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Can DS start his second year again?(6 Posts)
DS1 is in his second year at university. He is unhappy with his living situation as he no longer gets on with one of the friends from last year who he is living with. It seems this one person has also fallen out with everyone in the house except for his partner who also lives there, but it has affected DS. He has started to have panic attacks and has had been thinking about when he was bullied at school.
He had been doing quite well academically. He got grades equivalent to a low 1st and two 2.1s for his coursework for the first semester. Then came the long Christmas holidays. He just didn't want to go back. He travelled from home to Uni to attend his first exam and had a panic attack afterwards. He didn't attend his subsequent second and third exams. I did everything I could to try to persuade him to return but he said he just couldn't.
He doesn't want to drop out but he doesn't seem able to return either. When I spoke to him recently, he said what he would most like to do is take the rest of the year off, see a counsellor, get his head together and start the second year again. I encouraged him to see his personal tutor about it, but the personal tutor steered him towards trying to apply for extenuating circumstances so he can re-take his exams next summer without the whole modules being capped as passes. I don't see how he could possibly get extenuating circumstances though, as he hasn't seen a counsellor whilst at university ( did for a while in sixth form) and has never seen a doctor about his anxiety. He has now signed up with the university counselling service and is waiting to hear from them.
When DS asked about starting the year again, DS thought the tutor was a bit vague and said it was possible but sort of hinted about a possibility of his whole final results being capped, without explaining exactly how that would work.
Does anyone know any more about how this works or how DS can find out?
There should be something like 'student welfare' at the student union who can talk through options.
His tutor is probably right that he needs to look at applying for extenuating circumstances. The rules are different at different universities but this is the system that lets them write off/ignore poor results because you were unwell. Most places will cap retakes at the pass mark otherwise & don't let you just drop your poor grades and try again unless you do have extenuating circumstances. (Otherwise people who just don't put any effort in could retake as much as they like & finish with the same class of degree as someone who works consistently.)
Getting in touch with the university counseling service should certainly help with the application.
His course administrator (not a lecturer, someone in an office who probably sends emails about department events, hand-in information, maybe grades etc.) might be better at explaining the university's procedures. (At my uni she's a brilliant help, at others the students haven't heard of the role.)
If he wants to temporarily withdraw on medical grounds he really needs to talk to someone at the union & his tutor for advice. It has a big effect on finances for one thing as you're not entitled to your maintenance grant or most state benefits. I've seen people do it successfully, get treatment & return to uni for a fresh go at second year in a much better place, but he does need to think it through carefully.
Yes, in theory he could start his second year again. The issue is in getting the uni to see this as a restart due to "Compelling Personal Reasons" (this is the Student Finance term for it-they mean things like long term sickness, family death, mental illness etc) rather than a restart due to exam failure, iyswim. A restart due to failure will have his marks capped at the pass mark to discourage others from thinking that they can simply scrap their marks and try again if they don't work hard enough one year. This means that he needs to get the uni to accept his extenuating circumstances and then explain to them why he can't just retake the exams in the summer, as this is the usual preferred option as it's the least complicated for students, the uni and SFE.
As for funding, as PP said, if he's not at uni then SF will want his funding back. He will likely have to pay back everything from January onwards and won't get any more money till he enrols next year. He also won't be entitled to any benefits.
The best thing for him to do is find the university's "rules" for situations like this-there will be a student handbook or a "calendar" on the uni website. An appointment with the Student Union welfare advisor (they handle SF, years out, CPR applications and so forth) wouldn't go amiss either, as they can clarify his options in a neutral setting before he makes any big decisions.
Thank you both, that's very helpful.
My DS1 is in Year 1, not settling at all and wants to quit. He has suffered panic attacks and is prescribed medication for anxiety. The GP also recently diagnosed SADs (seasonal affective disorder)
I'm at a complete loss as to how best advise him, not helped by him being 4 hours away.
OP it's very difficult, isn't it?
Pinkbendyman, yes it is tough. For them and us. I do remember having similar issues when I was their age, and found my way eventually. Hoping your ds and mine find their way soon 🌹