Thinking about dropping out? Consider these 6 things first

26 Oct 2021
By Matt G., Student at University of Glasgow

If you’ve started university in the last few weeks, you might find it isn’t how you expected. You might be feeling like you’ve made the wrong decision to go to university and that you want to get out as soon as possible.

There is nothing wrong with dropping out, as long as you are absolutely sure that is what you want to do. However, there are some important factors you should consider before making this decision - and they depend on your reason for wanting to leave. 

It is daunting moving in with total strangers.

I’m having problems with my flatmates

It is daunting moving in with total strangers. There’s no telling what kind of people you will move in with. Especially at the beginning, you might find yourself clashing with your flatmates and feel like you don’t get on with them.

Sometimes it seems impossible that you will ever get on with somebody, but you will find you get closer with your flatmates as time goes on. I initially felt like I got on with nobody in my flat, but by the end of the year we chose to live together again as we’d all become good friends!

Another thing to bear in mind is that you only have to live with them for one academic year, it is certainly not worth dropping out over this. If this is really bothering you, contact your accommodation provider. They may be able to move you into a different flat if there are spaces available.

Read more: Bonding as a flat: Our top 5 things to do together

I don’t like my course

Your course might not be all you imagined it to be. This isn’t a problem. You can change course very easily in the first year, just speak to your course tutor. Many universities will let you change going into second year as well, as long as your new course is in a similar field.

You’ll be studying for a minimum of three years so you have to be interested in your course.

I don’t like the city

For some people, university is about working hard and playing hard too. If you’re one of them and you’re not enjoying the city you’re in, it’s natural to think about changing universities or dropping out.

My friend dropped out for this reason and had a much better time after they moved to a place with better nightlife. But be honest with yourself, do you genuinely dislike where you are, or are you homesick? Don’t confuse the two.

Read more: Patience and new routines: My homesickness cure

I can’t afford my bills and tuition

You will probably still have to pay your entire year’s worth of accommodation, or at least until you can find a replacement tenant for your room. And remember, your tuition fees are paid termly, so you won’t save any money on tuition by dropping out before Christmas.

So if you can stick it out until Christmas, you won’t be any worse off financially and you might find a way to make things work. Read up on budgeting at uni to make day-to-day living easier, and make an appointment with your student finances team right away.

It is daunting moving in with total strangers.
My advice is to see how you feel over the festive break.

My experience: I felt much better by Christmas

University can come as a bit of a shock to the system in the beginning. I immediately didn’t like my course and didn’t really get on with my flatmates. I considered dropping out as I wasn’t motivated to work. I thought I would see how I felt over the festive break. 

By Christmas, I was in a much better place with my flatmates and my course seemed more interesting. Once I worked out how to balance my social life with my uni work, I decided I would stick at it.

My advice is to see how you feel over the festive break. Things might be looking a lot better by then. If they aren’t, make sure you have a clear plan before you make any big decisions.

My advice is to see how you feel over the festive break.
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Matt is studying Business at Sheffield Hallam, and is currently on a placement year in the USA.