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Thinking about your options

Thinking about your options

Many students have doubts about whether they can continue with their studies. You might feel that you have rushed your decision about coming to university, or feel that you would be more suited to a different course. University life and studying at degree level can be very different to your expectations. Sometimes personal or financial circumstances mean that you cannot give your studies the attention that you would like to. 

Whatever your reason for considering leaving, or taking some time out, staff at Queen Mary can support and advise you. It is important not to rush into a decision until you have really thought about it. Talking to someone who is used to advising students about these matters might help you to consider options you did not know about. There may also be financial implications you might need to consider before you decide on the best option for you. See the later sections of this advice guide for important advice to help you make your decision. 

Think about your decision


    • Are you really struggling with the course, or are you just lacking confidence about your ability?


    • Is your course really the problem? Maybe other problems are getting in the way?


    • Do you feel pressured to study a subject that you don’t really enjoy?


    • Do you need to know more about other courses or career options before you can make an informed decision?


    • Is this the right time for you to be at university at all?


    • Are you finding it difficult to manage your academic work, writing essays or preparing for exams


If these questions sound familiar, it can be useful to get help and support before you make your decision:


    • A Welfare Adviser or Counsellor in the Advice and Counselling Service can help you to think through your options and offer you support with practical, financial or personal issues


    • Your personal adviser or tutor in your academic school can advise you what academic options are available to you. There is a Student Support Officer in most academic schools who is usually your first point of contact for this type of issue. 


    • The Disability and Dyslexia Service can offer you advice on the support available to you if you have long term ill health, a disability, a mental health condition, or a specific learning disability.


    • Contact the Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre to find out about other courses or options.



Think about the practical implications of your decision:


    • How easy will it be to find work if you leave?


    • What will happen to your Student Finance?


    • How will you support yourself financially?


    • What Student Finance will you be eligible for on a new course?


    • How do you complete Queen Mary’s administrative formalities if you leave your course?


Before you make a decision, it is vital that you get accurate information about these practical matters. This is especially important if you are receiving government funds towards the cost of your education: you need to try and protect your entitlement to Student Finance for any future undergraduate course if you can. A Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service can advise you about these practical matters. 

EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national you should read our EU/EEA guidance about how to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020 as its important to be aware of your options.  If you  are eligible for Settled or Pre-Setteld status and you intend to spend time out of the UK during your period of interruption or once you withdraw from your course, the guidance also contains information about what happens if you spend time out of the UK. 

We are waiting for the UK Government to announce the rules and provide guidance on fees and funding for the 2021/22 academic year following the end of the Brexit transition period. We will update our EU/EEA information as soon as further information becomes available. 

What are government funds? 

Taking extra time to complete your course or moving to a different course can affect your entitlement to government funds, such as Student Finance. This advice guide helps you to understand the funding implications of making changes to your course or to the time that you take to complete it. 

In this advice guide we use the term government funds’ to mean: 

A Tuition Fee Loan, Maintenance Loan, Maintenance Grant (pre-2016 starters only) and any other grants that you get through Student Finance England (SFE). If you are funded by the NHS, there are separate rules: please read our advice guide Funding for Medical and Dental students and then contact the Advice and Counselling Service if you need further advice.  

If you receive Student Finance from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, contact the Advice and Counselling Service for advice from a Welfare Adviser about how your future funding might be affected. 

What if I don’t receive any government funds? 

Even if you have decided not to use any government funds like Student Finance for your current course, nearly all universities receive funds from the government, so you are still benefiting from government funding. This means that your funding for undergraduate study in the future may still be affected if you leave your current course part way through.

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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