The festive break is meant to give students some time to breathe and wind-down before heading back to face lectures, seminars, exams and assessment with a positive, resolution-filled approach. But this isn’t always the case, and one in 10 students drop out of uni in their first year.
It’s no secret that for new undergraduate students, the first 10 weeks at university can be difficult to manage. New people, new place and being away from the family can make the first term incredibly daunting. If you too are worried about your university now, rest assured that you’re not the only one – and there are a few steps you can take not to end up dropping out.
First, you need to identify why the university or course you are currently studying simply isn’t cutting it for you. Could these be the reasons why you are not enjoying your university?
With university fees going through the roof, students worry about the return on investment.
We’re firm believers in Benjamin Franklin’s words: ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest', but we also think that your investment should be smart. Why spend over £27,000 (+ living costs) on a university degree, when you could pay 2/3rd of that price when studying your degree online?
Many universities offer as little as 10 hours of lecture time a week – typically spread across 5 days. This combined with one lecturer per 300 students means that you wouldn’t really have a relationship with them. If contact time is on the top of your list, studying via blended learning might be the best option for you – you get 2 or 3 full days of classroom delivery a week for that all important personal tuition time. Got a question outside of these days? Just drop your lecturer an e-mail.
In today’s cut-throat competition, it’s only sensible to get work experience alongside your study. You don’t have to give-up your academic ambitions even if you wish to be working. All you need to do is find an online programme that will fit around your working life – you will earn while you learn (maybe even graduate debt free?) and gain the all-important work experience to improve your future job prospects.
If you’re looking to move in the first few weeks of your first year, or between years if the courses are similar enough, you might be able to transfer directly from one university to another. Connect with the university you want to move to and find out whether they will accept you onto the course. If you want to transfer during a year, you'll need to submit a validation from the new university to your current university. If you want to transfer between years, you would have to apply to the new university using UCAS.
Firstly, talk to you tutor and let them know that you want to leave – they will be able to guide you with the next steps. You will also need to complete a withdrawal form to leave your current university officially.
If you have a student loan, make sure to inform your Student Finance about your transfer. The amount that you're entitled to might change accordingly - for example; you get a larger loan if you're studying in London, so if you transfer from a London university to one elsewhere, you might have to return some of your loan.
Done all of the above? Head back to the UCAS website and start your new application.
If you decide to stay with your current uni for a little bit longer make sure that you boost your second-term experience by getting involved in off-campus activities and meeting new people. If you’re struggling to make friends try joining new societies and students’ union clubs.
Having stress on your mind? Make sure that you take control of your time by implementing a clear timetable to keep anxiety at bay when deadlines approach. You can check our time management tips here.
Don’t forget that Arden University has four intakes a year - so if you decide that your current university doesn’t cut it for you, it’s not the end of the world!
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