Wrong umbilical chord

October 25, 1996

I hope that the seriously smug Jennie Bristow ("Students who can't cut the umbilical cord", Personal View, THES, October 18) continues to cope so masterfully with "life" as neither Sussex nor Kent seem fully representative examples. The students I meet daily are not living in the cosy world of supportive families and lack of responsibility that she inhabits. Most of them are coping with survival in the "real world", with the stresses of academic study piled on top.

I know that our student services counsellors are grappling constantly with bigger issues than exam stress, although such stress may be the superficial symptom that brings students to their door.

I am not entirely clear about the relevance of Mr Furedi's latest book to the issue of student independence but would suggest that there is another reason that parents of his prospective students have begun to attend and dominate admissions interviews: they are paying.

Laura F Spira School of business Oxford Brookes University.

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