15 College Professors Share Stories About Students They Can’t Believe Graduated From High School

I’ve always thought being a college professor would be a great job – you get the benefits of the teaching school year but you don’t have to deal with literal kids (and their parents) on a daily basis.

I know there are things like the administration and stress over tenure, but one thing I didn’t think about was that college kids are still, well, kids – and sometimes they behave like these 15 kiddos, who are now being brutally dragged by their profs.

15. That mom should be ashamed.

Not a college professor, but I worked in my university’s writing center for a while.

I had a girl come in with a research paper bibliography that listed “my mom” as a source several times.

When I pressed, she told me her mom looked up everything and sent it to her and she just…put it in the paper. She told me she had always done it that way.

14. He almost made it through college without knowing that.

I once spent an hour explaining to college junior that an even number is divisible by 2.

13. I guess he didn’t want to hear that.

As a tutor, I worked with a guy who insisted on quoting himself as a credible source once.

I made the obligatory statement that if he hadn’t written a book or article, he couldn’t do that. He did it anyway.

Never saw him again.

12. Heaven help this teacher.

I teach at a community college that doesn’t actually require a high school diploma to attend, so I’ve seen a lot. Mostly it’s native English speakers who are virtually illiterate. No abstract or critical thinking skills at all.

One wrote a paper about the causes of the Salem Witch Trials. She sided with the accusers because she’d “seen some stuff,” clearly not understanding the assignment.

Another insisted I approve every word he wrote to “make sure he was doing it right,” when in reality he was wanting me to feed him answers since he didn’t do the reading.

Yet another wrote in a discussion board about Lord of the Flies, “I like how they saved all the flies. That was my favorite part.” If you’ve read the book, you can guess the look on my face.

11. I suppose we’ll never know.

Not me, but a friend who taught in the politics department received a paper about ‘gorilla’ warfare in South America.

It was so poorly written she couldn’t tell if it was a typo, or if they genuinely thought Colombia had been overrun by a Planet of the Apes style revolution.

10. My mouth is open.

My first year teaching I had a student who had failed the previous year due to missing too many cooking labs.

I had rewritten the curriculum and assignments.

I noticed that this student hadn’t been handing certain things in and had been skipping my lectures, so I decided to have a chat with them.

They thought their marks for that semester were cumulative with their previous year’s mark (with a different curriculum, different assignments, and a different professor) so they just had to make up enough marks to get a passing grade.

This is a post-grad program. They had a BSc in dietetics.

9. How did they get so far?

There have been disturbingly high numbers of students on a performance based music degree who can’t read music. Not musicologists or conceptual composers who could in theory get away with it.

No, these were people turning up expecting to study western classical performance. There was even a master’s student once…

8. Those things are not the same at all.

I once got an exam essay that mentioned how much Mandela hated the Jews. After scratching my head for a bit and wondering if I’d missed some obvious signs of his anti-Semitism I realized she meant Mengele.

As in Josef Mengele, the Nazi “Angel of Death.” Hard to think of a worse person she could’ve confused him for.

7. That’s…really special.

Not a professor but in undergrad I was taking an American history course.

Our professor was from Maryland and was probably in her early forties.

This kid asked her if she was one of the pearl harbor survivors.

He couldn’t grasp the fact that she was very much not alive at that time and that Pearl Harbor was not a harbor in Maryland.

6. Dang not even one of them did the work.

Once had identical twin sisters who turned in identical essays.

Both were directly plagiarized from a Google search and received identical zeroes.

5. Of course he did.

Professor at a middle of nowhere medium sized state school with a 80-ish% acceptance rate. Had a graduate student who couldn’t code for the life of him but was a software engineer at an undisclosed incredibly large aviation company.

He couldn’t accept that other students who didn’t have jobs were better than him and that the people grading him “didn’t have jobs”. Sent death threats because we failed him on an assignment where his code didn’t run.

He complained to the higher ups and got a C.

4. That’s an extra level of dumb.

I had a student who submitted an assignment that consisted of my blackboard notes from a couple years ago.

She copied them from her sister’s old notebook. (I have no idea why her sister kept her old English notebook.)

3. Now he’s in charge of other children. Lovely.

In the final year of high school I had to intervene during a practical exam when a student attempted to heat a plastic petri dish of water using the blue flame of a bunsen burner.

That student is a PE teacher now.

2. Did she really not know?

I had a student include numerous emojis in a term paper.

A different student came to my office a week after the final, and asked me why she had failed the course. She hadn’t turned in a single assignment, or written the final.

1. Bizarre is an understatement.

My wife has had multiple students who are fundamentally technologically illiterate.

Numerous students have had no idea how to use Word or Excel–including one who used their email as a word processor (the University provides students with Office). There have also been students who struggle with installing programs on computers.

What’s disconcerting is it’s becoming an increasingly common issue–as an older millennial, the idea that kids are becoming less technologically proficient is so bizarre.

These stories are hilarious and sad in equal measure, don’t you think?

If you’re a professor, drop you own horrible student experience in the comments!