The Dos And Don’ts Of Dropping Out

Missing home, not making friends and struggling with the subject are a few of the most common reasons for dropping out of university or college. It can be terrifying to reveal your feelings to those around you – especially to parents!

Don’t stress. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you through what can be a scary and uncertain period.


Don’t panic!

Most people decide on a course between the ages of seventeen and twenty when life experience is limited and you’re still working out who you are. Don’t panic if things don’t work out. You’re young and have a lifetime of other, perhaps more appropriate opportunities ahead of you.


Don’t be hasty!

Starting uni or college is terrifying. Everything is new and different. The work is harder than anything you’ve seen before and there’s a new social scene to negotiate as well.

Give yourself some time to settle in and get used to your new surroundings. If you’re struggling, set yourself a target.  Six to nine months seems like an age when you’re not happy but it’ll give you the space to work out if the course is worth pursuing.


Don’t exaggerate

Although it can feel this way, your life is not over just because you’ve decided to drop out. You may not be headed in a certain direction anymore, but this is just a change of route rather than, say, hitting a stop sign.

It may take a little bit of time but other opportunities will arise.


Do talk

Have conversations with those around you about your course and your feelings towards it. Parents, friends, siblings and even the university will offer advice and support.

It can be hard to raise the subject at first. Once this is done, you’ll have an array of support and advice on offer.  The sooner you reveal your thoughts, the more time your family will have to get used to them.  They are more likely to be supportive if you’ve given them a little warning about what’s going on.



Just as they should listen to you, you need to listen to them – even if you’ve already made up your mind about dropping out. Parents and university professionals can see the situation from a different angle and may be able to offer clearer advice.

This can be beneficial in helping you decide what to do next, whether that’s changing courses or having some time out.



This probably isn’t something you’ll do immediately. Nevertheless, when the stress about dropping out dies down, get researching on what else is out there.  Perhaps it’s time to rediscover a skill you had a school or a subject you enjoyed but did not pursue. It’s a positive thing to find out what else is out there.

There is a definite – and unfair – stigma that comes with dropping out.  Remember: further education represents a very small part of most people’s lives – for many, no part at all. Do what’s best for you, and the rest will follow!


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