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Monday, September 8, 2014

Fact or fiction? Five myths that surround the student world 09-09

Fact or fiction? Five myths that surround the student world

Are students always boozing? Does Oxford prefer posh applicants? And is student finance run by lizards from Zorg? We get to the bottom of it

Is student finance really run by lizards from Zorg? Illustration: Sophie Wolfson
Welcome to a myth-busting special of Students by numbers, designed to take the assumptions your naive noggin had made about the world of students and replace them with cold, hard facts. 
Whether on TV shows like Fresh Meat and Freshers, in the papers, or round the table at the pub; student life is constantly being stereotyped, pigeon-holed and pushed into boxes. 
But is it unfair to be quite so reductive? And does the person on the street really know as much about university as he likes to think? (spoiler: no, and they are also really annoying)
I’ve found the stats behind some of the most commonly held views about the world of students, and now I can tell you if they’re firmly-founded facts or crudely-constructed concoctions. 

1. Students are always getting drunk (and spend all their money on booze)

Let’s start with a classic. “No wonder students never have any money,” says the cynical older generation, “they spend it all on drinking!”
Well, you shouldn’t believe everything (anything) you read in the Daily Mail. 
Did you know that a third of students don’t even drink ? And that the average student spends an average of just £9.80 a week on booze ? Of course you didn’t, you doltish dunce.
Verdict: Fiction

2. Most students live in halls

No, no, no. Wrong again, you witless wally. Hesa data shows that only 41.5% of students live in either halls or properties maintained by their unis. 
The majority of students opt to live in cold houses with damp, mice and landlords who will take them for every penny they can while making their lives a complete misery. Still, on the bright side, at least it’s not halls.
Verdict: Fiction

3. Students are having loads of sex

This one is so obvious that only the most simple-minded of morons would need to be told. Let’s put it to bed for good. I can’t vouch for the quality, but the physical act of love is definitely happening a lot at British universities. 

According to a survey by Student Beans, the average student claims they have had sexy-time with between 2.57 and 10.29 partners, depending on which university they are studying at. Don’t worry if you think you might have been the .57 or the .29. We all have off-nights.
Verdict: Fact

4. Oxford and Cambridge prefer students from posh backgrounds

It’s a mystery to me why such a blockheaded buffoon would be interested in the country’s top universities, but I will humour you once more. 
Some think Oxford and Cambridge favour candidates from private schools, but others maintain that the universities simply want the best students – who just happen to be created at private schools. So which is it?
Well, the most recent numbers for Oxford admissions show that private school students were 9% more likely to have been offered a place than state school kids with the same grades. And it’s now widely acknowledged by brainy people that state school students are under-represented at both Cambridge and Oxford universities. Classy stuff, Oxbridge.
Verdict: Fact

5. Student finance is run by lizards from the planet Zorg

What? You’ve never heard this one? No, of course you haven’t, you hopeless halfwit.
Well, if you were just a little more on the ball, you would know there is a common belief among students who have used the student finance system that it must be being run by alien lifeforms, such is its lack of empathy towards their needs.
Weirdly there are no stats available on this, which frankly screamsconspiracy. However one anonymous source – let’s call him “D. Icke” – believes the evidence is beyond question.
“Open your eyes!” says Icke. “Student finance never answer the phone. Lizards can’t answer phones. Student finance seem to spend all summer out of the office enjoying the sunshine. Lizards also love sunshine. Student finance couldn’t organise a student loan if their lives depended on it – and neither could lizards!

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