Therefore, the accommodation team will release students from their tenancy, or pause rental payments, if students are required by their government, the UK government or the University to leave their University accommodation due to matters relating to COVID-19

How will the university support me if I have to self-isolate in my accommodation?

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How will you implement and observe social distancing in University accommodation?  

We’re hoping to make your experience of living with us as normal as possible, but recognise we may have to do things a little differently this year.  

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Current guidance states that, at least initially, you won’t be able to have other people from outside your household visiting your flat. But all our accommodation is surrounded by award winning green spaces, and with social facilities close by where you can easily meet with people from outside your household whilst following the social distancing guidelines.  

We also have a dedicated team who are developing a variety of social distancing events and virtual events to attend to make sure you have every opportunity to meet new people, safely. More details of these will follow in due course.

How will you support cleanliness and hygiene within shared accommodation? 

Our housekeeping team will be busy undertaking enhanced cleaning, to ensure your accommodation is as hygienic as possible. All kitchens will be cleaned weekly, and shared bathrooms cleaned 3 times a week. We will be regularly cleaning all high level touchpoints in accommodation entrances and communal areas. We will also clean all lifts daily (the maximum number of people per lift will be limited to help maintain social distancing).

Hygiene is a key factor in controlling the virus, therefore it is important that all residents play their part in ensuring your accommodation remains safe. To help with this, we will also provide you with how-to guides and advice on hygiene. 

Will I be able to secure accommodation?

Our  university accommodation guarantee is still in place for our applicants and we have quite late deadlines in comparison to most other universities.

Undergraduate applicants are guaranteed a room for their first year if they meet the relevant criteria and submit their accommodation application by 11.59pm on Friday 21 August 2020.

Postgraduate applicants are guaranteed a room if they submit their accommodation application by 11.59pm on 31 July 2020.

If you’re a new applicant and apply after this date, we will still offer you a room if possible. If we do not have a room for you, we’ll put you in touch with SU Home, an agency run by our Students’ Union.

Please note, we do not have student accommodation at our Loughton Campus.

How can I ensure I will be safe from COVID-19 once I am at the university?

The University takes the health and wellbeing of our students and staff very seriously and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students and staff.

We’ll also be introducing training for all students, to make it easier for everyone to understand our expectations.

    

On campus experience

What will it be like when I arrive on campus?

The University takes the health and wellbeing of our students and staff very seriously and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students and staff.

We’ll also be introducing training for all students so everyone understands our expectations. As it gets closer to October, we will provide you with more information.

What will the student experience be like on campus? How will I have fun?

We know that if social distancing measures are still in place, it will be a different student experience, but we are certain it will be a positive experience and we are determined to make it loads of fun. Over the last three months our community may have become socially distanced but beyond the physical, our Essex Spirit has brought us closer than ever.

Since lockdown, every week our award-winning Students’ Union have hosted Netflix parties where we get together to enjoy our favourite shows together. Our legendary The Hook open mic night has enjoyed huge success in a virtual space, with singers, actors poets and performers all taking to the virtual stage for the enjoyment of huge audiences. We have a host of Essex Life Online events, everything from yoga and anxiety busting sessions, to online art classes and pub quizzes.

Our postgraduate community have been actively engaging too, in everything from our business and entrepreneurship webinar series to discussions and collaborations through our Essex Women’s Network and our Parent’s Network.

Many have found our mindfulness and resilience online workshops vital during this period and record numbers have been taking part in our sporting challenges on social media, from footballing skills to interval sprints and plank challenges, there’s something for everyone in our unique and diverse Essex community.

We are making friends, reaching out and getting through this by merit of our close connections. Some of us may be physically further apart – but in our Essex Spirit, we’ve never been closer together.

What if I contract COVID-19 whilst I'm in the UK?

We are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our students. We follow the advice of Public Health England at all times and have processes in place to support our students.

If you are an International / EU student, the UK government has confirmed that overseas visitors to England, including Tier 4 international students, will not be charged for:

  • testing for coronavirus (even if the test shows you do not have coronavirus)
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For more information, please see the NHS website.

We also have a GP surgery on our Colchester Campus, and there are hospitals near all of our campuses.

What if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on Campus?

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We have effectively managed our student community so far, including all of those who have stayed on our campuses this spring and summer. 

Glossary of Online Learning Terms

  • Blended learning - Deliberate mixture of face-to-face and online learning methods.
  • Delivery - The way in which teaching is packaged or distributed to enable and support the learning process (e.g. face-to-face lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars)
  • Dual-mode delivery -  The use of in person and online teaching methods at the same time. This might involve face-to-face and online students learning at exactly the same time.
  • A-synchronous learning - A learner-centred approach to education, it enables students to study without having to be in a particular place at a specific time (e.g. reading blogs, pre-recorded lessons, discussions forums)
  • Synchronous learning - Students learning together in real-time, but not necessarily on-campus. Classroom teaching is the most common form of this type of learning, but it can also include one-to-one tutorials and webinars conducted on Zoom. This allows for real-time interaction between a teacher and their students.
  • Virtual Learning Environment - A web-based platform that supports digital learning. They enable educators to upload, create and manage a variety of learning resources and assessment activities in central, online location.

 

 

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