Your university experience is likely to have plenty of ups and downs. It is, after all, three years (or more) of your life. So you can expect plenty of challenges to counter-balance the moments of euphoria. But if you find you’re struggling and thinking you might drop out of uni, make sure you take a step back and look at the big picture before making any rash decisions.
Here we look at six common reasons students drop out of uni, and why they aren’t necessarily very good ones when you really think about it.
You’re not the first, you won’t be the last and you’re certainly not the only one. Missing home is one of the top reasons students drop out of uni. And it’s very understandable why. Those collective home comforts can mount up. Or maybe you badly need to backchat but only your friends-since-forever will take it and they’re not around.
It might feel achingly tough but it can be fixed. It’s important you break your routine and find a new one. Steel yourself for a brave new world. Go out there and make as many new friends as possible. If you’re not naturally the most outgoing, sign up to a few societies where you can find people with common interests. It will ease the getting-to-know-you process. And if you’re finding the uni bubble a little overwhelming, find some off-campus activities or groups to keep you connected to the outside world.
2. Money woes
You don’t need us to tell you that university is a big financial commitment. But it’s also an investment in your future. Think of it as a fast-track to where you want to be in a few years, in a rewarding and well-paid career, and it might not seem quite so scary.
If you don’t live to a budget, then this is your first move. Figure out how much money you have to spend and allocate it against rent, course fees, transport, entertainment and food. Then stick to it like duct tape. Once you have both control and visibility over your finances the feeling of wanting to drop out of uni will subside.
If you’re still struggling financially, make sure you’ve explored all your options with the government funding schemes, discuss your situation with family if you can, and by all means take a look at our student loans, where you can borrow from £1,000, with flexible repayments over 1 to 10 years.
3. Too much fun
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jack likely to drop out of university. It can happen all too easily. You’re no longer living under your parents’ watchful eye and you’re surrounded by a bunch of other young people who want to party just as much as you do.
There’s nothing wrong with having a good time when you’re at uni. In fact, it’s sort-of-largely the point. But no-one wants their social life to ruin their education and onward career aspirations. If you’re on the slippery slope, pull back and give yourself some structure. Draw up a timetable of work so you don’t drop any deadlines, and pick your nights out well in advance so you can enjoy the very best and skip the rest.
4. Wrong course
Many first year students find their course doesn’t match their expectations. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. All is not lost. Chat to your professors and course coordinators. You may be able to move to a related course that is more in line with what you want, or there could be a way of expanding your degree, or tailoring the modules on it, to suit you.
Three or four years is a long time to study something you’re not happy with, so take action early. That said, just remember that a degree course will have many different types of modules, some of which you’ll likely fall in love with and others you’ll see as a bind. So research the rest of your course in detail before you decide to drop out of uni.
5. Personal problems
This one really does suck. It will no doubt be a situation beyond your control and can prove a disastrous distraction. Before you decide it’s all too much, talk, talk and talk again. To friends and family, someone at the university, or an independent counsellor. It’s a simple solution but it could save your degree. You’ll find universities have a great support network. Nobody wants to see you drop out of uni and they’ll do everything in their power to help you succeed.
6. Work, work, work
Taking on a job while you’re studying to earn some extra cash is very admirable but it isn’t always easy. If you’re working too many hours either your studies will slip or you’ll burn out. But this is a terrible reason to drop out of uni. You need to think longer-term – much longer than next month’s rent – and juggle your priorities. Drop your hours, not your degree. You’ll be grateful five years from now when you’re earning far more than your part-time student job.
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