19 yr old daughter just failed first year at uni - studies terminated - what can we do? (long -sorry)!

(95 Posts)
bebemoose Thu 05-Jul-12 13:05:15

My daughter was distraught and said she didnt know why she had failed as her marks were OK. Turns out when we (secretly) checked her emails that she had actually been warned that her grades and attendance were bad in January, and that if they didnt improve, her attendance would be taken into account when deciding whether to allow her to continue into the second year. I'm assuming that this is what has happened. I havent taken that up with her yet as she has been at work both days and I dont want to upset her and make her lose her job.

I want to see someone at the uni to discuss how her marks for the year only average 35%, which I dont wish to challenge, just have them explained. I have rung every day since we found out on Tuesday and been passed around from pillar to post, with no one being able to arrange for us to see the correct person.

We have just paid £600 rent for her first quarter in her accommodation for next year, and have absolutely no idea what to do with her if she cant carry on in uni as this is the one thing she really wanted to do. She was ill quite a lot this year - as in she often rang and said she wasnt well, but nothing she can substantiate as an excuse. She was diagnosed as dyslexic (through the uni) towards the end of term, so I was wondering whether to try mitigating circumstances, as she would have been given extra time to do the work if they had known at the beginning of the year - but this still doesnt excuse the poor attendance, so not sure if this is worthwhile pursuing.

She seems to have put it all to the back of her mind and is now (after the initial crying on Tuesday) all happiness and behaving as if nothing is wrong. (I'm sure she is just putting on a brave face as she woks on a checkout and has to be nice to customers.) I, by contrast, am crying, not able to sleep, think about it constantly and am basically completely stressed by it all.

I know we need to see her tutor to ask whether she has any options at that uni, like repeating the first year or transferring to another course, but I can't even get hold of her to book an appt (obviously because they are so busy).

I dont really know what I am asking here - maybe just how do I get through this - I was already very stressed as my older daughter is getting married in September and we have lots of organising for that, I run a Scout and a Guide uniform shop and do the website for my local cat charity. I also work almost full time and, although married, do not have a good relationship with my husband - think separate lives in the same house. And I'm so cross that this has ruined my older daughter's day - as on the same day she graduated with a first, and any celebrations were just cancelled.

Maybe instead of trying to see someone and get her back on another course and fighting this, we should just walk away and try again in another year or so, when she is older and wiser? I cant decide if that would be the less stressful route. I cant actually think straight. Sorry this is so long - I needed to put it all down.

TheProvincialLady Thu 05-Jul-12 13:09:52

The best thing to do would be to leave it entirely, 100% up to your daughter to deal with. She needs to grow up and take responsibility for her lack of attendance and effort, not have you run round sorting it out for her. If she feels she has a good case for being allowed to resit exams, etc, she should get on and make that case. Otherwise, a year or two more on that checkout and no hope of a better job might make her rethink her priorities. Step back and let her grow up.

IceCubes Thu 05-Jul-12 13:15:24

I would skip the tutor and go straight for the dean of the university. Write down all of the extenuating circumstances and beg to resit the first year. On most courses you simply need to PASS rather than achieve a certain grade. Is there no way of her resitting exams during the summer holiday? Are there certain modules that have let her average down? She needs to get 40% to pass so she's not far off really.

If she's struggling it may not be for her. 40% would be a third class honours at the end of the course. She needs to do what is best for her at the end of the day and if it's that bad she might be better off doing something else.

I know it's tricky, but you have to realise that a 19yo at university is quite different form a 17yo at school. I'm a little surprised that the people you've been calling haven't said clearly "If your daughter wants to discuss this then she will have to contact us about it" as, honestly, it is none of your business.

Your daughter has chosen not to sort this out earlier in the year. You need to sit her down and talk about what she wants to do about this, and how she sees herself moving forward from here. If she wants to ask the university about her grades, and what options she might have there, then it's up to her to call and arrange to see them. Othersied she needs to be thinking about a longer term job - whether that's on a checkout or something else - and you need to think how you plan to arrange practicalities/finances.

I've alsways takent the view that non-students in the household should be paying their way, but that's for you to negotiate.

nemno Thu 05-Jul-12 13:19:19

I really do sympathise bebemoose, I was in exactly this position 4 years ago. The thing is that although I felt sick to the pit of my stomach for months I felt it was really important to let my adult child sort it out themselves. I discussed and supported of course but it was my son that did all the ringing around, attempting to get on another course etc. In the end what he decided to do was take a year out while applying again as this gave him far more options than a panic short term decision.

He got a job, applied through UCAs and was accepted at his first choice uni for the following year. He graduates this month with a 2.1 and has got a graduate career all sorted and is starting his dream job on Aug 1st.

We had to take a hit on paying the rent on his student digs until he could find a replacement tenant. Again, he had to do this himself.

Honestly it was dreadful at the time but he grew up so much in the process that I really think overall it was a valuable experience.

Incaminka Thu 05-Jul-12 13:21:46


I failed my first year. Immature, lazy, too caught up in the going-out-socialising side of it all (I had been in a convent to be fair). I knew it was going to happen and I lied to parents because I didn't want to disappoint them. When they found out my Dad and I fell out big time, mainly because of the lies.

I then worked for a year, starting off in the pub which led to a great summer 18-30 type job and a skiing job in the winter. I learned to focus.

I applied for a less prestigious uni doing a course I loved (originally I was doing classics and wasn't very well supported in the Greek side of it, I then went on to do Eng Lit with creative writing.) My parents were very supportive, but didn't push me to go again, it was me that decided I was ready. I got a good degree. It wasn't a disaster. I know it is disappointing and worrying, but it happens a lot. She will get a degree if she really wants one. If she doesn't she will do something else. Meanwhile she has wonderful parents and she is still your lovely daughter. Some people take longer to grow up.

Gumby Thu 05-Jul-12 13:22:16

I'd suggest she either contacts the uni herself and sorts it out or starts looking for a permanent job & move out

Is her job temporary? At least she's got one

Incaminka Thu 05-Jul-12 13:22:36

PS I went to Cambridge as a post-grad in the end! Something extra to prove!!! ;-)

Indith Thu 05-Jul-12 13:29:58

My first year marks were shite really, I did enough to staay at uni but not much more because like most 18 year olds I was too busy having fun and enjoying being a fresher. Most of us pull our socks up for exams, some leave it a little too late and fail. I'm afraid it sounds like your dd just had a bit too much fun really. I'd suggest she thinks about what she really wants to do and applies for uni again, a little older and wiser. She won't make the same mistake again.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Thu 05-Jul-12 13:30:06

Hi OP, I'm so sorry for your stress.

You have two wonderful events in your life, a daughter with a 1st class degree and another about to get married. Don't let this issue overshadow their achievements / happiness.

Having worked at a university I would advise, no matter how hard it is, to leave this mess entirely to your daughter.

If she is bright and motivated she will find her way in the world, with or without a University education. At 19 you really need to step back and let her make her own mistakes, which she will learn from I'm sure.

fluffyanimal Thu 05-Jul-12 13:30:55

I'm sorry this has upset you so much, but I agree 100% with ProvincialLady that you really need to leave it up to your daughter to sort out. I say this as a university lecturer.

If you can't get hold of any staff, this is because once results are out, support staff take their annual leave and tutors either take annual leave or go on research trips and can be away from the office for much of the summer. However, even if you could, there is a possibility they would not discuss anything with you. At my institution, we are not allowed to discuss our students with anyone but themselves, unless they expressly contact us to say that we can deal with nominated individuals. This is because students are over 18 and it is also a data protection issue.

A few things you might discuss with your daughter.
1: re being dyslexic and being allowed extra time in assessments. At my institution, you need not just a confirmation of diagnosis but to be in receipt of disability support allowance to qualify for extra time. There may not have been time to apply for DSA if she only got diagnosed near the end of the year.
2. The first year at university is not a free ride. Even if the marks count only to allow her to progress to the next year of study and do not count towards the final year, students who do well in their first years are much more likely to go on and do well in their finals. Students can be debarred from taking resits if their attendance is poor and if they were warned about that attendance and did not provide any evidence of mitigating circumstances. If she didn't respond to warnings and didn't come up with any doctor's letters for illness or similar, then there is little that can be done.
3. University is not just about studying; it's about learning to be responsible for yourself, managing your own study. If she couldn't respond to attendance warnings, or provide the proper documentation about illness absences, then I'm afraid that's her fault.
4. Find out whether she in fact enjoyed the course or whether it turned out not to be what she expected, whether in terms of difficulty or content. Maybe uni isn't for her or maybe this particular course isn't for her but she could apply for something else through clearing in August and still be on a course somewhere in September.

Either way, hopefully this will be a salutary lesson for her and she will grow up a bit.

ivykaty44 Thu 05-Jul-12 13:34:52

Just remember it is really important to fail, it is also very important that when you do fail you are allowed to pick up your own failure and sort it out how you wish.

That way you learn

So please stop, pedal backwards, make tea and cake and leave your adult daughter to learn

fluffyanimal Thu 05-Jul-12 13:35:02

And actually, just re-reading your OP, WTAF you cancelled celebrations for your older daughter graduating with a first??? shock

Procrastinating Thu 05-Jul-12 13:43:10

I was 'asked to leave' my first university for low grades & non-attendance of tutorials. A few years later when I had worked and grown up a bit I went to a different university and ended up with a first. I simply wasn't ready & had other priorities at 18.
It is not a disaster for your daughter by any means, I agree with the others- leave her to sort it out so she can work out what she actually wants to do.

Libra Thu 05-Jul-12 13:51:53

Another university lecturer here.

I agree with the others - I simply would not be allowed to speak to you as her parent. I could only discuss the situation with your daughter. I would recommend that she email her course leader rather than try to telephone. I am in and out of the office at the moment and in a lot of research meetings. Therefore I am easier to contact by email.

Note that there is a time limit at my university on appeals - 20 days after the receipt of the notification of results.

I would base any appeal around mitigating circumstances - it might be possible for her to resit the year.

But I also agree that university may just not be her thing at the moment. There is nothing worse than a reluctant student who does not want to be there and is failing to achieve. She might also feel that she is being compared to her sister and, if she is unlikely to get a first, it would be better not to get anything at all.

Good luck, but you need to let her sort it out (or not sort it out) herself.

albertswearengen Thu 05-Jul-12 13:55:56

I agree with the others who say she needs to sort it out herself. If you do this for her and get her into second year I suspect the same thing will happen again. She has to really want to be there and the fact she doesn't seem bothered means she doesn't care or just expects someone to sort it out for her.

It happens to lots of kids -both my sister and my cousin failed their first year at University and a couple of years out working in rubbish jobs and watching how their friends and siblings were moving on to better things made them realise they needed to go to back University for a reason.

I know you want your dd not to mess up her life but she is still young and this is not the end of the world. In this economic climate a poor degree is just a waste of money and more of a hindrance.

OliviaSvelteMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 05-Jul-12 13:56:19



I failed my first year. Immature, lazy, too caught up in the going-out-socialising side of it all (I had been in a convent to be fair). I knew it was going to happen and I lied to parents because I didn't want to disappoint them.

Incaminka are you me? blush
OP, it does all work out in the end.

NoComet Thu 05-Jul-12 15:08:08

I failed my first year, just doing the wrong course.

My Dad did write a letter for me, can't remember the details, it's a very long time ago.
I resat and failed my exams (I shouldn't have done resat but I'd never failed an exam in my life).
After failing again, I took a year out and went back to do the course I should have done. (And would have done if I'd got my A'Level results before applying.)

I Ioved it and got a 2i

I'm guessing in these days of helicopter parents, universities want to deal with the student directly. However, they only know who signed the email not who helped draft itwink

Please be supportive, it's not a nice thing to go through.

cory Thu 05-Jul-12 17:41:24

Another university lecturer here and I agree with everything fluffyanimal said.

If she hasn't got the basic maturity to organise such things as doctor's letters, then she is unlikely to have the required maturity to cope with Yrs 2 and 3 too, so it is doubtful if letting her stay on the course would do her any favours.

And really, for you to see her tutor to discuss her marks would be absolutely out of the question- it would be like your husband asking to see your employer to discuss why you had been sacked from a job. You just can't do that with another adult's life.

But she should try emailing her tutors- email rather than phone as they are likely to be away on research trips and conferences at this time of year.

Brightspark1 Thu 05-Jul-12 20:05:17

Are you sure she is just putting on a brave face? She may have realised that she was doing the wrong course, at the wrong uni, or not ready for uni and may be relieved that she is not going back after the summer. Step back and give her some space to work it out for herself. Oh and have that celebration for your other daughter- that sounds a bit harsh

bebemoose Thu 05-Jul-12 23:13:05

Thank you for all your replies. I have had a talk with my daughter and it seems that when she was sent the email about poor attendance she had not missed any lectures up to that point. She also had a tutor report at that time which listed attendance as 'good', so she was very confused. She was actually ill when she received that email and was so worried she went into class poorly. Her grades were all Bs and C's which would lead anyone to believe they were doing OK. However, at the beginning of the year she also had 2 F's in one subject, and at the end of the year the last assignment in the same subject was not handed in, as she went several times to the lecturer at the appointed place and time and could not find her. We, of course, said she should have contacted her tutor and explained the situation, not just left it, which is probably evidence of her immaturity in dealing with this sort of thing, and so she had 3 Fs and one B in that subject in the end.

She does like the course and wants to stay on if possible. It seems that she is not very good at standing up for herself when tutors do not help when asked, and the whole class repeatedly asked for a marking scheme with assignment weightings which was actually denied them - as they would be 'chasing marks'. How on earth were they supposed to know which assignments to spend the most/least time on without a marking scheme?

I'm sorry I didnt make it clear in my OP that I did not expect that anyone at the uni would talk to me about her marks etc. I was merely trying to get someone to make us an appointment so that we could go together to discuss it. There is no way I could let her sort this out by herself - she wouldn't be brave enough or ask the right questions.

I do take the point that if she is not mature enough to be able to organise her uni life without parental input she may benefit from a year or two out of uni. Unfortunately I have no idea what she will do instead (her job is seasonal, so only for the summer), but I can see that this may well be what has to be done.

Yes I did cancel the celebrations for my first daughter - she understood - we were all feeling very miserable and not in the mood. It's just a shame that it put a damper over her day too.

Again - thank you for the input - She has emailed her tutor asking for a meeting, so we will see what happens.

OliviaLMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 06-Jul-12 01:04:55

Good luck to her. As per my post above. I just also didn't really know how to deal with university/how to study/what the tutors/lecturers wanted. I thought it was great that I only had 8 compulsory hours of lectures a week but I was not mature enough to get what I should have been doing for the rest of the time. (I went age 17) and just buried my head in the sand in a major way.
I realise now that tutorial style would have been better for me (I like talking, ask Justine grin). <overshares>

Anyway as I said Best of luck.

SmileItsSunny Fri 06-Jul-12 05:09:57

I have a similar story to Olivia and Inca. In retrospect I was just not ready at 18. I worked through the summer then applied for the same course at a different university, through clearing. The second time round I was petrified of missing any lectures! I have now been working in my field for 10 years. Keep lines of communication open with your daughter, she may be embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed in herself - she needs to know that you love her regardless.

Chubfuddler Fri 06-Jul-12 05:25:37

You need to let her sort this out herself. The fact you say "there is no way I could let her sort this out herself" speaks volumes. Its also telling that you e posted on teenagers - yes by the skin of her teeth she's a teen but she's over 18 and has to take some responsibility for herself. Words fail me about just not handing in an assignment because she couldn't get hold of the tutor - something about that doesn't stack up I'm afraid. When I was at university all assignments had to be handed in to the faculty office. I believe many now accept submission to a secure email. Sounds like she's struggled to keep on top of her work and that's just an excuse.

I know it's hard to see her "fail" but it could be the best thing for her. My brother dropped out of university at the start of his second year, worked as a hospital cleaner and then an auxiliary while he sorted himself out, then went on to do his nursing degree. Fifteen years on you'd never know he'd had a shaky start.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 08:01:27

I see how difficult this is for you all and I do see how these things can happen.

But this sentence is still a worry: "There is no way I could let her sort this out by herself - she wouldn't be brave enough or ask the right questions."

You do realise, don't you, that at university you are expected to take the same level of responsibility as in a real job or on an apprentice program.

Supposing your dd had decided not to go to university but had taken a full-time job instead- would you really be saying that you had to be present when she spoke to her employer because there is no way she could manage it on her own?

There is no getting round the fact that your dd is now an adult and has to live her own adult life.

Again, see what you're doing here: "Unfortunately I have no idea what she will do instead (her job is seasonal, so only for the summer), but I can see that this may well be what has to be done." You think of finding her a job as something you have to have an idea about, something that has to be done for her, not she has to actively do.

Agree with others - she has to sort this out. You can be supportive while leaving her to do the actual running around. She really needs to understand it's her problem to sort, not yours.

I'm afraid I really don't believe the 'couldn't find someone to hand it into' line. That's not how coursework works these days. It's all handed into a faculty office - with very very clear deadlines and it's made very clear you can't even be five minutes late.

One of my best friends at uni was kicked out after his first year (he was utterly lazy - one of my favourite people in the world but really lazy). He'd already paid the deposit on his house share so he stayed there for a year working and applying for other universities.

TheSoggyBunny Fri 06-Jul-12 08:17:50

Wants to <like> Olivias post.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Fri 06-Jul-12 08:21:01

... we could go together to discuss it. There is no way I could let her sort this out by herself - she wouldn't be brave enough or ask the right questions.

How on earth do you think she will cope with second and third year? It gets a lot more demanding you know. She will be expected to be confident and assertive in her dealings with tutors etc. There is good pastoral care at universities but they are treated like adults!

I'm sorry, I do have sympathy for both, but I think you need to cut the apron strings.

bebemoose Fri 06-Jul-12 08:28:41

Chubfuddler - You need to let her sort this out herself. The fact you say "there is no way I could let her sort this out herself" speaks volumes.

What - that I love and support my daughter no matter what age she is? Yes she is technically an 'adult' but 18 is just an arbitrary number decided by the government - it doesnt mean she is capable of sorting out this sort of mess! Years ago she wouldnt have been an 'adult' until age 21!

Its also telling that you posted on teenagers - yes by the skin of her teeth she's a teen but she's over 18 and has to take some responsibility for herself.

I posted on teenagers as I tried 'education' and could only find forums up to secondary, although my older daughter did find one last night but I think she went into the site a different route. I know it wasnt the correct forum but didnt know where else to post.

Words fail me about just not handing in an assignment because she couldn't get hold of the tutor - something about that doesn't stack up I'm afraid. When I was at university all assignments had to be handed in to the faculty office. I believe many now accept submission to a secure email. Sounds like she's struggled to keep on top of her work and that's just an excuse.

Yes - I know this was stupid. She should have got hold of another tutor and asked for help. But all along she has found that when asking for help she has been ignored or rebuffed and I suppose she just let it go, not thinking of the consequences. The assignment had to be handed to the tutor within a three hour window - during which she also had a class - not to a secure email or the faculty office.

She has attended lectures and done her work - not been partying all the time - and as she was getting B's and C's for all her work (after the initial two assignments) she thougt she was doing all right. There are a couple of final papers we dont know the marks for. They have been denied access to a marking scheme with assignment weightings so they didnt know which ones to spend more time on. (The class actually asked for a marking scheme and were told that they couldnt have it as they would be 'chasing marks'.)

It may well be that the best thing for her will be to walk away and take a year out, but first of all she needs to discuss her options with the tutor - and it seems that this is almost impossible - no one answers their phone and we cant make an appt until they do. She has emailed her tutor but dont know if she will be in to uni to see it! My frustration is with the lack of support - there should be someone available to see the students that have failed and talk it through with them. Instead it seems that they have washed their hands of students who fail.

bebemoose Fri 06-Jul-12 08:32:06

I'd just like to add that I saw the actual assignment that had to be handed in to the tutor and it clearly states at the bottom that it has to be handed to her at a certain time in a certain office - so she isnt lying about this!

ruddynorah Fri 06-Jul-12 08:39:39

Your dd does not sound ready for university. I feel very sorry for your older daughter who did so well but had her celebrations cancelled and is now helping you post this saga on here.

You are there to support your adult daughter, not do everything for her.

juneau Fri 06-Jul-12 08:55:32

I agree that you really need to step back a bit and let you daughter sort this out herself. She will continue to be helpless and unconfident if you keep taking over and managing everything for her. I realise it must be a hard habit to break, as her mother who has done everything for her since she was born, but if she really isn't capable of sorting this out herself then she should definitely take a year out to mull over her options and grow up a bit.

Perhaps a stint working overseas would be good - to develop her sense of herself a bit? She could au pair or work as a chalet girl (all the major ski companies start recruiting around now - so it's a good time to be looking). She sounds like a very typical 19-year-old who has never had to do anything for herself because you've always been there to do it for her. Please, do her a favour and make her stand on her own two feet. You can't live her life for her!

Years ago she would have been working away from home age 14/15.

You really shouldn't sorting this out for her. Providing advice and a listening ear, and being her sounding board, yes, going along to meetings with tutors? No.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 09:06:17

"It may well be that the best thing for her will be to walk away and take a year out, but first of all she needs to discuss her options with the tutor - and it seems that this is almost impossible - no one answers their phone and we cant make an appt until they do. She has emailed her tutor but dont know if she will be in to uni to see it!"

The tutor will almost certainly be checking her emails wherever she happens to be- in a research library, at a foreign conference, attending training sessions. She is unlikely to be anywhere near her office phone at a time when there is so much work to be done elsewhere. I was in the office yesterday and it was like the Marie Celeste; yet I know all my colleagues are working flat out and reachable at the touch of a computer button. Phones are not a good means of communicating with a class of people who spend so much time in places where you are not allowed to use them.

"Yes she is technically an 'adult' but 18 is just an arbitrary number decided by the government - it doesnt mean she is capable of sorting out this sort of mess! Years ago she wouldnt have been an 'adult' until age 21!"

Yes and even more years ago she would never have come of age at all, as a woman: her father would have been responsible for her until she married. That doesn't mean she can use the lack of responsibilities of older days as an excuse for today.

The fact remains that *a university is an adult environment*; if you go there, you accept that.

Just as if you take a job, you accept whatever responsibilities come with that job- you don't expect to start the job and then be able to turn round and say "but that's unfair, I shouldn't have to take responsibilities at my age, and I need my mum to talk to the manager". If you've taken the job, you've accepted what it entails.

I quite agree that it does sound as if this university could do something about their submission system. We have a system where you submit electronically, but the faculty office is open at submission time and will deal with any queries. There should have been something similar for your dd. But if she hasn't even been in touch with the faculty office, she might not know.

The fact still remains that there are very few options open for her where she doesn't have to take adult responsibilities. So the more you nudge her in that direction, the more you will help her.

juneau Fri 06-Jul-12 09:06:24

Plus, if I was a tutor I'd take a very dim view of any student who showed up for a meeting with their mother in tow, who then did all the talking.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 09:10:45

It is precisely because you love her that you have to support her in a way that helps rather than hinders. That means giving practical suggestions on what she should do, not trying to do it for her.

mummytime Fri 06-Jul-12 09:12:02

I would talk to the Student Support services, especially if she is dyslexic, as that adds a lot to organisational skills. You could also talk to a GP if one has seen her for her ill health and stress.

My friends who work at Unis all complain a lot about having parents far more involved nowadays, but also accept that with the cost of going to Uni it is not just the student who has a vested interest. (Unlike my day you can't fail a year and go back to do 3 years of a degree free of charge and with a grant.)

It could also be that if she is working as well as studying it is all too much.

HeadsShouldersKneesandToes Fri 06-Jul-12 09:13:06

Absolutely right that she needs to take responsibility and be a grownup. Under no circumstances should you allow her to move back in with you rent-free without structured activity work/volunteering etc. You can be emotionally supportive without babying her by sorting things out.

I think it might be better for her to walk away from this uni, take a year to grow up (perhaps volunteering overseas?) and giving Uni another go starting Oct 2013 with a bit more maturity, wisdom and self-knowledge.

I very nearly failed my first year - scraped a pass by 1 mark and was allowed to stay on. I never learned my lesson and ended up with a mediocre degree. I think I would have been happier in the long run if I had failed and been sent off to grow up nstead of continuing in the same vein for another 2 years.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 09:14:02

The more I think of it, the more I like juneau's suggestion of encouraging her to take a year working abroad. I worked abroad at this age and it did wonders for my confidence.

I think you have some excellent advice from people who've worked in this area, OP.

I just wanted to say: if she's dyslexic, organization might be a huge struggle. It's also quite tough being diagnosed this late, and she will no doubt find it really helps in the end, but it must have been a shock.

I don't think it helps to second-guess the university about mark schemes and why she got poor attendance. Your DD might well want to ask for a clear report of the issues, but you sound as if you're inclined to doubt or blame the university. I would say, I think it's quite rare for universities to kick students out if they don't have good reason - lots of places will give a student who fails the first year chances to retake exams, at the least. It seems surprising that a student who has just been diagnosed as dyslexic and who'd failed her exams would not be given a chance to retake, unless perhaps you've got wires crossed and something else is going on?

It is really scary having to organize yourself for the first time and lots of people find it much harder than they expected - but she needs to get better at doing it and at least at emailing her tutors on her own behalf so she can understand. This is not remotely as important as a two-day job, she needs to prioritize.

I hope she gets it sorted out.

Pagwatch Fri 06-Jul-12 09:36:52

I agree with everyone else, in particular Corys posts.

My son has just compacted his first year at uni. The uni messed up his modules for next year. He has struggled to get a job. He is having to manage his cooking, cleaning, finances, etc. He has had to sort out off campus accommodation for next year.

Through all this he has talked to us and used us as a sounding board and for the advice we gladly give when he asks but he has done it all alone.

He is very proud of himself and gaining confidence by the day. Just like most of his peers.
If I suggested going to a meeting with the university with him he would be horrified. In fact I just asked him and he said 'jesus Christ, are you kidding?'

Let your daughter learn independence. Keeping her as a helpless child is not a gift. It just feels like one.

babyheaves Fri 06-Jul-12 10:06:26

I know from working in the sector that Universities are loathed to fail students as each student is a loss of income.

The fact that your DD was failed suggests to me that you are not getting the full story from her with regards to her attendance and the like.

I know you say your elder child was OK with not celebrating her first, but for someone showing such concern for one of her children, I am very surprised that you wouldn't celebrate fully the success of one of your children because of the failure of the other.

The students who do well at Uni are the ones that are prepared to put in the work and effort themselves. Caring about your daughter doesn't mean doing it for her.

Oh, and reorganise some celebrations for your elder DC to show you care for them as well.

juneau Fri 06-Jul-12 10:32:37

Oh, and reorganise some celebrations for your elder DC to show you care for them as well.

I agree. You're younger DD's failure shouldn't stop you celebrating the three years of hard work that your older DD put in. Reorganise for a later date when you feel you can celebrate her success.

fluffyanimal Fri 06-Jul-12 11:06:53

I unfortunately have had a lot of experience smelling rats in students' stories about their attendance and submission of assessments. I smell rats here:
when she was sent the email about poor attendance she had not missed any lectures up to that point
The best explanation I can come up with is that maybe she was there but didn't sign the attendance register; or that she was late and thus marked as absent. Either way, her responsibility.
she went several times to the lecturer at the appointed place and time and could not find her
Sorry, I just don't buy it. She might have gone once and found the tutor nipped to the loo.
The assignment had to be handed to the tutor within a three hour window - during which she also had a class
Her responsibility to let the tutor know in advance and arrange an alternative time. But if she was at another class, did she really have time to go to the tutor "several times"?
But all along she has found that when asking for help she has been ignored or rebuffed
Entirely possible that each time she was told that the problems were of her own making and she just hasn't liked what she's heard.

In response to another of your comments:
My frustration is with the lack of support - there should be someone available to see the students that have failed and talk it through with them. Instead it seems that they have washed their hands of students who fail.
Your daughter didn't just fail - she failed and was debarred from resits because of poor attendance. For that kind of situation there will be a huge paper trail, evidencing letters/emails sent to your daughter advising her of her position at various points and inviting her to meetings to discuss it and/or setting deadlines by which performance/attendance must improve. Unis don't chuck students out lightly and not without bucketloads of evidence that would stand up in an appeal. It sounds to me like she's probably put her head in the sand. Has she been seeing her personal tutor or whatever they might call it at her uni - a tutor assigned to monitor her progress throughout her whole degree and act as the first point of contact for any pastoral difficulties.

Lancelottie Fri 06-Jul-12 11:13:57

I do have some (in fact considerable) sympathy for the Op here, and am wondering what I do now to stop having a thread like this myself in three years' time.

OP, has your daughter been like this all the way through school, and have you perhaps become so used to picking up the pieces for her that you didn't even notice you were doing it?

DS needs huge support in organising anything (he has Aspergers, and a full statement), and left entirely to himself would not have handed a single GCSE assignment in on time. Concerted effort from staff and parents has pushed him to get everything done. But would it have been better to let him drift and fail, just to get the lesson home early? If not, when do you stand back?

Hope she works out what to do, with your support, OP.

ZZZenAgain Fri 06-Jul-12 11:20:02

Are you getting anywhere with this? She has emailed the tutor, so eventually the tutor will see that email and respond. If you have only 20 days to deal with this (post further down the thread) and are running out of time, perhaps she needs to write a letter to the dean and get it off pronto asking if there is any possibility of resetting exams, not listing every problem but concentrating on the dsylexia. Only do this if she is seriously willing and able (time-wise) to put in a real effort to swot.

Maybe she was a bit lost in the university system and needs a more structured course. I realise you are very upset about this atm and want to first see if she can get back on the university course. If not, is there something similar to what she was studying which she could pursue in a different environment?

Hopefullyrecovering Fri 06-Jul-12 11:27:38

I agree with the consensus, which can be summarised as:

Your DD didn't do the work and has to face up to the consequences


This isn't the end of the world, though it might feel like it


She needs to sort this one out herself - she's an adult!

TheSpokenNerd Fri 06-Jul-12 11:29:59

OP I was VERY like your DD and it took me until I was 23 to get it together with no parental help and get myself onto a suitable course....my parents left me to it...I bumbled along in crappy jobs and then got it together. Your DD will too...let her sort this out...it will be the best thing for her.

MrClaypole Fri 06-Jul-12 11:30:31

Another person here to confirm that universities do not chuck people out lightly.

I have recently completed my MA and there were several students who completely took this piss in terms of attendance, effort and handing work in on time. They were all kept on the course bar 2.

Their behaviour impacted on the other students as there was a lot of group work which these students did not put their full effort into hence lower marks for the whole group. Because they turned up late and missed things, the lecturers were spending time chasing and supporting the piss takers when they should have been working more with those students who were making an effort.

The 2 that got booted off were repeatedly warned - verbally and in writing- of what they had/not done and the consequences of not improving. They were offered help and support from student services/counsellors and tutors. My uni had a very clear process that must be followed when dealing with poor performance from a student, I'm sure this is the case at most/all unis.

I think your daughter is not telling you the full story here. She needs to learn from this experience and take responsibility for her failure, not blame it on the uni staff which is what she seems to be doing at the moment.

Uni is not just about getting a paper certificate, it is about learning life skills and taking responsibility for your actions as you are expected to do in the world of work.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 11:34:47

I wouldn't go directly from the tutor to the dean- there will be several people in between better placed to deal with this.

Let her keep emailing the tutor, but also Student Services, the Special Cases tutor, Pastoral Support officer, convenor of her programme, head of department even.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 11:43:37

Lancelottie, I too can sympathise, especially as I have a ds who might well turn out similar to the OPs dd.

I think my take is that I will help him to get organised to get through GCSEs as that is a compulsory thing that everybody has to do and so he'll have to muddle through somehow. But not everybody has to go to university and if he can't cope with the kind of independence it requires, then he'd be better off not going.

In the case of a known SN, such as Aspergers, the university will have support in place, but if the student cannot access the support without the help of a parent, then imho it is totally unrealistic to believe that they will cope with other aspects of university life.

I think if it got to that stage, I would just have to accept that that was it- just as I will have to accept that there are a large number of jobs dd cannot take because they demand a level of mobility and physical fitness that she is unlikely to achieve.

But I would hope that the Sixth Form years could be spent in gradually building up independence: there is a big difference between a 16yo and a 19yo.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Jul-12 11:45:07

They have been denied access to a marking scheme with assignment weightings so they didnt know which ones to spend more time on. (The class actually asked for a marking scheme and were told that they couldnt have it as they would be 'chasing marks'.)

I wouldn't put this forward in any submissions you make, OP. You cannot use as an argument the fact that your DD wanted to know which things she could coast on and which to take seriously. The answer about chasing marks was effectively saying the same. She had to do ALL her assignments conscientiously. I have to say I would not have dreamt of asking for a marking scheme. The very idea of selective effort indicates to me your DD was either not coping or not committed.

I know it is hard to hear, but speaking as someone who takes a lot of trainees just out of uni, I am also reading between the lines and wondering if your DD has just not been engaging with the work, and with her tutors. I do sympathise, because I had a very very hard first year at university myself.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 06-Jul-12 11:49:31

OP, I'm sorry you're going through a tough time. But sorry, you aren't getting the full picture here. Maybe your younger daughter has felt under pressure to shine because she has a super brainy big sister who has clearly got the hang of university (ie to get a first) and didn't want to let you down by admitting she hasn't done what she needed to do? Maybe she is genuinely struggling with the course or institution and one or other isn't right for her? Maybe something else... But unis hate to throw students out (it impacts on their rankings, and they lose the tuition fees), so it really is a last resort action.

But you need to sit down and have an honest, no blame conversation with her about what happened this year and what she wants to do next. Then she has to go away and do whatever (speak to tutor; try to get deposit back on accommodation; apply for a new course / Uni; look for a job...) with your support in the background.

I agree the OP is probably not getting the full story here (and incidentally, there's nothing especially wrong with adult children not giving all the details to parents, but that's another story right now). But I would guess the daughter may not be deliberately lying so I want to say that in case the OP feels upset/goes in all guns blazing.

I don't have much experience teaching yet, but what I have noticed and what we got extensive guidance about during training sessions was that university students quite often have the wrong expectations about what's their responsibility to find out or follow up.

- A student should find out for themselves which events - classes, lectures, seminars, lab work, whatever - are mandatory and how attendance will be assessed.

- A student should know what is the approved means of recording sick days (phone may be fine, but in writing is usually the rule).

- A student should find out what to do about extensive illness. Illness is obviously not her fault, but if the rule is that she needs a doctor's note for more than x many days sick, she needs to do that. Maybe she isn't counting sick days as missing attendance and the university is?

- She should email to clarify about the conflicting attendance reports. It is her responsibility to set the record straight if she believes she was emailed in error.

- She should know what grades count as 'good'. What does a B, C, or F correlate to in terms of the percentage mark scheme?

These are all things that a lot of students will complain about, saying 'but no one told me!' or 'but I didn't know to do that!'. She needs to know. If she gets back next year, it might help to go to the disability resource centre and ask if someone could go through the rules with her - it may be realy hard if you're dyslexic to go through a long, often badly-formatted document like most university rulebooks, but she could at least take responsibility for getting someone to help her work through it.

Last thing ... you say 'the whole class repeatedly asked for a marking scheme with assignment weightings which was actually denied them - as they would be 'chasing marks'.'

This does seem a little rude to me, to be honest. It does depend on the context, but the class are effectively saying 'do more work - I don't trust your marking, teacher'. I would bet that - hidden in that same rulebook - there will be guidance on assessment procedures. Students may be used to A-Level style tickboxes. This may not apply at university. It's not necessarily fair to demand it.

Sorry, that was so monster I obviously cross-posted with people who said it much better.

Lancelottie Fri 06-Jul-12 12:11:24

Cory -- thanks, won't hijack further at the moment, but you may well be right that it'll be unrealistic to expect him to cope with important aspects of university life. Remembering to eat, for instance...
He's so intelligent and able in all the less important ways, though sad.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 12:34:22

It is very hard, isn't it, Lancelottie?

I have a 15yo dd who, though obviously well equipped with brains, hasn't at the moment got the emotional or even the physical stamina to cope even with secondary school. All I can do is try my best to help her to become independent and trust that she will find her niche when she needs to. But it may need the whole family being prepared to think out of the box.

Sorry, OP- hi-jack.

Sabriel Fri 06-Jul-12 16:31:21

Our DS1 dropped out of uni in his first year. He'd been ill (he said) and had just stopped going to class. DH had a meeting with the tutor (and DS obviously) to see what the best course of action was and it transpired there was no evidence of work ie he hadn't handed anything in. He came home, went out to work and went back the next year but still couldn't manage and had to accept it wasn't going to happen.

He's now 24 and about to start an apprenticeship. He's been working in the same job all these years and living independently. It is hard but at some point they do have to grow up. Of course, school now demands so much input from parents that it's very difficult to suddenly be told you are now surplus.

Ds2 has just finished his 3rd year of uni and got a shock when they rang to say he'd failed his final exams. But those extra years make a difference and by the time he told us he'd already spoken to his tutor and the disability unit at his uni, had rung several other unis to see if he could transfer there and had sorted out himself what he wanted to do. He just told us what he was going to do, rather than ask for our help.

I understand completely that feeling of wanting to srt it out for your DC but as the others have said she'll probably have to suck this up, work for a year and perhaps apply next year once she's grown up a bit. You don't say how far away from home she was but in our DS1's case he was right at the far end of the country and it was just too far when it all started to go wrong. Had he been close enough to pop home when he first got ill there might have been a different outcome.

nkf Fri 06-Jul-12 16:42:23

Plenty of good advice. Please please take your graduating daughter out somewhere nice.

mirry2 Fri 06-Jul-12 16:47:20

Bebemouse I think you have been getting a hard time on this thread. You must be very worried about your dd. Some children take longer than others to grow up and assert themselves. I wouldn't say boo to a goose until I was well into my 30s.

albertswearengen Fri 06-Jul-12 16:55:16

I do feel for your daughter it is really scary when things start to wrong at Uni- when you miss a few lectures and then a few assignments and then you daren't go back to the tutorials because you missed too many or didn't hand in assignments and are too scared to talk to your tutor. The whole thing snowballs until it is one big stressful mess - I have known quite a few people in my long university career where this has happened. They told their parents all sorts of rubbish because they were too embarrassed to admit they messed up somewhere along the way.
Often they managed in certain modules but in others where it was a bit hard or boring things went wrong fairly easily.
One of my flatmates convinced us and his parents that he was doing fine right up until the exam results and it turns out he had basically given up 6 months before and hadn't been near the University. He left and started again 2 years later and got his degree easily.

prettysunset Fri 06-Jul-12 21:02:36

mirry2- I also think that Bebemoose has been given a hard time on this thread. WTF is wrong with caring for your 'adult' child? If more parents showed support and interest in their children post 18 maybe we would not have such messed up late teen and early twenty somethings in the UK today! What's the alternative? Should Bebemoose kick her out of the house now and let her become another statistic, sitting on street corners getting asbos?

I think that Bebemoose has had some excellent advice here but we cannot judge each case by virue of age. I left for uni at 18 never having even used the washing machine (or made my own bed!) and instantly thrived, we are not all cut from the same cloth.

Much has been made of the missed celebrations for the DD1's 1st class degree...FFS! I'm sure the OP is beating herself up enough for not celebrating this without a bunch of bored harpies goading her! Always troubles me when people respond to post like this in a negative way- The OP must think she has inadvertently posted on IABU!

Hope all ends well OP, what is ment for you wont pass you by. Xx

Chubfuddler Fri 06-Jul-12 21:12:45

She asked these bored harpies their opinions. And she hasn't had a hard time.

JeanBodel Fri 06-Jul-12 21:16:21

I really do sympathise, OP.

But from your posts, you aren't coming across well.

You secretly check your daughter's e-mails.
You 'have no idea what to do with her' if she doesn't stay at uni.

You have been given some good advice on how to support your daughter. This might also be an opportunity to examine the relationship you have with her now that she is an adult. Your posts give the impression that you are finding it hard to accept that she is now grown up and independent of you. In your head she still seems to be a child and you still treat her like a child, organise her life, take responsibility for her decisions. I apologise if that is not the case. But if it is, it will do neither of you any good.

Oh, and 'I'm so cross that this has ruined my older daughter's day' - no, you did that. That was your choice. Don't blame that one on your younger daughter.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Fri 06-Jul-12 21:19:09

Pleased to be characterised as a bored harpie. It's a step up from lazy slattern grin

The OP of course knows her daughter and the situation the best. But the thread is useful in that a lot of people in similar situations, or familiar with University protocol have posted their experience / knowledge.

It's a long way from "let her learn from her own mistakes" to "kick her out to sleep on the streets" hmm

ClaireBunting Fri 06-Jul-12 21:23:06

You don't need to do anything, OP. It is up to your DD to sort out her mess.

prettysunset Fri 06-Jul-12 21:23:15

Chubfuddler. Mincing over which board the OP has posted on...calling it 'telling' isn't a hard time?

Chubfuddler Fri 06-Jul-12 21:23:45

No it isn't.

prettysunset Fri 06-Jul-12 21:27:08

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea bored harpie is so not a step up! Lazy slattern implies < I hope> some higher purpose than cleaning and MN! wink

prettysunset Fri 06-Jul-12 21:28:33

Fair enough then Chub- I stand corrected...

ToothbrushThief Fri 06-Jul-12 21:33:49

I feel for you OP. My DD struggled to cope in Yr 1 at uni but with extenuating circumstances.

The outcome was similar, she wanted to leave but didn't want to take responsibility for that decision.

I did not rush in but hid my shock and disappointment. She considered all her options 1) leave uni 2) get job 3) try another course and 4) return a year later.

It was about 2 months after she'd left that she regretted her action in leaving. She has been accepted to return (extenuating circumstances).

The message I'd strongly give is that it will not work if you get her back in.

It's only going to work if she commits to it

ToothbrushThief Fri 06-Jul-12 21:35:12

If you prop her up she'll never learn how uncomfortable life can be.

MumbleMumm Fri 06-Jul-12 21:47:52

I failed Uni fairly spectacularly. Spent 3 years getting drunk, was just not ready for it. I ended up having panic attacks and mild depression.
I phoned my parents to tell them I had quit (I jumped before I was pushed), then immediately sorted myself out a job in a call centre. I never ever expected that my parents help me to sort the mess out. If I wasn't at Uni I would be earning money - in whatever way I could.
12 years later - and I've just gone back to my job in admin after maternity leave - it amused me to find out they'd advertised my mat cover position as needing to be a graduate grin.

You need to take a step back, give your daughter the best 'I'm really disappointed, now what are you going to do about it' speech and let her develop in to the woman she needs to become to survive as an adult.
You never know - she might surprise you.

WelshCerys Fri 06-Jul-12 21:50:53

OP - take heart from these posts. There are many options open to your DD. With your support and gentle encouragement, she'll be fine. I left Uni after a year and didn't return until I was - well, a lot older, and did pretty well. By then I'd worked, had three kids and done some other bits and pieces of training - went, in the end, to my local Uni and all was good.

Your DD is unlikely to wait that long - but a year or two or more won't hurt - at all.

I agree with a previous post, though. If she wants to go back, she could usefully contact the Dean. If he/she isn't around, it's likely that her letter will be passed to someone who will deal with it. There are so many issues here that perhaps the Dean is the most appropriate person in the first instance.

I slightly disagree with some here - yes, your DD is a young adult and must take responsibility for her decisions but she is very young and clearly has had difficulties. I think, on balance, she should take the lead in communicating with her Uni but when my son was having a hard time re accommodation, nobody at his Uni minded my making general queries. I'm sure a balance will be struck.

To the money you've paid for accommodation - if DD doesn't go back, do all you can to get it back - I'm sure a letter of support from the Uni would help. Hoping that the landlord will be sympathetic - please try.

And have that celebration. You all deserve it.

difficultpickle Fri 06-Jul-12 22:03:15

There is a big difference between caring for an adult child and running their lives for them.

I would have been mortified if my parents had suggested that they contacted my uni tutors. I missed a term through illness but it was left to me to contact the uni and tell them I would be absent (didn't know how long to begin with) and to arrange with friends to get notes (pre computer days).

The only involvement my parents had was dropping and collecting me at the start and end of each year and coming to my graduation ceremony.

TheProvincialLady Fri 06-Jul-12 22:04:12

There is one blessing. My flatmate passed his first year but was kicked out in his second...he didn't tell his parents until they turned up to his graduation ceremony, which he had given them a time and date forshock They were not happy.

cory Fri 06-Jul-12 22:49:44

andyflo, noone is suggesting the OP should not care for her adult child, only that she should care for her in appropriate ways which help her and do not hinder her

it is because some of us have experience of university life that we are pointing out that for a parent to turn up and insist to speak to her tutor because her dd can't be trusted to ask the right questions is not the way to ensure that the university let her stay on: it is probably the one most efficient way to ensure they are confirmed in their view that she is too immature to benefit from the course

there is a middle way between throwing the girl into the street and refusing to do her interviews for her

sashh Sat 07-Jul-12 08:02:12

She is 19, she is an adult.

I don't understand the meeting a tutor to hand in work, I have been to 5 universities and they all had places to hand in where you got a reciept, or had electronic submission.

OK I understand you want to help her, but the uni will not speak to you, that would be a breach of data protection. If you really think she cannot sort this without your help then ask her to e-mail her tutor and say she wants her parents involved because she is not confident enough to self advocate.

I think it was unfair not to celebrate your other daughter's achievement. IF DD2 graduates will you celebrate?

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 07-Jul-12 08:28:18

Op, whatever happens it will be fine. I do believe like others that there is more to this story than she is telling and it really is her problem to sort.

Yes, 19 is still young! Maybe it's not the right decision for her to go back. I passed my first year at uni, much to my amazement but I left because I was miserable and hated it. My parents were very angry and it took me a while to sort myself out but I did and went back to uni 3 years later to do a nursing course. Best thing I ever did, leaving that course!

Not everyone is ready for uni at 18, doesn't mean she has no future. Just let her sort the mess out and face the consequences. We do all have to grow up sometime.

exoticfruits Sat 07-Jul-12 08:51:48

It is very difficult as the parent but I do keep pointing out to those who helicopter their DCs at school that it is doing them no favours. Once they get to university it isn't like school. They are adults and the university won't speak to you as a parent. You only know what your DC chooses to tell you.

I would say that she isn't ready for it-much the best thing to leave, sort herself out, find out what she really wants to do. It is never too late and you will probably all look back on it in future as a good thing.

exoticfruits Sat 07-Jul-12 08:52:21

Facing the consequences is part of the growing up process.

Some of this is getting a bit nasty.

I agree I raised my eyebrows at the secret email checking, but I don't know the OP or her DD.

There are loads of students and parents just like the OP and her DD (based on what's said here about the expectations each has of the other). Lots of students don't know they have to do this stuff themselves and lots of parents don't realize either. It's not right but I don't think anyone on this thread is accusing the OP of terrible things or trying to do anything but put her right about what university students are expected to do.

I'm sure her DD will be fine when it's all sorted out.

exoticfruits Sat 07-Jul-12 14:01:33

I don't think that it is getting nasty-it is stating facts.
The university will not discuss the student with the parent-fact.
Of course OP is worried-who wouldn't be? However, she can only advise and DD has to sort it out.

bebemoose Sat 07-Jul-12 14:41:04

I would like to thank everybody for their advice on this thread, these are my observations since my last post:

Some people seem to think she may have been working whilst studying, this is not the case as she is a seasonal worker. She was working this week as term had ended so work has not interfered with her studies.

I haven't actually done anything but ring to try and get HER an appointment with the correct person as she was at work and could not get out of her shifts this week. I have never said I was just going to turn up and demand to talk to her tutor as this is clearly inappropriate, and I never expected anyone to talk to me on the phone about the situation. I think SHE needs to talk to the relevant person but would like to be present in order to support her, not to go in all guns blazing and asking all the questions myself. It's always good to have somebody with you in this type of meeting so that everything that's said can be remembered properly.

I agree that there may be more behind this and that we have only heard one side of the story which is exactly why we want to speak to someone. If it turns out that she has not attended and her marks were poor then we will accept the decision. However I would like some proof of this as my daughter says her attendance and marks were good. The only information the university has given is that she has failed and is terminated, one of her grades says 39% but is then listed at 35% (I know still a fail but that is not the point I am trying to make), I would like to know what causes this discrepancy and if this is a mistake then it's possible there could be others.

She is very independent normally, she runs her own life and is rarely at home. She found her own accommodation for the first year and for next year. She has done all her own shopping, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, problems with house etc. I haven't done any of this for her.

Some people have voiced concern that we checked her emails secretly. At the time of posting I didn't realise DD1 had been given permission and her username/password to do this. DD1 was looking for assignment information and weightings so she could create a spreadsheet and found the email from one of her tutors. This was her university account and not her personal one.

Some people still seem to think that my daughter is lying about having to hand her assignments into tutors and not to the faculty office, but I have already stated that I have seen the actual assignment documentations where this is clearly stated:
* Submission date:
Hand in your work with a courseware cover sheet to TUTOR NAME in ROOM on DATE between 9-12noon.*

My older daughter is surprised at this as she was at the same university in a different faculty and had to hand hers into the faculty office or online. I have also already said that she should have chased this up and not just let it go but we all make mistakes and I'm sure she wouldn't make this one again.

As for the marking scheme, this is probably not the correct terminology, it is more the weightings of each assignment in each module. This was given for a few assignments but not for others and makes it impossible to work out how well you are doing as, for example: If you attain a B in an assignment worth 10% and an F in the one worth 90% but you didn't know the weightings, you would not realise how badly you were doing as this could be the other way around, in which case you would be doing much better. They have also never been told what the grades stand for percentage-wise which makes it impossible to work out. Knowing the weightings is essential for time management. In an exam you need to know the marks being awarded for each question to know how long to spend on each answer and how much depth is expected. It is not rude to ask for this information, it should have been given.

Again my older daughter was surprised by this as in her department each module gave weightings and marking schemes for each assignment so they always knew what their deliverables were and how well they were doing. She was under the impression this was standard university procedure, as questions were asked about whether this information was given on end of module questionnaires.

None of them have a personal tutor on this course.

I didn't blame her for ruining my older daughters day, I blamed the situation which left us all very upset and not in the mood for celebrating, DD1 included. We will be celebrating shortly and my DD1 understands.

I know that she has many options if she cannot return in September. We have already had a discussion about this and she has put forward suggestions as to how SHE would like to proceed. I will be happy to support her in whatever she decides, should that be taking a year out and reapplying next year or changing direction completely. We now have an appointment for Monday and so will see what happens then.

Thank you again for your advice.

yellowraincoat Sat 07-Jul-12 14:47:39

I totally agree with others that you need to leave this in the hands of your daughter. My university would have had no respect for any adult student who needed their mum holding their hand in a meeting - it will not strengthen her case at all if you are seen to be too involved. If anything, it makes her look too immature to be attending a course.

I fucked up on handing in an essay at university, I handed it direct to a tutor who assumed I'd also handed it in officially at the office as I should have done. Didn't get a mark for it and consequently got a 2.2 instead of scraping a 2.1. I fought my case, didn't win but it taught me something about following rules that are made to be followed and taking responsbility for myself. Would have been mortified for my mum to be involved to be honest.

Back off. Leave it up to her. Be there for her. She is an adult and she needs to learn that her actions have consequences.

mirry2 Sat 07-Jul-12 14:49:57

Too much judgement going on in this thread.
Moving from school to university is a huge leap and some students on some degree courses have much less contact with tutors than others. Eg arts and humanities probably have about 8 contact hours a week whereas medical and science students may have 30 hours. This can make a huge difference in perceived levels of support and engagement between student and tutor. Only in Oxbridge and a very small number of other unis is there a very close relationship between student and tutor - so in many universities it's very easy for the less mature and unassertive student to feel like a very small cog in a huge impersonal machine. I have lectured to huge halls full of students who I have not known and will never know with no opportunity to engage with them on a one to one level, much as I would like to. Unfortunately very often this is the reality of university today.

I think that some of my fellow academics are being very harsh on the op.

yellowraincoat Sat 07-Jul-12 14:52:18

mirry2 I went to such a university. The thing is that at some point you have to learn to take responsibility for yourself.

Nothing wrong with the OP supporting her daughter. But do you really think that a mum phoning the university to arrange meetings or whatever is on? I would find that incredibly strange.

yellowraincoat Sat 07-Jul-12 14:53:39

And if the OP's daughter is at a university like that, maybe she'd be better off at a university where there is less academic pressure, more support from tutors and so on.

mirry2 Sat 07-Jul-12 15:17:25

yellowraincoat yes I agree that it is not on for a tutor to discuss a student's work or problems with a parent. Unfortunately university support for students is very hit and miss. I don't think it's academic pressure that's the problem. I hate the argument that some universities expect less academically from students than others, however the care and support that enable students to do well is missing in some university faculties in my opinion.
Personally I think that in the first year, all tutors should be required to meet their individual students at least once a term - this should be timetabled in - and the meeting should be treated as a form of appraisal. Sadly this rarely happens and I know that many of my colleagues would rather gnaw off their arm. We have turned our universities into degree factories, where most people come out with degrees but little real understanding of what they've been taught. The same can be said of A evels but that's another story.

mirry2 Sat 07-Jul-12 15:28:23

Sorry for my last post - I've gone off track from the op. The op shouldn't be contacting the university, however I can understand entirely why she feels so upset. Parents are now much more involved in their child's education than ever before especially as they now have a financial interest AND obligation.
If we treat parents as the benefactors in terms of underwriting fees and living costs for students (who are adults, after all), how can we criticise them for wanting to find out what's happened when their 'investment' goes belly up?

exoticfruits Sat 07-Jul-12 16:00:57

Moving from school to university is a huge leap and some students on some degree courses have much less contact with tutors than others. Eg arts and humanities probably have about 8 contact hours a week whereas medical and science students may have 30 hours. This can make a huge difference in perceived levels of support and engagement between student and tutor.

It is a huge leap-which is why parents need to have backed off by the 6th form-support and encourage but don't get overly involved.
I agree with mirry2. It is all very hard.

(Sorry, very late, but exotic, I meant the criticisms of people who were just trying to explain to the OP were a bit OTT. Not the other way around. That wasn't very clear.).

OP - Sorry to keep on at this, but saying 'they have never been told what grades stand for' and this information 'should have been given' - well, no, not really.

If this information isn't available, yes, that suggests a problem (and it does sound as if the course might be very disorganized - putting down 39 as 35 is really sloppy!). But it won't necessarily be 'given' - it'll be set out in a rule book somewhere, probably available online, probably a very long PDF document called something like 'Course Handbook'.

I'm saying this not to pester, just because if she goes back next year, it's useful to know.

Btw, I don't know how usual this is, but at several universities I know of, you're entitled to bring in someone from students support to a meeting like this. That might be an idea? Tricky given we're out of term, but it seems unlikely they'd let you in the meeting and I have to say, I think it's a bad idea even though you are right some support might be nice.

Good luck.

anonjune Sat 07-Jul-12 17:44:38

Writing to you as a current student:

She needs firstly to see if she can get a list of all abscenes and missed assignments and work out what happened... The not handing in assignment due to a missing tutor is bizzare - 95% of unis require you to hand in assignments online for plagarism checking which should also function as a way of checking the student has actually done the work even if a paper copy isnt handed in.. Did she try all options? Email, phone, school office, other tutors, sticking it under the door, leaving it on the tutor's desk with a note?

Secondly if she is ill she might get mitigating circumstances but will need normally to see a GP.. My uni will also take letters from the university counselling office as far as I'm aware.. If she's likely to be ill often she should see a disability advisor or similar for advice, they can make certain provisions.

I'm disabled myself - with dyspraxia and mental health issues and a number of chronic physical health problems.. Also support my quite severely disabled mum and sister. So I'm off quite a lot. Normally GP provides a letter which is OK - but disability advisor also wrote in advance to my tutors to explain, I also make a point of emailing tutors if I'm off for courtesy.. My mum did phone on my behalf once but I was in hospital and unable to phone! Not always a great idea to get involved as parents, it does help fotster independence if she's forced to do it alone. I do remember my friend in first year being accussed of plagarisim, she had to see the academic council and her parents were quite desperate to travel from home (800 miles I think!) to sort it out for her.. She took a chum to the meetings instead though, did all the talking herself and managed to sort it smile Better for your daughter in the long run if she can do similar.

Daughter also needs to sort out things re: the dyslexia.. Does her uni have a mentoring/buddying system? Usually covered by DSA, she might be able to have a weekly chat with an older student who'll check on everything. She'd be worth contacting the university to ask about disability support in general first and foremost.. my uni (Aberdeen) also has a Student Learning Service with a dyslexia support worker and "study skills" sessions which might help her?

If she really ends up stuck - or doesn't want to go back - she's not without options. She might find it helpful to see a career's advisor or similar but there will be things she can do - I know several people who dropped out or were asked to leave, several have gone into employment but at least two or three took a year out and then went back to uni to do a different degree.. One graduated on Friday with a first.. So as I said it's not as if it's the end of the world smile

Rent wise, she'll probably need to advertise for a new tenant - if it's a good room/flat, she shouldn't be waiting long for it to be snapped up!

Best of luck to you and daughter (and congrats on the other daughters' successes!)

sashh Mon 09-Jul-12 05:35:21

*Some people still seem to think that my daughter is lying about having to hand her assignments into tutors and not to the faculty office, but I have already stated that I have seen the actual assignment documentations where this is clearly stated:
Submission date:Hand in your work with a courseware cover sheet to TUTOR NAME in ROOM on DATE between 9-12noon.*

Something is happening, maybe not lying but not understanding. The rules for submission will be the same accross the uni ie will be the same as dd1.

It is possible that DD2 should have submitted electronically as well? This would account for her not realising how badly she was doing.

I agree with LRDtheFeministDragon there is always a course handbook, it lists units/modules and how they are assessed and weightings.

Sorry I thought you were trying to get an appointment for yourself, not for DD2.

outtolunchagain Thu 12-Jul-12 18:37:15

Hi OP ,just wondered how you got on with your meeting and if your dd is feeling a bit happier

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