There are a multitude of valid reasons why students drop out from university. From the course not being what they expected, lack of enjoyment, homesickness or ill health.
The UK has 154 recogized higher education learning institutions that can award official degrees. Yet with the wide variety of possible location or chosen subject still many students find themselves on a course, or in a location they very much dislike. This poses the question of whether or not there are enough opportunities to gain accurate information or experience of what university life will be like.
Another factor contributing to students leaving university before the completion of their course is the pressure put on students to achieve high standards.Its often the case that many universities push their students to achieve the highest standard degree possible: a first class. Of course, it's important that students are encouraged, but is this pressure causing unnecessary stress to our students?
Within our schools at a young age, it is good practice to encourage and support our pupils to achieve the best possible outcome for them without any pressure. When does this change? When does the focus of praise and encouragement begin to solely aim at the educational outcomes rather than the process of learning, aiding the student in bettering themselves as people and learners, and facilitating the further development of their education?
We start out students off in their early life encouraging them to chase their dreams, raise their aspirations and make their life into something they're happy with, regardless of grades or educational achievement. Yet, are UK students are pushed into making choices regarding their study that could being to define their life at the age of 13/14 when they choose their GCSE options.
Students begin to make choices about their future at such an early age, when whilst growing up they were always told that no one knows what the future holds or who they'll be in a years time, never mind 10. In a world where change is so rapid, why is there such a pressure for young people to follow the pattern of GCSEs to A Levels, to university, when so often those who achieve the most and are happiest with their life do not follow that pattern at all.
We're told so often as children to try new things, experience as much as we can in the world, and the take every opportunity available to us. Yet, the same voice casts judgement on those who switch the goals of their life, who change career so many times because they don't want to settle for one thing forever.
It's never too late to start living the life you want to live. Therefore, rather than being downbeat on our university dropouts, many of those should be respected for choosing to begin to put themselves first.. to make a life for themselves that they will be happy with.
There are always options. Take time out to work out what you need and want from life. Research whilst you have ample time, take a break, find what you love, then look into your options to pursue that path. Nothing is worse sacrificing your well-being for.
Your path may lead you back into education further on in your life. For many this is the case, and that is something to be respected when re-entering an environment where the vast majority of students are not "mature students". Why does that label even exist? Surely you're simply a student no matter what your age.
No further education course is worth completing if you know full well you cannot handle the pressure, it's not what you want, and it won't be part of the plan in creating the life you want to make for yourself. It's vital you always put your well-being before everything, for without that, nothing is possible.
One last cliched thought to take with you:
You have one life in which to do everything you'll ever do. Act accordingly
- Colin Wright