The curse of the 2:2…


So it seems that these days people going to University are just expected magically to get a 2:1, as if waking up and turning up to 50% of lectures is a divine right for any one to be able to achieve such a grade. The gold standard now is the 2:1, its like a get out of jail free card in monopoly. In the olden days, ( ok i mean like the 60s and 70s) when less people went to university and there were less universities, getting a 2:2 was seen as something of a great achievement, now however, daring to apply for a graduate job with such a grade will be looked upon as if you were committing a crime worse than death or time wasting.

The reason why I am so incensed, is because I am speaking from experience, when I received my 2:2, I was absolutely “devoed” not because I was ashamed of the grade, because I knew the perception of this grade would hinder me in what I wanted to achieve. It meant that in anticipation I applied to about five masters degrees in occupational psychology and low and behold three told me to run away, as they didn’t want to be tarred with the 2:2 brush.

Recently, when at an interview for a  job, despite having had a masters degree they asked me why I got a 2:2. I had to rack my brain, as I had done nothing wrong, I wasn’t out till all hours, I went to 99% of my lectures on time, I handed in all assignments on time and enjoyed the course overall. So why the question?

The 2:2 degree in recent years is seen by some as a failure, but not all degree classifications are created equal. A 2:2 from Cambridge is NOT the same as a 2:2 from London South Bank University. EVEN within Universities, different courses criteria of classification is not the same, some courses have 100% course work and no final formal written examinations in the whole three years, some universities allow you to take 20/ 30 credit modules from second year courses which count towards your final degree. Some poor souls will have five three hour exams and six essays throughout the year and another, one hour exam and three 2000 word essays; and they are all judged the same.

 The new obsession with a 2:1-the apparent gold standard of degrees is unhealthy, especially considering that in 2003/4 50% of graduates were achieving 2:1s, means that there maybe something wrong with the system. The mean average grade in any educational establishment should be a bell curve, that is the majority of people falling in the middle, ie 2:2s.

So for those of you who have just achieved your degree classifications, do not despair, life still goes on with a 2:2 you can  get post graduate funding ( you just have to try very very hard) and you can get your dream job, just be creative in your experience. Its nothing to be ashamed of, well done!

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