Let's be honest, college isn't for everyone. If you are caring for a parent who is ill, cannot afford college, or have other plans in mind, there are some details that you should consider before you suspend your education. You need to take the proper steps to complete your registration, have a realistic Plan B, and most importantly, be sure that you will do what is best for you. With a little preparation, you will be able to end your studies properly and improve your chances of success in the future.
Part 1 of 3: Manage Administrative Details
Step 1. Tell your teachers about your decision
A teacher or counselor you trust can help you clear up your reasons for wanting to drop out of college and give you some great advice on what to do next. Even if you don't want to hear the advice of your teachers, it's courteous to let them know that you will no longer be attending their classes.
- Meet with them in person to explain your situation to them rather than just emailing them or letting them worry about you.
- Feeling like your classes are too difficult isn't a strong enough reason to justify dropping out: Realize that you don't need to have a formal education to do what you are passionate about.
Step 2. Discuss the possible consequences with a counselor
Try meeting with a school counselor to get an idea of what will happen to you if you interrupt your studies. Keep in mind that when you drop out of college, you may be forced to forgo any scholarships, grants, or other benefits that you may have received. Your choice to end your college education could also affect your relationship with your parents if they don't approve of your decision.
- Some university schools do not allow re-enrollment for students who have dropped out, and this could limit your options if you decide to re-enroll afterwards.
- Paying off student loans after leaving college will force you to face the financial burden and not enjoy any benefits.
Step 3. End the semester
If the semester is already underway and you missed the deadline for dropping out of classes, a good idea would be to just finish it. This will prevent you from ruining your overall average. As the next semester approaches, you can sort out a few administrative details and take a clean break.
- By completing a semester, you will get a final grade that will be well documented and not an ambiguous grade.
- The more courses you take, the more experience you'll have to show employers.
Step 4. Submit a withdrawal request
Before you can permanently suspend your schooling, you must complete certain forms and justify your abandonment. You may also be asked to meet with a counselor for valuable advice, which often involves reviewing important school policies and discussing your options. Once the process is complete, your registration will officially end.
Learn about deferred payment methods and other options that might help you meet expenses as you think about the next step
Step 5. Take advantage of your university's refund policy
Depending on the period of your withdrawal, you may be entitled to a full or partial refund of your tuition. Most often, students who do not attend classes or who suspend their studies before the first day of the semester can receive a 100% refund. Still, you will have to pay off student loans and other education costs, but getting your tuition back can significantly ease the financial burden.
- The amount that is normally refunded will decrease later in the waiting semester.
- Check with your university's tuition to find out if you need to make an official reimbursement request.
Part 2 of 3: Planning the next step
Step 1. Prepare to repay your student loans
The repayment of your loan will take effect after a grace period of 6 months, after the date of your dropping out of school. To make sure you can cover your expenses, you should look for a job with a stable salary or have other financial guarantees, such as a savings account. At this point, your main goal should be to do everything in your power to avoid the dreaded debt trap.
- Make a financial plan to see how much you can set aside so you can make your monthly payments.
- Failure to repay your loans can seriously damage your credit, as can your chances of being accepted into another academic institution.
Step 2. Find accommodation
Since you will no longer be able to live in dorms after dropping out of college, you will need to start considering other accommodation options. Find a small house or apartment near campus. Once you've settled in, you can look for a job and prepare for a new phase in your life.
- If you don't have a lot of money, consider moving back to your parents' place until you earn enough money to get back on your feet.
- Moving in with a roommate can ease the financial burden of renting a home.
Step 3. Analyze your prospects
Review the options available to you now that you have ended your studies for the time being. You may be curious about pursuing a military career or you are already doing an internship that could lead to a full-time position. Whatever your interests, having a goal to achieve will give you a specific goal to pursue and help you use your time and energy effectively.
- Determine if it would be possible to land your dream job without having a degree by researching the prerequisites on a site dedicated to job postings and career counseling.
- Be realistic about your other possibilities. Even if you find a way to work things out without having a concrete plan, you may find yourself in a much more complex situation.
Part 3 of 3: Consider Other Alternatives
Step 1. Consider taking a break
Instead of dropping out of school for good, you can just take a long break. Tell your counselor and teachers that you plan to take a break from your studies. They will explain all the steps to follow to re-register in the future as well as the consequences that this choice will have on your school marks and on your student loans.
- If you drop out of college with good grades, you will be able to re-enroll later with your results intact.
- If you view dropping out of school as a temporary measure, it can make it much less frightening.
Step 2. Find a job
If you weren't working to finance your education, you should definitely find a job to get by once you're on your own. Even if you find a part-time job, it will help you meet some expenses and raise funds while being prepared for any eventuality. You just need to be prepared to start at the bottom of the ladder and apply yourself, because you will have at least a few credentials.
- Sales, retail management, consumer services, office administration, and waiter jobs can be lucrative jobs for people without a graduate degree.
- For some, dropping out of school can be an advantage because it allows them to devote their time and effort to a job they are passionate about.
Step 3. Apply for an internship
An internship can help you gain practical and rewarding work experience and associate your name with a reputable company, which will make you much more interesting in the eyes of employers. More often than not, companies are not necessarily looking for interns with a university degree, which means that you have no less chances than other applicants. Hoping that all goes well, you might even take a permanent position after your internship.
- Look for internships that are closely related to your field of study or skill. For example, if you are interested in the nonprofit sector, you can try volunteering with an organization that supports homeless people by providing them with access to essential social resources.
- Don't rule out unpaid internships. They have the potential to lead you to a stable and well-paying job.
- Don't forget to mention your time spent at university when filling out your academic record.
Step 4. Take training
Try to find someone who practices your passion and ask them to take you under their wing. Many vocational and business schools offer internships in several trades such as carpentry, auto mechanics and plumbing. Learning the tricks of the trade from a reputable craftsman is a great way to gain hands-on knowledge that will allow you to break into another industry.
- Apprenticeship programs are generally shorter, less expensive and more specialized than university training programs.
- Search online for companies and organizations offering apprenticeship programs in your area.
- If you are not satisfied, it may be because you are overwhelmed or because it is time for you to embrace another field of study.
- Instead of dropping out of school, consider switching universities or taking your degree online at your own pace.
- Try to decide if you should end your university studies as soon as possible so that you have more time to plan for the future and avoid accumulating more debt.
- Sit down with your parents or partner and let them know how you feel before taking drastic action. This is particularly important if they are the ones paying for your studies.
- Make a plan that spans two and a half or ten years. At the end of this period, reassess whether a college education is essential for success in your chosen field.
- If you decide to continue your studies after a break, redouble your efforts and come back stronger.