DS about to drop out of Uni(20 Posts)
DS is in second year at uni and has just announced he will be leaving after Christmas. I have tried talking to him and so has DH, obviously we are keen for him to stay on. He seems a little down in a general sense. Too many late nights, bad food etc. Also trying to convince him not to act on his current feelings and to get some sleep, exercise, good food in the hope he will feel more positive about things. I think the course is getting him down as well as he has a pretty full on day of lectures whereas his friends seem to have a lot of free time. He does get on well with his housemates.
Am feeling really down about this myself, and worried about his future. He has a tendency towards laziness, so not sure if he just can't be bothered with the work, or is genuinely struggling. I think I'm looking for some advice on the situation with regard to student loan, what the options maybe, ie is it possible to restart second year in September should he want to. Also, if he leaves and then decides to return in a few years time would he be able to get another loan. Just scared for his future really, especially as he would like to work abroad at some stage so really could do with finishing his degree. Also, it just seems so late in the day to be dropping out. Have suggested he talk to his tutor, but don't know whether he will bother.
Should also have mentioned he said he stopped going to lectures etc about three weeks ago. Not sure if he got someone else to sign him in (if this is possible).
DD dropped out of her first term of Uni after about 6 weeks. She had to repay her tuition to date as it's hadn't been covered by her loan yet, and her maintenance loan will have to be repaid in the future. She found her tutor at uni fairly useless in helping her switch courses so she dropped out. She's now back at a different uni doing a different 4-year course and has had no trouble getting the loans for that.
What does he plan to do after he's left? come home and sponge on you? what are his work prospects? Can you make it clear that if he does come home you expect him to contribute financially?
Ultimately of course he is an adult, but it's hard to tell if he's approaching this in an adult way. Does he have a plan, e.g. going full time in a current pt job? Has he talked to his tutor? his GP?
It's possible that the best thing you can do is to say to him 'As you're an adult there is nothing that I can do to stop you making this decision' and leave it at that. I think in that way you make it clear that you don't think it's the right choice, but bring it home to him that it really is his life now to sort out. I think this particularly because it's his second year - wanting to drop out in the first year is not uncommon IMO, but it may well be that university is really not right for him. If he is put off from his course by having more lectures than his housemates, then it sounds like he would do better going to work and getting paid and all the general perks of being in the workforce. Being a student is bloody hard even though a privilege, I've done it twice and am very glad to be working again.
Thanks for your replies. He seems to have vague plans to travel round Europe on his own. Seems to think this is a good idea. Not sure where he thinks he is going to get the money from. I would say that although he is clearly an adult he isn't really considering his future in a mature way. Not sure if he has spoken to his tutor, will ask him later. I don't think he even wants to go out to work. I do agree that he is old enough to make his own decision, but I do worry that he will end up coming home and vegetating in his bedroom. All his local friends are away at Uni.
Then I think perhaps asking him 'how long do you think it will it take to save up for that' in the most neutral tones you can manage might be best...
It is a worry, though, that he's just stopped going to lectures. It may be that he is having trouble facing up to starting up again/facing the music on that one. He may not realise how common it is to grind to a halt on the studying front and that it's something a lot of people have to do, to get themselves to their tutors and say 'things have gone badly wrong, I need your advice on how to restart' because they are likely to get a blast of bracing advice they have to act on rather than an arm round the shoulder scenario.
I am finding it very difficult to detach myself emotionally from all this and to let him make his own decisions. Especially, as he does want to work abroad in the future and would therefore benefit from a degree. Unfortunately, acting on advice given isn't one of his strong points. I hope he does see his tutor as it may be good for him to talk this through with someone who has probably come across it before and maybe able to offer more neutral advice. It does seem such a waste having a load of debt and nothing to show for it.
Of course you can't detach yourself emotionally, he's your son! You could tell him that, actually. He's talking to you, which is a positive, but he needs to talk to someone in authority. If he just drops out without talking to them, that will be a really bad idea. The 'travelling' idea does sound remarkably like running away and leaving
you Someone Else to deal with all the official letters that will appear for him, from the uni, Student Finance etc. Hope someone else posts who knows what happens if he does that
Agree about the running away aspect. I really don't think he has considered the financial aspect. We have been paying his accommodation, and I am guessing we will have to pay that whatever happens. He just said he was sorry when I tried to point this out. Deep down I am hoping that if he gets some sleep and healthy food he might come to his senses so to speak, but he has a tendency to make up his mind and stick with it, even if he is giving the impression he is agreeing with what we say. I guess, as it is ultimately his decision we just have to wait and see what happens. Wish I could march him to the tutor myself. Have suggested he could have a chat with the gp, but he didn't seem keen.
Do you know why your DS wants to give up? Is it the degree he is doing or the work in general? Or for personal reasons?
If he is unhappy with the degree he is studying, but still wants a degree it might be possible to transfer within his current uni. He might need to restart in Oct, but he would still be on the old fee regime.
If he likes the degree, but doesn't like the uni, he might be able to do a direct entry into the 2nd year of another uni, providing the first year is similar. He would then be on the new fees.
If he really doesn't want to study anymore, then leaving is obviously the best option. He would usually get a Cert HE if he finished the first year which may or not be useful later.
If he is not really sure why he wants to leave, the best bet would probably be to ask for leave of absence at your uni? Where I work students can apply for LOA for up to one year without necessarily giving a reason. This would give him the time and space to work out what he wants. He could then stay/transfer/quit when he is clearer abut his future.
Thanks for that info creamteas. I will try and talk to him further about those options. It's difficult to tell what his actual reasons are, but hopefully he won't act until he has thought things through carefully.
How did he do in his firstyear and what are his marks like this year so far - is this year continuous assessment or is it all on the final exams? This may make a difference in whether he is able to pull back if you are able to persuade him to stay..
The entitlement to a further loan later down the line is difficult - it needs real expert advice in negotiating your way though the guideline sand his student welfare team at uni sould be able to help on that if he can get in to see them before he burns his bridges.
If he liked it last year, it may just be the different modules this year which are tricky - can he swop or do they last just a term?
And is it his living arrangements or a girlfriend problem - again, things can be changed.
I know from my own DD that once one thing goes wrong (boyfriend in her case) they think it's all tied in together - its not. Try to help him isolate what exactly is the problem and then emphasise the positive aspects of his life there - so good points might be housemates or sport. If bad points are a girlfriend issue, then tlc over Christmas might help. If the bad points are the course - then look to change modules or do subjects out of the department for creditn(eg a language) or focus on year three And tell him to tough it out.
Good luck in talking this trough with him - as you can tell, have had similar conversAtions with my DD
It is complicated, but in most cases, you can borrow the length of your degree course plus one year from student finance. This is the same staying at one uni or moving.
Oh, poor him.
Obviously, he is old enough to make his own decisions, but practically, if he doesn't speak to his tutor it'll make life a lot harder later on, as well as now.
If he is miserable, I think maybe it is worth him seeing a doctor to see if he's depressed? I'm mentioning this because I think quite a lot of students get depression and some don't know to get it sorted out. That might explain him struggling to get motivated, feeling depressed and so on. It's also worth discussing because if he's signed off from his course because he's not really fit to carry on medically, I think it will be much easier for him to go back later.
As well as his (academic?) tutor, ideally he should have people to talk to on the pastoral side (student services). Even if he just feels as if it's going through the motions, if he's left a paper trail to show he was trying to address the fact he wanted to give up, it'll make it easier to get back into it later on and I would think easier to explain to an employer (he will need references from his tutors for jobs).
It might be that telling him this sort of stuff will also make him think about the Europe plan and where the heck he's going to get the money from.
What's he been doing for the last few weeks since he stopped going to lectures?
Flora that is a very good question. I can only imagine that he has been sitting around in his house all day but would have thought a few days of that would have driven him back to lectures. He is not very forthcoming about what he has been doing or what his plans really are for the future. How far into Europe can he get without money?!
LRD we have suggested a trip to the doctor to have a chat. This is another thing he isn't keen to do.
We seem to be in the situation now that all we can do is to wait it out and see what happens. I am now starting to get a bit cross about the waste of an opportunity and of course the financial mess. He has a year's contract on his house, I believe - will have to talk to the accommodation service.
My son is in his second year at uni but made the decision to go to a local uni( fortunately we have a good one nearby) so that he could do it debt free! It also meant he could keep his existing job. I would say that it's only in the last month or so that the work has really ramped up on his course and he's having to put in a bit of time and effort ,perhaps this is what your son has found . He has also missed a few lectures for one of his modules because he says that its a waste of time . Perhaps it's that time of year and over Christmas you'll be able to get him to look at it all a bit more rationally.
I think DH is hoping that the Christmas break will give him the opportunity to consider things more carefully and maybe understand what he is actually giving up. I suspect that an increased work load and level of difficulty may be influencing his decision. He certainly seemed to go back in October with the idea of carrying it though to the end. Just hope he doesn't do anything rash beforehand. He's off on a Uni skiing holiday at the end of the week, so that could, I suppose, help him think more clearly given the fresh air and exercise. Although I have to say he tends to be quite stubborn once he's made up his mind.
He should be aware that should he choose to return to university at a later date, then he would have to pay the first year's tuition fees upfront, and he would not receive any tuition fee, maintenance loan, maintenance grant or bursary. This is because the funding formula is: length of new course plus one year minus any previous years of study = number of years funding available. With fees as they now are, that could present an insurmountable challenge.
He will also be tied into his housing contract for the rest of the year. Whilst he may be able to get out of it by finding a new tenant, realistically (due to the council tax implications) it would have to be another student who moved in, and trying to find another student tenant at this time of year is nigh on impossible. He's probably got in the region of £2000 left of rent to pay this year, to boot.
Really appreciate all the responses. boomting that's pretty much what I thought the situation might be. Wish he would look a bit more to the future and understand how long he will be working and how much easier things might be if he stays on now. However, he is a teenager I suppose.
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