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Changing or Leaving your Course

It’s not uncommon to have doubts about coming to university or your choice of course. If you find yourself in this situation, the Careers Service can help support you to make a decision.

Whatever the reason for your concern try not to panic but do face up to the issue as it's unlikely to resolve itself. Take a step back and consider what is really making you think about changing or leaving your course.

Some common reasons include:

  • feeling unhappy with your choice of course, eg it's too easy/difficult or disliking the subject
  • feeling unhappy with your choice of university, eg it's not what you expected, it's too large/small
  • finance, eg struggling with fees, course materials or living costs
  • personal, eg feeling homesick, struggling to balance other priorities and commitments
  • changing your future career plans, is your subject/course still relevant?
  • health reasons, is illness or a disability making it difficult to cope?

Ask yourself:

  • What were my expectations of coming to university?
  • Why and how haven’t my expectations been met?
  • What would I like to be different about my current situation?
  • What are my options?

You could book an appointment to speak to a Careers Consultant and get advice on your options

We have compiled some information below which may answer some of the questions you have.

Important considerations

Changing your course

Leaving or suspending your course

Taking Time Out

Taking time out, or a gap year, is a great way to gain experience before entering employment or further study. However there are many factors you'll need to consider. We've provided some of the pros and cons of taking time out and listed some resources to help you plan.

Deciding if taking time out is right for you

There are a number of options available for taking time out, including:

  • voluntary work in the UK or overseas
  • travel and/or work overseas
  • learning a language abroad
  • paid work in non-graduate level jobs in the UK, including temping
  • working in development and education

Before deciding whether to take time out, you should consider the pros and cons.


There are many advantages to taking time out. You could gain:

  • valuable experience – employment, skills, knowledge
  • skills such as problem-solving, resilience, initiative, determination, communication
  • time and/or experiences to help clarify career choices and preferences
  • cultural awareness with international travel
  • foreign language skills
  • developed self awareness and greater maturity


There are also several drawbacks, such as:

  • additional debts – it can be expensive
  • missing out on annual graduate recruitment schemes
  • not making the most of your experience or potential
  • frustration – finding work overseas can be difficult
  • working on minimum wage or in an undemanding or boring role

Further help

Use the Prospects website to think about whether a gap year is right for you

Planning your time out

If you decide taking time out is right for you, it's crucial to plan your time effectively.

If you have any questions about taking time out or need help to find opportunities, book an online appointment or contact us via MyCareer

You may also be interested in VolunteeringTeaching English as a Foreign Language or not-for-profit careers including, charitiesdevelopment and community work.

UCAS applications

Finance, fees and funding



Sources of support

You may find talking to a careers consultant a useful and impartial next step. It could help you to understand your options and decide the best way forward. We can highlight resources to help you, including course directories and employment opportunities.

It may also be helpful to speak to some of the following people to inform your decision:

  • your personal tutor
  • admissions staff for alternative courses you might be considering
  • a Student Wellbeing or Student Advice Centre adviser
  • friends, family or other close contacts
  • students on alternative courses you might be considering

As well as the Careers Service, there are other services across the University who can support you in a variety of ways.

Further information

You could gain a level 6 or 7 qualification while in paid employment through a Degree Apprenticeship.

The following external websites provide further information about changing or leaving your course: