Help for Discontinuing Students
Dropping out of university isn't the end of the world. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Warren Buffet, Simon Cowell, Roman Abramovich, Mark Zuckerberg, Winston Churchill and Richard Branson all dropped out of university or never attended it in the first place! See our happiness at work page
If you are reading this, it is likely that you are currently not quite happy with your present situation. There could be any number of reasons for this. From what past students have said, then, broadly speaking the reason why you are feeling like you do, might have something to do with one or more of the following.
- THE SUBJECT. It is not what you thought it would be like; you find it boring or difficult; you are just not interested in it any more.
- THE COURSE. The content is not what you expected, you can’t get motivated, the assessment style doesn’t suit you, the way you are taught isn’t to your liking.
- THE ENVIRONMENT. The university is too big/too small, your accommodation isn’t what you wanted, Canterbury is too small and quiet.
- THE PERSONAL SIDE. You're homesick, you are lonely, you are finding it hard to manage financially, you feel out of your depth, you are too far from home.
- THE CAREER. You are having second thoughts about your chosen career path, you find that you are enjoying one aspect of your course and would like to concentrate more on that.
There may be other reasons in addition to those already listed. Apart from your own feelings about your studies, there may be external reasons why you are thinking of leaving: family problems, illness, failing exams or advice from academic staff to look for an alternative course. At this stage of your thinking you might like to start jotting down your reasons. Have any of the above rung bells with you? Doing this kind of exercise can help at a later stage when considering options. Try to be very specific with yourself - it is not easy!
While these are not mutually exclusive, there are a range of options you can consider:
- you decide to stay on and making the most of your present course
- you choose an alternative course, at the University of Kent or elsewhere. You will probably have to restart your degree the following year unless the course you are transferring to is very similar to the one you are leaving, or unless you change in the first few weeks of the course. Changing to a combined or joint degree may be one option worth considering.
- you choose to leave and get a job. This does not have to mean abandoning study altogether
- you intermit - take some time out (usually up to a year) to consider your options, while leaving open the possibility of returning to Kent to resume your studies
Considering each option and weighing up its advantages and disadvantages is likely to be your next task. What is your initial reaction now? It may be very clear, but on the other hand it could be quite a difficult choice. Researching the options may also take time.
What is important is that you start the process of exploring the options and this may mean talking to people! This might be a careers adviser, your tutor, a student welfare or financial adviser, or a student counsellor. Family and friends can be useful and may be able to help you identify what is not right, so you know what to change.
To find out what JOBS YOU CAN DO WITH ALL DEGREE SUBJECTS at the University of Kent including likely employers see www.kent.ac.uk/careers/degreein.htm . If you don't know what career you want see Choosing a Career
How the Careers and Employability Service can help
Careers AdviceIf you are thinking of changing or leaving your course, and want to discuss any career implications of this, or just want to explore alternative possibilities, you are welcome to visit the Careers and Employability Service to talk things over with a careers adviser. See www.kent.ac.uk/careers/dutyca.htm for details of our advisory services. Anything that you discuss with us will be treated in the strictest confidence and no information will be passed on to any other department of the University unless you request us to do so.
Other sources of help and information at the University of Kent
- Your personal tutor: every student is assigned a personal tutor who you can approach for help and advice on personal and academic matters, or just to talk things over at any time.
- Student support officer – Many Schools also have a student support officer who again can give advice and help to sort out any problems. Click here for a list.
- If you don't know who your tutor or student support officer is, or have any difficulty contacting them, contact the general office in your School.
- Student Services www.kent.ac.uk/studentservices
- Counselling Service www.kent.ac.uk/counselling
- Student Learning Advisory Service www.kent.ac.uk/uelt/about/slas.html
- Student Finance www.kent.ac.uk/finance-student
- Kent Union Advice Centre www.kentunion.co.uk/advice/
- Disability and Dyslexia Support Service www.kent.ac.uk/ddss
- UMSA Advice Centre www.umsa.org.uk/advice/advice_centre
- Student Support at Medway www.kent.ac.uk/locations/medway/support/index.html
- A Guide to Financial Support for New Full-time Students in Higher Education 2012-13 www.slc.co.uk/media/415507/guide_to_financial_support_new_1213.pdf
- Professional and Career Development Loans https://www.gov.uk/career-development-loans/overview
- Scholarship Search www.scholarship-search.org.uk
- Student Loans Company (SLC) www.slc.co.uk
- Welsh Assembly (Education) http://new.wales.gov.uk
- Educational Grants Search www.family-action.org.uk/section.aspx?id=21211
- Information on finance for “equivalent level qualifications” http://bit.ly/ZeO8fw
Other Sources of Advice and Support
- AGCAS Publication New Directions: Changing or leaving your course (pdf)
- The National Careers Service http://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
- Connexions Kent and Medway http://cxk.org/connexions
- Jobcentre Plus www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) www.ucas.ac.uk
- Careers Wales www.careerswales.com
- The Site www.thesite.org/workandstudy “Online guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds” Includes a section on Alternatives to University www.thesite.org/workandstudy/studychoices/whatcourse/alternativestouniversity
- Chalkface www.chalkface.net/pagecopy/subjectitems/careers01.htm the Careers section includes a long list of useful links on vocational training, universities, gap years and job-hunting advice.
- Learning Opportunities in the South East www.learning-opportunities.org.uk focus on vocational options in higher education in the SE.
- Citizens’ Advice Bureau www.adviceguide.org.uk advice on employment, diversity, sex and race discrimination in the workplace, education, employment and civil rights issues as well as advice on tax, debt and housing.
Our pages of information for HND students www.kent.ac.uk/careers/HND.htm include some advice on career opportunities without a degree - this may be particularly relevant to you if you have completed more than a year of your degree studies
- Youthnet www.youthnet.org.uk opportunities for young people including careers, adventure challenges, training for business and industry, vocational training, further and higher education, gap year challenges, opportunities abroad, working holidays, volunteering and expeditions.
- Gapyear www.gapyear.com advice, opportunities and feedback
- The Year Out Group www.yearoutgroup.org 35 organisations offering gap year and volunteering opportunities
- Community Service Volunteers www.csv.org.uk over 100,000 volunteers placed every year: no-one is rejected
For other organisations offering time out and volunteering opportunities, see the CES web pages at
Last fully updated 2013