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AIBU to feel disheartened that my uni would rather I drop out?

(105 Posts)
Ljsj Mon 14-Oct-19 23:06:34

I'll try keep it brief.
At uni, my degree course nationwide doesn't require a sandwich placement year but my uni has a mandatory one (so, not necessary to get this degree, but at my uni they make it that way). My placement year is next year.
I have a young child, which makes life slightly more complicated as unlike the majority of my course mates I can't move back in with my parents and I can't move wherever I can get a placement.
Initially we were told there would be very few paid placements, upon further inspection it turns out no placements are local, save for a voluntary role with a charity, this is unpaid work.
The placement must be 35-40 hours a week, for 40 weeks.
There's no maintenance loan from student finance during this time and the uni doesn't offer any grants.
I cannot progress onto my final year unless I undertake a placement.

Have spoken to the uni, people in several separate departments, and they've all passed me around and the final answer is "drop out, or transfer universities if you want to finish your degree". Neither are really an option, and I'm a bit baffled that they've been so dismissive about it, they won't let me skip the placement year.

I've asked everywhere I can and I'm not getting anywhere. Is it mad for them to suggest dropping out or am I overreacting? I'm in my second year so have already completed my first year. Do not have a partner so no second salary I can live off for the year whilst I undertake an unpaid placement. Longshot, but does anyone have a clue what I can do?

Preggosaurus9 Mon 14-Oct-19 23:08:48

Transfer to another uni. It's not hard assuming you got good grades for 1st and 2nd year. I did it.

TitianaTitsling Mon 14-Oct-19 23:09:05

What's the course you are on to not get any funding for a placement?

user1474894224 Mon 14-Oct-19 23:09:20

What are you studying? What are the placements?

Preggosaurus9 Mon 14-Oct-19 23:10:09

Just seen you're in 2nd year now. I'd start enquiring with prospective unis now about when they would want you to apply to transfer.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 14-Oct-19 23:10:50

I don't understand this at all - they expect adults to take unpaid work for a YEAR with no grants/loans etc before they can go on to the third year?

Did you KNOW this before starting?

I would move uni's. It's not like you have much of a choice.

Is there hardship payments ?

Jollitwiglet Mon 14-Oct-19 23:10:56

Did the course details show you would have to do the placement before you started?

Perunatop Mon 14-Oct-19 23:12:57

It does sound absurd to expect you to survive for a year without payment or funding but TBH you should have researched this before committing to the course. A transfer to another uni sounds your best option.

TitianaTitsling Mon 14-Oct-19 23:13:06

Surely not everyone has parents/dp who can financially support them for a year?

Fallulah Mon 14-Oct-19 23:13:15

Could you be proactive and find your own placement, or does it have to be one the university approves?

I thought you could still claim support while on a sandwich year? Might be out of date though, so apologies if I am.

Possibility of part time/weekend work alongside the placement? A lot of people have to do this (accepting it is more difficult with a child):

BabyofMine Mon 14-Oct-19 23:13:56

Why did you apply for a course with such a requirement??

SarahAndQuack Mon 14-Oct-19 23:15:23

shock And they didn't mention this when you started the degree?

I think you need to take them evidence that this has been sprung on you (eg., a copy of the prospectus from the year you applied).

Frankly, I think they are on shaky ground if they're requiring you to volunteer for a year to complete a degree, even if they did say it up front. How can that be ethical?!

I think you should insist they make a paid placement available. It is fair enough if you have to move to do it, I think - but they cannot expect you to move and to work for free.

CloudRusting Mon 14-Oct-19 23:15:43

If it was like this from when you applied then you’re going to have to suck it up and transfer or do extra work around the placement to make ends meet.

If they have made the placement year mandatory since you signed up then I’d be raising Merry hell.

BitchyArriver Mon 14-Oct-19 23:15:47

That’s shit OP flowers

Did you not know when you started that paid placements would be like hens teeth? It’s a pity you didn’t find this out first but it’s too late now.

Can you find your own placement? I found my own for my hospitality degree as I didn’t want to work for free or be up against 50 students competing for the few paid ones.

If not it looks like the best option now is to transfer unis if you can. Is there more than one in your town offering your degree? Could you finish with OU? Will the uni offer you a HND for the first 2 years?

Samosaurus Mon 14-Oct-19 23:16:14

How could you have missed this when you applied?! I agree it is unreasonable but if that’s part of the university’s compulsory criteria to get one of their degrees then I don’t think there will be much you can do about it.

Mouikey Mon 14-Oct-19 23:16:58

Hopefully I don’t come across to harshly, but did you not look into this before applying to this uni? Why did you pick a 4 year course above a 3 year course without a placement elsewhere? I assume that the placement year would put you ahead of the game in terms of experience once you graduate? If you graduate after 3 years, what kind of employment would you expect? Would you go into a similar unpaid internship or low paid position - I.e. do you suck it up now or later?

What’s the likelihood of finding a permanent position once you graduate in the town/city you currently live in or will you have to move then?

All the above would determine next steps, but if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it so the choice is as stark as drop out or transfer.

drspouse Mon 14-Oct-19 23:18:26

If it's for a full year and you have no real support locally but you could get a paid placement elsewhere, could you move for that year?

mauvaisereputation Mon 14-Oct-19 23:19:21

Can you transfer to a different course at this uni?

MummytoCSJH Mon 14-Oct-19 23:23:11

You can get student finance whilst on an unpaid placement year. There are no courses where this isn't the case especially with a young child as you still get all the grants and childcare etc. I know because I am on a similar course with a sandwich year. You've been given the wrong info I'm afraid, but don't worry.

Butchyrestingface Mon 14-Oct-19 23:23:21

Was this somehow not made explicit to you during the application process? Why is transferring not an option?

It sounds like a ridiculous set up. They must have to process a fuck tonne of transfers.

hotdogwoof Mon 14-Oct-19 23:23:36

I had something similar. I was to work 40 hours a week, no pay, I was to pay for hospital accommodation for 4 weeks. I have a young son. I didn't have anyone to take him (I didn't want to leave him for 4 weeks either) and uni were shit. No advice, no point me in the direction of x person, just a well you will need to find a more family friendly course.

I left.

If you have the option to transfer then do it if you want to continue your course.

Ljsj Mon 14-Oct-19 23:27:10

I can't afford to move and need to remain living reasonably close to my child's father as he has her weekday evenings and the closest unis are a few hours away.

I was also under the impression SFE would still pay full maintenance loan, but they don't even with unpaid, you get a max of £2700 for the whole year. The only funded unpaid placements are ones within the prison service, the NHS or an LA. NHS placements locally are only for the obvious, ie. Psychology, medical etc. Students, I am neither, and my LA don't take on students from my degree subject.

I did research this before committing to the course, but I also didn't have a choice with what uni I went to, and there was no indication that the placement wasn't paid, in fact the uni website states they only allow unpaid placements if it's under 10 weeks or a voluntary role, and when we had a talk last year on placements salaries were discussed and nothing indicated they weren't paid. I'm not the only one on my course in a position where this has left them in a bad position, understandably!

They're not exactly expecting students to go a year unpaid, they're expecting students to go home to live with their parents who are meant to support them for the duration of the year if unpaid, or to secure a placement in London or other large cities where paid placements (with very decent salaries for a placement) are.

RavenLG Mon 14-Oct-19 23:27:22

I used to work in a university placement team, and unpaid placements were always avoided unless the student could prove they could fund the year without a wage.

However, it seems like you were aware of the situation before you started the course. They told you there would be limited paid placements, and did not say the paid ones would be local. 90% of the students I worked with moved away for the year to take the placement year. I don’t think there is much you can do if this is a requirement of your course. Is there anyone you could speak with in your student union (academic rep?)

Orchidfeed Mon 14-Oct-19 23:28:30

Your options would appear to be either transfer to another uni - I hope there is one fairly near - or try to find a paid placement.

Talk to your student union - I don’t think you will be the first to have had this problem

Butchyrestingface Mon 14-Oct-19 23:31:18

Sounds like unworkable, elitist bullshit. Which doesn’t exactly help you, I appreciate. I would be raising the issues about the lack of transparency and conflicting information given to studies, which obv informed your decision to study there?

Do you have a students council you can approach for help?

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