Sometimes, your course is not what you expected or situations arise that require you to re-assess your workload. You may want to consider transferring to another course and obtaining credits from work already completed. Talk things through with your course co-ordinator.

Are you thinking of dropping out?

There are many reasons why you may decide to withdraw from one or more subjects, or your entire course. These reasons can include personal, medical, financial, work or family commitments. You may not enjoy the course, you may feel homesick, or decide that the course is not what you actually want to do. However, withdrawing can have implications for your finances, academic record, future study options, and career choices.

We have outlined below the different options and assistance and have added links to the many support services on campus that can provide you with support. Whatever you decide to do, the best thing is to talk things over with someone (such as someone from the University, or a friend or family member). Often others can help clarify the situation and offer support.

Options for ‘hanging in there’

Prior to withdrawing, it can be good to take a bit of time to look at all the options available, the implications of withdrawing and the best people to discuss your situation with. There may be possibilities that you hadn't thought about. Talking with your course coordinator, Faculty Office or a counsellor may be a good place to start.

Apply for an extension

If you feel that you won't be able to complete an assignment due to medical or compassionate reasons, you can apply for an extension. Compassionate grounds can include any serious personal problems that affect your ability to study.

Sometimes, having extra time can help keep your studies on track. If you think you need an extension, you should contact your lecturer before the deadline, not after, wherever possible. They may request that you provide them with a note from a doctor or counsellor.

Apply for supplementary assessment

If the problems occur towards the end of semester and you are worried that you either won't be able to sit your exam or that your grade will be significantly affected, you can apply for a supplementary exam on medical or compassionate grounds. These are either held in the mid-semester break or (more commonly) in February, prior to the beginning of the next academic year.

You will need supporting documentation from a professional such as a doctor or counsellor to apply for these. The application must be submitted within three working days of the date of the exam. Forms can be obtained through your Faculty Office or at the Health and Counselling Service.

Take a short break

Taking a break can help renew your energy levels and motivate you to keep on going. This may involve catching up with friends, going away for a weekend, taking a walk along the beach, –reading that long-neglected book. Taking a break is essential to help you see things in a clearer light.

Keep a balance: manage your stress

You may often feel stressed and under pressure with commitments other than your studies. Relaxation and stress management techniques can help you with this. It is important to have a balance between work/study/family/personal time.

Some events in our lives can also upset our routines and balance. For example, getting sick, having a relationship breakup or experiencing other traumatic incidents can leave you feeling as though you can't manage.

The counsellors can assist with support, strategies, information and referrals to on and off campus services to help you get through these tough times.

Improve your study skills

Many students report that university is very different from the study they have done before at high school or in a different country. Difficulties with writing essays, taking lecture notes, managing time or procrastinating are common problems. The Student Learning Centre helps you to adjust to the academic demands of university life and develop techniques for more effective study.

Disability advisors

At Flinders University, the term ‘disability’ covers a wide range of issues, from physical concerns such as a bad back or a hearing impairment, to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. If you have ongoing difficulties or conditions that may have an impact on your ability to study, you should contact the Disability Advisors. You may need to supply documentation from a professional to support the assistance you may need. Assistance such as equipment, support services and reasonable adjustments to assessment and teaching methods can be arranged.

Financial issues

Financial problems can place you under increased pressure. Paying bills, purchasing text books and eating on a budget can be very difficult. For further information about Centrelink payments, grants, loans and budgeting advice, contact the Flinders University Student Association.

Reduce your workload

Dropping one or two topics can mean that you can focus more easily on your other subjects and be able to continue with your course. However, keep the following in mind:

  • If you are receiving a Centrelink payment, decreasing your enrolment may affect your Centrelink benefits. You must be enrolled in at least 13.5 units per semester to be eligible for Austudy, Abstudy, Youth Allowance etc. If your studies fall below 13.5 units per semester, you MUST advise Centrelink. If you are overpaid, you will be asked to repay the benefits. For further information, contact Centrelink or the Flinders University Student Association (FUSA).
  • Your enrolment for next semester may be affected if you withdraw from a core or prerequisite topic. Get course advice. Check at the Faculty Office. 
  • Fees may apply. There are critical enrolment dates that can affect your eligibility for refund of fees, as can whether your withdrawal is with or without fail. Visit the Flinders fees information web pages for more information.

If you have been sick or had serious personal problems that have had an impact on your studies, you may have a fail or WF on your record. It is worthwhile talking this through with someone in the Counselling Service who can explain the University's policies which may assist you or support your application for fees remission.

Staff can explain what documentation is required and help you explore options. For more details look at the information on the Health and Counselling website regarding what to do when you are sick/impaired during your university studies.

Change your topic or course

If you are not enjoying a particular topic, you may be able to change your enrolment (but note that some topics are compulsory). So that your studies aren't affected, changing your enrolment should be done by the last day to add topics. You should talk to your course co-ordinator about the options available. See Enrolment Services to find out further information or to submit a request/question.

You may want to examine the possibility of transferring to another course and obtaining credits from work already completed. For more information contact Ask Flinders.

The Careers and Employability Service can also provide career counselling to assist you with your career pathway.

Withdrawal and dropping out

If you have considered all available options, you may decide the best course of action is to withdraw from one or more topics, or the entire course. Please refer to the page on withdrawal implications for further information.