The Cambridge University Careers Service at the new Student Services Centre.Sir Cam/University of Cambridge

The Cambridge University Careers Service has apologised for an email sent to certain students early on Tuesday which bore the subject line: “Disappointing results? Our top advice”. The email, believed to have been sent to finalists, comes during the middle of the summer exam period, with many students yet to complete their exams.

In an email sent out later that day, the Careers Service asked students to “accept [its] apologies”, admitting that its earlier email had “caused some distress to students”.

The original email began: “So you didn’t get the grade you hoped for — 3rd, 2:2, pass or DDH.”

“You are bound to be feeling a bit floored by this,” it continued, “and it will take time to think differently. However, as with any challenge in life, it’s what you do next that really matters.”

This was followed by a link to a blog post featuring a student “who got a 3rd in engineering”.


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The Careers Service acknowledged, in its follow-up email, that both the wording and the timing of this email was “insensitive.” It explained that the purpose of the email had been to “reassure students” and that the Careers Service has been “putting some marketing effort” into trying to communicate the options available to students disappointed with their grades effectively.

CUSU President Evie Aspinall noted on Facebook that the email had “understandably upset a number of students”, reassuring finalists that “no students have received their exam results” and that the Careers Service does not have access to details of students’ grades. “No grade is ‘bad’ and you should be genuinely be so proud of all you’ve achieved this year.”

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