We just can’t cope with essay deadlines, moan ‘snowflake’ students
GROWING numbers of ‘snowflake’ students are appealing for special exemptions after missing essay deadlines or exams – because they overslept or were ‘stressed out’ by the tests.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has found that top universities, i ncluding Oxford and Cambridge, were inundated with thousands of appeals last year by undergraduates fearing they could lose vital marks for failing to complete assessments.
Students are able to plead with an official panel of academics to be allowed more time to finish work or retake an exam or stage of a course if they can show ‘ extenuating circumstances’ such as illness or serious personal problems.
But figures obtained from Freedom of Information requests show that the numbers of such appeals are rising dramatically – and academics say undergraduates are playing the system.
Among unsuccessful excuses given were that a student missed an exam by a few minutes because she had ‘overslept’. A second youngster argued that he was ‘distracted’ because he had to buy items for his unfurnished flat. And a third student claimed to ‘get stressed around examination periods and had found it difficult to cope’.
It comes amid mounting criticism of the ‘snowflake’ generation who are less able to cope with the stresses of university life than their predecessors.
Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University’s Centre for Employment and Educa- tion Research, said that because universities were more sensitive to the mental health of students, they were granting more requests, which was fuelling a rise in submissions from those trying to take advantage.
Academics at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, which recorded a staggering 10,492 requests last year, expressed alarm at the numbers. One official said that because students could self-certify their illness, without a doctor’s note, ‘it appears the number with illnesses has shot through the roof’.