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Is pressure to succeed harming black and minority ethnic students’ results?

Jul 08, 2016

Is pressure to succeed harming black and minority ethnic students’ results?New research reveals the pressure students feel to achieve top results at university, and how black and minority ethnic (BME) students are particularly affected.

The research, reported in Times Higher Education, found that 58.3 per cent of ethnic minority students and 45.2 per cent of white students had concerns about their academic achievements not meeting their families’ expectations. Ethnic minority respondents also spoke in interviews of being afraid to ask academics for help in case they were viewed as “stupid”. The researchers suggest this extra pressure might lead to lower results, potentially explaining why only 60% of ethnic minority students in England got a first or a 2:1 in 2013-14, compared with 76% of white students.

If you’re struggling to manage pressure to succeed academically, don’t be afraid to ask for help: your tutors and lecturers are there to support your studies, especially when you’re finding it difficult. Read our piece on what to do if you’re struggling with your university course and think about how you can manage your stress, particularly before exams. Taking care of your emotional health is far more important than getting a first.