daughter wants to drop out of Uni

(23 Posts)
papayasareyum Sun 21-Oct-18 16:46:36

she was so excited to go, hated it at first and now, despite making a lovely group of friends and loving where she lives, hates the course. She said she loved it a week ago! She’s doing an engineering course. Her tutor has suggested swapping to another branch of engineering where the Maths is a bit easier and there are more women. But she’s now not sure if she just wants to come home and drop out for good, swap to another uni next year or change to an entirely different course. She wants me to tell her what to do. (which obviously I can’t)
I want to support her, but I also don’t want her to look back in 5 or 10 years time and regret dropping off a course at a top Uni after only 3 weeks.
I’m at a loss really, finding this parenting lark very stressful indeed.

OP’s posts: |
Petalflowers Sun 21-Oct-18 16:50:58

My niece dropped out at hristmas, took the rest of the year of, then took a new course in a different field altogeher and graduated this year with a good degree. It’s not the end of the world if she does drop out, just a hiccup in her overall journey,.

Can you suggest she stays until Christmas, and see how it goes, and then make the decision as to wether she should stay,or go. Maybe try the other engineering course until then?

Bluntness100 Sun 21-Oct-18 16:55:14

Are you paying for it or is she borrowing? She may only be able to get a loan for three years, so if she's taken for this year it may impact if she drops out and goes for a new course.

Mamaryllis Sun 21-Oct-18 16:59:39

Mid terms. Pretty ordinary. If she can stick it out until Christmas and bank the credits, that will be helpful. My honorary dd did the same thing last year. In the end, she finished the first year and transferred to a different program this year.
Three weeks is such a short period of time and it often takes longer than that to settle. Is she close enough to visit for a weekend and try to get to the bottom of what the real problem is?

Finfintytint Sun 21-Oct-18 17:00:06

Most students feel a bit wobbly early on. She needs to be given a deadline ( Christmas, as suggested or later) before any rash decisions are made.
Is there a student mentor on site she could discuss her options with?

HJE17 Sun 21-Oct-18 17:02:19

I’d sit down with her and help her make a list of all the factors that are making her want to leave. Then methodically go through one by one: is this something you can change/influence? Are you the only one feeling this way or do you know of other students in the same boat who can help each other? Is this a deal breaker? Why?

Then make a list of why she wanted to do the course in the first place and what she hopes to get out of it.

If on balance after that she STILL feels there’s nothing she can change and the benefits aren’t worth the struggle, then think about other options. But honestly First-Year doubts are pretty common! Not sure changing course or uni will necessarily address the root cause of the issue (which could well be that adjusting to uni can be HARD!)

Good luck! x

MargaretDribble Sun 21-Oct-18 17:10:28

Didn't Prince William threaten to leave St Andrews at Christmas and have to be talked out of it? I think it is a pretty common problem.


Fadingmemory Sun 21-Oct-18 17:25:09

Her change of heart seems very sudden. Has something happened? A poor grade? A row with a friend? Unrequited love? An onset of homesickness? I would encourage her to stick it out until Christmas, then discuss it with her. Her tutor has offered what may be sound advice. If she is determined to leave, she needs a plan, be it a gap period during which she works and takes stock before applying for another university, travelling (but in any case she would need to earn the money first), some sort of vocational course etc.

A hard lesson to learn if she makes a hasty decision which she later regrets.

ShalomJackie Sun 21-Oct-18 17:28:18

Loans are available for 4 years so if she really has to drop out then she would still get funding for a different 3 year degree next year.

It seems rather early. Could you persuade her to give it a go until Christmas and if she still wants to leave to go then.

tabbycat1234 Sun 21-Oct-18 17:57:13

Can you visit her rather than her come home to see you? And then spend the time just really listening to her concerns to help her figure out what's made her unhappy. Tempting to jump to solutions but first step is for her to identify what's the problem

tabbycat1234 Sun 21-Oct-18 18:00:03

Also find out if there are any staging points in terms of fees/accommodation charges etc which might help you figure out timescale for any decisions or has she paid whole year up front? Sorry I don't know how the finances work!

UnderMajorDomoMinor Sun 21-Oct-18 18:01:17

It’d be a good idea to check when you need to drop out prior to to avoid paying tuition for the year and to avoid it impacting on her ability to get a full loan for a new course.

MarchingFrogs Sun 21-Oct-18 19:31:41


The University of Westminster explains it quite well.

Essentially, you are entitled to finance for a 'gift year', which covers one false start, but probably won't cover having to repeat a year in a new degree.

The bad news, for those of you who have had fees paid privately, is that it is the 'having previously studied' bit that is relevant, I think, not how it was paid for. This statement is from the Gov.uk site:

You’ve studied before
You’ll usually only get student finance if you’re doing your first higher education qualification - even if your previous course was self-funded. You may still be eligible for limited funding in certain circumstances.

hellsbells99 Sun 21-Oct-18 19:56:19

Op, engineering is a hard course. DD had a crisis after about 5/6 weeks in the first year. She said she was not clever enough. But she came home for a weekend and I sat with her and helped her structure and complete an assignment. I had very little knowledge of the subject but she had hit a brick wall, so just needed help with how to approach it. The one girl she had made friends with changed to civil engineering around that stage as she struggled with the maths. If your dD has changed her mind over the space of a week, there is probably a reason behind it that can be addressed.
DD is now in her third year and very much enjoying it, but she hasn’t made any female friends on her course. She has male friends on the course. Luckily she has female friends who she lives with.
My other DD knew she had chosen the wrong course after only a few weeks. We persuaded her to give it more time But still ended up dropping out during the second semester. She applied for a different course at a different university and it has been a much better experience. She has still got the full funding for the second course.
There is no right answer but I would try and convince her to give it more time unless it is seriously affecting her mental health.

hellsbells99 Sun 21-Oct-18 19:58:59

Oh, and if she drops out part way through a term, she will have to pay part of her loan back. She would be better staying until Christmas for that reason. If she does decide to leave, if she is in university owned accommodation you may be able to give notice - please check all this out.

CartwheelCath Mon 22-Oct-18 09:07:30

There is still time so dont panic. What is important is the best decision for your dd is made and you cannit rush that. I would suggest this early in the course that they sit I
It out a bit longer just to see if they start yo like it more as it develops. This option might be a good idea if there is nothing else really grabbing them now. If there is another course at the same uni thst is really grabbing her then move asap. If not just take your time to work through it. It will probably be wiser to spend longer now deciding what's right or wrong and weighing up other options than rushing into another wrong decision. 3/4 weeks in though is very early to fo a compmete u-turn. You eont get a refund on this terms fees so a few more weeks seeing if things imoroves may be am option worth considering if there is nothing else exciting her.

My son left his course just before Easter this year in his first year.
It was a shock in some ways as he loved his flat and flat mates snd uni life. I had started to get a bit suspicious because he never talked about his actual course. He came home end of February and explained he had had a complete change of heart (he had wanted to do his subject since age 12/13). He had a vague possibility of what he might like to do instead but really wasn't sure. It was an absolute complete change of heart. From highly academic to arts.

He came home just before Easter and we managed to stop the third term loans etc being paid and got a refund the summer term element on his paid up front rent in halls.

He came home (which isn't where he went to school or grew up because we moved 80 miles away last Sept) and looked for a part time job whilst he took time to just think things through and explore his options.

The part time job never materialised - shocking how hard it is to find work. He went to 3 colleges in our area and surrounding cities open days and took a course in his new possible chosen field. Yes it's a step back in some ways. The course us described as a gap year course but is essentially a 1 year L3 course. The idea behind this was it was a totally new direction and a subject area he had not done since yr 8 (before GCSE options). He said he wanted to be sure it was this direction he wanted to go in before committing to uni and more loans again. We are 6 weeks into this college course and he is well and truely stuck in to researching universities to continue this subject from Sept next year. We are back on the open day circuit (which is manic with his younger sister doing the same for the first time). He us working on his personal statement and 're registered with UCAS. He is a September baby and will be 21 when he starts uni next year.

Is this the ideal route? Probably not but it's neither the end of the world. It's better they take time now to find their niche or place.

I really feel taking a few months out to decide his options really helped lift the stress and pressure on my ds.

papayasareyum Mon 22-Oct-18 12:57:26

Thanks for all the replies, they’re really helpful and reasssuring. Her mental health has never been great to be honest. I’m worried about her dealing with this so far from home, but at the same time worried that if she comes back after 3 weeks, she might regret it later. She’s looking at options now and going to try the other engineering course until December. She’s glad she’s got the option also of reapplying and going back next September, perhaps to a London Uni so she can commute there and back. She might enjoy the new course, but at least she doesn’t feel trapped. It’s hard to listen and not offer advice or an opinion, but I know this has to be her decision, not mine.

OP’s posts: |
tabbycat1234 Mon 22-Oct-18 17:39:01

Sorry I didn't mean you're not allowed to have an opinion & give advice  - not that they always want to hear it!

But she does also need to figure out what's bothering her to figure out how to solve it. It's all been a bit quick. She mostly needs to know you're thinking about her. Is there a counselling service she can access? Also a fees/finance advice person/service if needed.

All the best x

tabbycat1234 Mon 22-Oct-18 17:45:13

I would def find out the facts asap from your particular uni re deadlines/rules re cancelling contract/dropping out/repeating a year in case there is one soon, don't assume. You could find this stuff out for her so she doesn't have to stress about it.

tabbycat1234 Mon 22-Oct-18 18:22:21

Not implying you should make a rushed decision just an informed one!

papayasareyum Tue 23-Oct-18 16:36:12

she’s much much happier after getting the go ahead to swap to another engineering discipline and she’s really excited about it after a long chat with the course leader/tutor and she’s giving herself until Xmas. I’ve looked into the finances and she’d incur pretty much the same costs if she left now or at Christmas (not a huge amount thankfully) so it makes sense to stay until then and she really wants to. She likes the sound of this course a lot. Only time will tell, I guess!

OP’s posts: |
tabbycat1234 Tue 23-Oct-18 18:55:58

So good to hear, fingers crossed for you both. Sounds like she feels in charge so that will help too.

There should be a manual for all these stages of parenting! smile

hellsbells99 Tue 23-Oct-18 20:32:40

That’s good news. Good luck to your DD

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in