It is quite common for students to feel uncertain about being at university at some stage during their studies, for instance when experiencing change which is often stressful. Most students who doubt are in the first year of their course, and the majority of them decide to continue to successfully complete their course.
Students who are thinking of leaving need timely and accurate advice and guidance so that they can make an informed decision. Therefore, it is important to get them to appropriate support and information.
Reassure the student that they have options; such as intermitting, transferring to another university, and changing modules/course where possible.
Try to identify what it is that the student is not enjoying about the course or University. Areas of concern may include:
- academic issues
- accommodation/living arrangements
- caring responsibilities
- employment opportunities (now and the future)
- feeling homesick or isolated
- Feeling stressed
- financial matters
- health difficulties
- personal difficulty
- too many free hours in the week
- visa matters
Support for students
If the student is happy to discuss their concerns with you use the available student advice to guide the discussion. If the student does not want to discuss the situation with you, suggest they contact the relevant adviser to see how their concerns can be addressed.
Departments may refer students to the Student Services Hub for specialist advice. The Student Information Team in the Student Services Hub may refer students to their department or the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service.
Make sure you identify the relevant specialist for students to contact, providing contact details where possible. It may be useful to offer to help the student prepare questions to ask the specialist in question.
Read the student guidance carefully with the student. This includes advice relating to matters such as accommodation, financial implications, visa and academic matters. Encourage the student to contact the relevant specialist team if they have any questions.
If students are considering changing course or module, discuss the course and subject choice, and the academic support available to them. Refer them to their department/school office for information about the administrative process and how to change onto course/module.
If they are not sure about what decision they will take, or if they decide to continue with their studies, offer to arrange another time to discuss how they are progressing.
If they have decided to leave, email them a link to their personalised electronic withdrawal form, which your student needs to complete to commence the formal withdrawal process.
This electronic withdrawal form is not publically available on purpose. This means that if a student decides to leave, they will only be able to access this form by asking for it from their department/school or Student Services Hub. This is so students are encouraged to have a conversation (email/telephone/in person) with someone in their department/school, or the Student Services Hub, so they make an informed decision before they decide to withdraw formally.