Dropped out of university: Now what?

Deciding to quit your current course is hardly an easy decision. But every cloud does have a silver lining, you just need to be aware of your alternatives.

Choosing to drop out if university is never an easy decision to make. You’re probably imagining that your life is over and you’re the world’s biggest disappointment. However, you are definitely not the first student that’s abandoned studies. Your reasons and motivations may be different from your peers’ but they are by no means invalid.

According to Dr Andre van Zyl, director of the University of Johannesburg’s Academic Development Centre, only 18% of South Africa’s matriculants register at a university. More than half of these already drop out in their first year.

Read: Failed matric? Now what?

Van Zyl says that the most common reasons why students end their university courses in South Africa are because:

• they don’t fit into the higher learning environment,

• there are transport and accommodation issues,

• they lack sufficient financing opportunities,

• they are faced with poverty and inadequate food resources.

Perhaps you aren’t particularly happy with your current course: 

• whether it’s because it’s only your second option,

• or the course content isn’t what you imagined it to be,

• or you realise you’re better suited for something else,

• or no matter how hard you’ve worked, your marks are just not up to scratch.

So is it the end of the road for all South Africa’s uni drop-outs? Not at all. In fact, you have several options:

1. You can change courses…

…and do something better suited for your personality. If you don’t know what to study, read this.

2. You can register at a different university…

…perhaps choose one that’s closer to home, or one that’ll enable you to reside with a family member.  Did you know that you can ask for your credits to be transferred between institutions?

Another option is to do an internet course, since online education is becoming more popular and accessible. You can even do short courses part time if you want to gain new skills.

3. You can register at a FET college…

…if you’re interested in more technical and practical courses. Further Education and Training colleges have campuses all over South Africa.

Read: How do I know which university is right for me?

4. You can find opportunities at state-owned companies…

…like Transnet and Eskom. These companies have several apprenticeships, learnerships and training programmes available each year. They even have their own in-house academies and colleges.

Other government agencies like the police and defence force also offer excellent training opportunities.

5. You can always pursue practical experience…

…especially if you’re wondering whether getting a degree is  worth it. You can land an engineering and construction job without a degree or find a job you love. Any one of these 8 jobs are options for matriculants without a degree.

Whatever path you do choose will mean you need to work hard. If you’re dedicated and have the determination to overcome life’s obstacles, you’ll no doubt succeed.