Son is leaving his uni course - advice please!

(23 Posts)
Josie1968 Tue 15-Oct-19 21:49:13

Hi there

My son started uni just three weeks ago (living away) and despite having chosen the course / uni etc about a year ago he is so unhappy and last night said that he is quitting and is coming home tomorrow. He has been ringing us almost every day as he has been very low in mood and anxious, and has wanted to talk things through with us. He has missed a lecture and says that he has not been doing work set for him. This is so very out of character for him, he has always been so hard working and applied in his studies and has always been a very happy go lucky boy... so very worrying and upsetting to see him so down.

He decided to quit now in the hope that he might escape having the tuition fee paid to the university this term although I don't think that is certain. However I just found out today that due to signing a contract for his accommodation he is still liable for the years accommodation fees unless he is able to find someone to take over the contract...and I don't know how likely that will be at this stage when everyone must surely have sorted out their accommodation by now. He does not have the money to pay it back and neither do we!! I think it is something in the region of £3.5k!!
Has anyone else been in this situation and what happened? I am quite worried about it so any information gratefully received. He wants to go to our local uni next September and start another course... to be honest I would rather him get an apprenticeship but I guess it's his life!!!

Many thanks


OP’s posts: |
Serin Tue 15-Oct-19 22:15:11

A girl in DDs flat did this 4 weeks into her course. She wasnt charged tuition or accom fees. I guess it varies from uni to uni but I would imagine they "threaten" to charge to put students off quitting.
Maybe if he informs them off his unhappiness they might treat him leniently.
It sounds like he has a plan for next year and if he really isnt happy then best to cut his losses.

which1 Tue 15-Oct-19 22:19:07

Liability point 1 (the point at which you can claim the first term's tuition fees) is the first day of term so they are liable for term one's fees as soon as the first day is done.
They may choose to waive it or might if you asked nicely but the norm would be to charge it.

MollyButton Tue 15-Oct-19 22:24:02

He needs to talk to people - Tutor, student support and a Doctor. The more evidence he can get for his state of mind and why he is dropping out - the better (and the more likely to get debts written off/waived).

Hollybollybingbong Tue 15-Oct-19 22:27:02

Hi Josie,
I'm shoddy to hear your son is finding it difficult.
My son struggled through his first year at uni, then struggled through resitting that first year again and has now withdrawn. He is a perfectionist and when he felt his work was less than perfect found it hard to cope, he became withdrawn and depressed.
Now he's back home we're building him back up so that he can take another stab at independence when he's prepared, albeit work/uni.
It's been a very difficult time and were frightened when he was away and obviously not coping and felt helpless, in hindsight we wish he'd had a gap year, although he'd never mentioned one before uni, his sister had one and seems stronger for it.
Please ask your son to contact their student welfare team, it is also possible for you to contact them, although they won't divulge personal information they can advise on available supporr.
Also there is plenty of information here
Of course, your son may just be a little homesick and once he spends some time with you may feel confident enough to go back to uni.
Best wishes to both of you.

Hollybollybingbong Tue 15-Oct-19 22:28:05

Oops. Sorry, not shoddy (although the typing was!)

FridalovesDiego Tue 15-Oct-19 22:37:26

They won’t reimburse tuition or accommodation fees. My daughter felt like this too, luckily she saw it out and ended up having a fantastic time. Is he far away? Could he start coming home on weekends?


Josie1968 Tue 15-Oct-19 22:41:11

Thank you for your replies. Yes he has seen the student wellbeing person quite a bit since he started. He has always seen the same person and has said she has been very helpful and supportive, so I have suggested that he email her and ask for her support /advice relating to his situation. He has emailed her tonight so hopefully she might respond tomorrow. He hasn't seen a GP as he hadn't registered yet so unable to make an appointment but the wellbeing person is very aware of how he has been feeling which I hope is a good thing as she might be able to advocate on his behalf. Thanks again for your advice. x

OP’s posts: |
Srictlybakeoff Tue 15-Oct-19 22:50:47

This happened to my ds2. He hated the course he was on and left at the end of the first term. His tutor at the time suggested if he was certain it wasn’t for him it was better to leave sooner rather than later.
Fees weren’t a problem ( Scotland ) The university managed to rent out his room even tho it was Xmas when he left so we didn’t have to pay that .
He worked and re- applied for a different course ( one he wouldn’t even have considered while still at school) . He went to a local uni and stayed at home. He said being a year older was a definite advantage. He now has a great graduate job and is very happy.
It seemed like the end of the world at the time, but we all learned a lot anD its all worked out very well.
He said our support and non judgement really helped him though it all.

kerkyra Tue 15-Oct-19 22:55:53

He must be feeling terrible,poor lad.
My daughter dropped out three weeks before the end of first year. She just couldnt cope .Now works at pets at home full time and is so happy

Jellybean100 Tue 15-Oct-19 23:06:42

Does he know what he wants to do when he leaves? Does he have a plan?
I was in a similar position 10 years ago. I hated everything about university and living away (even though it wasn’t that far from my home and I came home as often as possible!) I left with the plan of finding a full time minimum wage job and applying for a vocational degree living from home. I’m now working in that vocation and look back on my first uni experience as a blip. I had to pay my fees in the usual way (in my case through student loan company which I managed to pay off last year). The worst part was the accommodation- it was a private student let rather than through uni and same applied to me in that I had to pay the rent unless I found another suitable tenant (was basically impossible) so I did end up paying approx £3000 for renting an unused room until the end of the year.
All the best to your son. It must be an anxious time for you but I found that my parents being supportive of my decision really really helped me get through it all. I was making myself ill being in that situation and their support meant I had a way out of it. X

Littlemeadow123 Tue 15-Oct-19 23:09:50

The uni will probably find someone to move into his accommodation no problem. When I was at university it was like one great big game of musical rooms. Students fall out and want to be switched to other accommodation or they want to be in the same dorm with friends from their course. Some students switch universities in the first term, or even in the first year, and these all need accomodation. So I dont think that there will be an issue there.

Reasontobelieve Wed 16-Oct-19 06:48:45

I am so sorry that things haven't worked out for your son. It is a huge change and I have come to realise that there is nothing that can prepare them for this huge step.

I think that unfortunately, he will be liable for the costs of the accommodation, until another tenant is found to occupy that space. This might work out if it is a popular site with other students. I have already seen posts from parents of students in this position on various Facebook sites.

Kuponut Wed 16-Oct-19 11:08:54

Loads of posts on our uni FB groups at the moment from people switching universities or quitting and needing other people to take over their room contract so I think it's a fairly common situation these days unfortunately. I'm currently trying to stick my own course out (hating the commute - love the course content) and it's a rotten situation to be in.

Nettleskeins Wed 16-Oct-19 16:03:39

I think it is quite common for rooms to become available or for students to want to leave one flat and find a space in another even if they are staying at university. At ds1's uni some halls are private, and some are owned by the university accommodation - the private ones are slightly more tricky to find new tenants for in the sense that you are still responsible for money owing until there is a new tenant, and there are various terms and conditions. As far as I know there is always a waiting list for most halls accommodation (of both types)so no problem to find a new tenant.
I would listen to his gut instinct, the longer he stays the more likely he is to feel he has wasted the year. Whereas to leave now, is basically to have a gap year, a perfectly sensible chance to look at his options without any pressure.

titchy Wed 16-Oct-19 16:40:52

* Liability point 1 (the point at which you can claim the first term's tuition fees) is the first day of term so they are liable for term one's fees as soon as the first day is done.*

No it's not - it's day 14. Having said that if he is liable for fees, he's also able to keep the first maintenance loan instalment which should help cover some of his accommodation costs until him room is filled.

Josie1968 Sat 19-Oct-19 06:33:18

Thank you all so much for your replies and for sharing your own experiences, it has helped a lot to know that we’re not on our own in this situation. He’s home but is still feeling low and is not sure what to do next. He already had a gap year where he went travelling for 6 months to NZ, Australia and Indonesia and had a great time. He came home in June and seemed ok but a few weeks before he was due to start he became fairly quiet but wouldn’t talk about how he was feeling at that time.

When he was at uni I suggested he access the student wellbeing service as he was feeling so down which he did.... he saw her quite often. So he has emailed her and she said she will write a letter of support for him so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Thanks again


OP’s posts: |
Monica53 Mon 28-Oct-19 02:51:23

Hi @Josie1968
Hope you're ok and your DS..I've just put a thread on about our DC thinking of leaving uni after 4weeks. and they're 300miles away...they're seeing student support thus week to discuss options. How is your son doing? Hope he is ok..

Josie1968 Sat 02-Nov-19 09:11:41

Hi Monica53

I'm sorry to hear about your DC going through this too, it's a worry isn't it? My son is variable in mood at the moment, he has got himself a driving job which is helping to boost his savings again as he came home from his travels with hardly any money left in his bank account!!

He says he still wants to go to uni so is going to some open events and will hopefully start uni in September 2020; I think he might opt to go to our local uni this time. He is still quite low in mood at times, I think he feels that his friends are all moving on and he is now stuck in a driving job although I've tried to reassure him that this is only a temporary thing until he starts uni again and to look at the positives of working (ie. gaining experience in a work environment / obtaining a work reference for the future etc). He maintains it was the right decision to leave which is something, at least he is not regretting the decision to leave that particular university / course. Another issue for my son is that he broke up with his gf in the summer, however he wants to restart the relationship but she doesn't - so that is not helping matters either at the moment and he is feeling very down about that too sad

How did your DC get on with student support, have they decided to leave or stay? Hope all is okay and things working out for you all.


OP’s posts: |
simbobs Sat 02-Nov-19 13:35:11

You haven't said which uni he is at, but my DS is in accommodation that isn't even full so would definitely not be able to find someone to take over the contract if we were in your situation. I'm sure that your first concern is for your DS (and rightly so) but you may end up having to pay. My DB found himself in this situation when his DD dropped out just before Christmas. He realised later that the others in her flat had not really wanted anyone else sharing with them and had discouraged all applicants!
It does sound like the poor boy's mind is made up, though.

Josie1968 Fri 15-Nov-19 07:33:16

Just an update, he has had a response from his student accommodation and he does not have to pay for the rest of the year, this is such a relief. I think the letter of support written by the student wellbeing lady was a big help - he had been seeing her very regularly for support so she was well aware of how he was feeling and how depressed and anxious he was. Thank you all for your comments.


OP’s posts: |
Weenurse Fri 15-Nov-19 07:44:54

Mine both took time off to work and volunteer and now are in university with clear ideas on where they want to go with their careers.
This will be good for him long term.
Good luck

bettydaviseyes1 Fri 15-Nov-19 07:57:22

Better to waste 3.5k than 3 years worth of money for a degree he doesnt want, won't use, will make him miserable and ruin his chances of ever doing another degree because he cant get a loan. I speak from experience that sticking things out until the bitter end isnt always best.

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