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What to do if you’ve dropped out of university

21st Nov, 2018

What to do if you’ve dropped out of university

University is painted to be a magical place and the ‘best three years of your life’, and for some it is, but the lifestyle doesn’t suit everyone, so there is always a number who end up leaving.

During your time in sixth form or college, there’s a heavy emphasis on attending university and many get swept up into this motion without considering all the options, thinking they won’t have a successful career unless they go.

Students are introduced to many new things at once: independent living, different learning styles, a new town and an unfamiliar learning space. These are things that people will typically either love or hate, but it’s hard to know until you get there.

Why first year students drop out of university

Did you know that university dropout rates have risen for the third year in a row? The cause of university dropouts is often put down to the cost of tuition fees. People may also leave because the course isn’t right, homesickness, finances are tight, or sometimes because there are struggles with personal health.

Whatever your reason for leaving university, the important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and you have not failed.

Coming home

If university isn’t the right choice for you, coming home can seem like a huge relief…but it can also bring on a sense of panic as you need to think of a new plan. The likes of social media can add additional pressure as everywhere you look, you’re seeing what your friends and family are doing, which can be especially overwhelming if they’re ‘loving life’ at uni or in their new career.

It is tough but try not to compare yourself with others and what they’re doing because what makes one person happy might not make you happy. In no way is leaving university a step back – it’s an opportunity to do something you love!

Having a sense of purpose to your day may be an initial challenge you face, so why not set yourself targets such as fitness goals, decorating a room, finishing a book or supporting a friend or family member in need.

Woman on treadmill | Fitness

What next?

Nothing acts as a better motivator than being bored at home or in a job you’ve picked simply to have an income - let the discomfort push you to finding the right career in something you love. Now your school studies are finished, you’ll have more time to search for and complete job applications or new university courses.

For some people, taking a break is an essential step, especially if they’ve left university due to struggles with their mental health. Just a couple of weeks to rest and recalibrate can make all the difference, so that you can start planning what comes next.

If you have savings, maybe travelling is an option or perhaps you would like to take up a temporary position with Your World Pro so that you can save and have flexibility with your work schedule. Temporary work is perfect for those wanting to travel, as they can dip in and out of work around trips; it also provides the chance to try a variety of jobs.

Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents? Now is a great time to explore them further – who knows, maybe it will lead into a future career!

How to find the right career

It’s common to feel uncertain about the direction you want to head in; there are so many jobs around, you may not even be aware of your perfect career!

Road to your career | Career path

Job boards

Keeping an eye on job boards such as Your World Professional, Indeed, Milkround and LinkedIn, will expose you to a variety of job descriptions, so try flicking through them – who knows what you will find!

UCAS (We know, you never wanted to hear that word again!)

Did you know that UCAS isn’t only for university goers? They have a whole page dedicated to careers advice (including a careers quiz) and another for alternatives to university. Of course, if you would like to return to university, they also have subject guides that you can flick through too.

Networking and socialising

Make the most of the people around you (family, friends and people you meet) and ask about their careers or university courses to see if anything appeals to you – maybe you can get some work experience in this area to give you more of a feel for it.

Speaking of which…

Work experience

Now is the time to try as many things as you can by doing lots of work experience or temporary work. You might discover a new talent or find that you enjoy a particular area of a job, which you can branch out from.

Speak to Your World

We have a dedicated team at Your World Pro who are committed to finding a job that you love – we call it the Work Happy Revolution!

Get in touch to discuss your strengths and experiences to see which jobs they would recommend to you.


What happens with Student Finance if I leave university?

Student Finance will assess your financial situation, taking into consideration your tuition fees and maintenance loan, and contact you with the amounts owed and dates the payments need to be made by.

The same way as if you were to complete your university course, you’re not required to repay the tuition fees you’ve accumulated until you’re earning over £21,000. However, your maintenance loan may need paying much sooner.

 The amount you pay back will depend on when you leave…

  • If you go in the first term, you will be charged 25% of the tuition fees for that academic year.
  • 50% will be charged to you if you leave in your second term.
  • If you go in the third term, you'll need to pay back 100% of the tuition fees for the year.

If you stayed in halls and someone else moves into your old room, the accommodation costs will now fall to them. Unfortunately, if your room doesn't get filled, you will be responsible for the payments for the remainder of the academic year – yes, even though you're no longer living there.

Is any degree better than no degree?

This can come down to what you want to get out of university and what you would like to do next. In most cases, no, any degree is not better than no degree.

Completing a degree shows that you can work towards targets, are determined and can complete lengthy tasks, even during challenging and stressful times. You also gain independence and general life skills, although, you can develop these skills elsewhere.

Some companies may check that you have a degree, but it isn’t always essential unless you’re working in the likes of the medical field (there are also careers within healthcare that don’t require a degree).

Do people with degrees get better jobs?

The short answer is no. There are some excellent apprenticeships available in a variety of fields, and one thing you will learn in the world of work is that everyone is looking for experience. It is far easier to secure a job if you have lots of work experience than if you’re going in only with a degree.


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