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Want to drop out of university? Here are your options.

Dropping out of university is something that happens very rarely. It is generally presumed that in order to have a successful career and good quality of life one needs a university degree, so dropping out of university is unthinkable for the vast majority of students.

However, some students are faced with a situation in which they feel like they have no other choice.

So the questions are, what are the reasons some students drop out of university, and what are their options after they do so?


The Reasons For Dropping Out

Before you actually take that life-changing step it is important for you to know the exact reason why you are planning to do so. It is important to have clarity and to know exactly why you’re doing what you are doing, otherwise, you may feel regretful in the future.

In general, we can identify 4 main reasons that cause students to drop out of university.

Firstly, they feel that they need to drop out because they are unable to keep up with the curriculum and deal with the stress level they encountered. If students start flunking their exams they start feeling defeated.

The disappointment followed up by more disappointment is just too much to take for some students so they choose to abandon their studies altogether. If you have slipped several times, your GPA might start looking dire, which is yet another factor that contributes to their desire to leave.

Another category of students discovers their true calling after they have already applied to university. In other words, they realize that the university course they have chosen might not be something they are truly interested in so they decide to pursue their passion instead of sticking with the course that doesn’t spark their interest.

Some students choose to drop out of universities to become entrepreneurs and start their own companies. They may stumble upon a good business idea while they are sitting in the lecture hall and they feel like they have to strike while the iron is hot.

Thirdly, there are some students who drop out because they cannot afford the university fees. Perhaps they didn’t consider all of their university financial aid options before commencing their studies, or perhaps these students were planning to work part-time while studying, however, in the end, they couldn’t maintain the work-study balance. There are options like asking their parents to use their CPF to pay for the University fees which they probably didn't consider.

Read also: How much is a university education in Singapore?

This can be prevented by carefully weighing your financial options in advance. One might even put off their university studies for several years until they have enough money saved up to see them through the years of studying.

And last but not least, the students drop out of university because they have various health issues they need to take care of. Minor health problems can be overcome without interfering with your studies, however, a serious health issue may cause students to abandon their university courses.

If you are dealing with such an issue you might want to consider taking a university leave of absence rather than dropping out. The vast majority of universities provide this option to their students, so as long as your leave of absence request is supported by a medical practitioner you shouldn’t have any problem doing that.

In some cases, the students who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression may also be eligible for a leave of absence to see a psychologist.


What happens after you drop out of university?

So, you have already taken that step and dropped out of university, now what?

Well, the obvious thing to do is to join the workforce. You are an adult now and you are perfectly capable of earning your own livelihood. However, the downside is that since you only have A-level qualifications the number of jobs you can apply for is rather limited. However, this is not the end of the world.

It might be a good idea to start with an internship and to work your way up in a company. With enough enthusiasm and a sense of professionalism, anything may be possible. The toughest part will be getting your first job since the majority of the employers look at academic records if you don’t have any experience. Visit our article 'Finding Intership Jobs in Singapore?' to understand a bit more.

However, once you manage to get your first job and gain that valuable experience more doors will open for you. By joining the workforce you will gain valuable practical knowledge and, who knows, you might even discover that you have the entrepreneurial talent and start your own company.

If you feel that you are not yet ready to enter the workforce then switching to a polytechnic is a good option for you. This will give you the opportunity to master a specific skill that will lead to an appropriate job.

If you dropped out of university because pressure there was just too much to bear, but you would still like to have a high-level qualification under your belt, consider switching to a less demanding university.

There are a number of private universities in Singapore, one of them is bound to be offering a program that is suitable for you. And don’t forget about all the foreign universities you could potentially apply to. Perhaps you will do better in a foreign educational institution that has a more relaxed atmosphere than NUS or NTU.

See our comparison on local vs private universities and things to look out for.


Can you go back to university after dropping out?

Well, I don’t see a reason why you can’t. Not everyone is confident in their decisions straight after leaving the JC. Some people need a bit of time to realize what they are passionate about and what course they would like to pursue.

To conclude, whatever you decide to do, remember that dropping out of university does not mean that your life is over. You have many options to lead a happy and successful life afterward and if you choose to have a go at it again after a few years you can do that too.

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.