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Get help and support

Thinking of leaving the University

You may experience doubts at some point during your studies. If you're thinking about leaving Essex, we're here to support you and give you the advice you need to help you make an informed choice.

Think about what's making you feel like you want to leave. There may be one or several reasons, but it's often possible to get help and make changes that enable you to continue.

Academic worries

If you're worried about your academic studies in general, contact your department in the first instance.

  • Your module / course isn’t what you expected

    Some modules have to cover a range of topics to provide a basis for all the new students on the course. Talk to your module lecturer, supervisor or Personal Tutor to clarify what topics will be covered for the rest of the module and why it's been included in the course. For instance, a module might be a pre-requisite that allows you to pursue the subjects that you're interested in in future.

  • Your course seems too difficult or easy

    Speak with your supervisor, lecturer or Personal Tutor.

    • If you're finding it difficult, tell them what you're finding difficult and ask what support is available.
    • If you're finding it easy, ask them about how the degree of difficulty will change over time.

  • Problems with coursework

    It's common to worry about coursework. For instance, you might not understand the feedback you've received. Don’t be embarrassed about asking for help.

    Contacting your lecturer

    You can email the lecturer who set the coursework question to arrange an appointment with them. (This is likely to be during their office hours, so check the day and time of your lecturer’s office hours before emailing them.)

    Before you meet with them, write down specific questions so that you can use your meeting constructively. This will help you to know exactly what you need to do next. Take any assignment feedback that they have given you in the past so that you can receive concrete guidance about how to move forward. When you meet with them, write down their answers to your questions so you know that you’ve understood them before you leave the meeting.

    Visiting the Talent Development Centre

    You can also visit the Talent Development Centre for a one-to-one session. Before the meeting, write down specific questions and take any assignment feedback that you have been given in the past so that you can receive specific guidance about how to progress. Remember to write down the next steps during the meeting so that you don’t forget them.

  • Studying at university isn't what you expected

    Studying at university can be quite different from school or college. You have several people who can help you:

    • the tutors who run one-to-one sessions at the Talent Development Centre
    • your lecturers, class tutors or supervisor
    • the Departmental Year Coordinator / Tutor
    • your Personal Tutor

    If you're an undergraduate student, you can email your Peer Mentor to ask them about how they have learnt to study at university.

  • Help with your maths or statistics skills

    The Talent Development Centre runs a Helpdesk which can work with you to identify areas to develop and how you can go about improving them.

  • You're worried about your exams

    It's common to worry about taking exams.

    • For helpful tips and advice on how to manage exam anxiety contact the Wellbeing team.
    • If you're still concerned, come and speak in confidence to an adviser in your Student Services Hub. Book a welfare appointment by telephone, email or in person by visiting your Student Services Hub.
    • For skills development (eg how to prepare for exams), you can visit the Talent Development Centre.
    • If you're an undergraduate student, you can email your Peer Mentor to ask them for tips about studying for exams.

  • You think you may have a specific learning difficulty (eg dyslexia)



  • Time management

    You may feel that there is too much free time in your week and that it feels like a waste of time. Alternatively you might feel that you are always running out of time and missing deadlines.

    • Think about your time management strategies and how you approach self-directed study.
    • You can talk to advisers in the Talent Development Centre about effective techniques to use.
    • If you're a first year undergraduate student contact your Peer Mentor for advice on how they approach their studies. Your Peer Mentor’s contact details are on the poster in your Department. If you can’t recall who they are, ask your Peer Mentor Coordinator.
    • Speak with your department about what else you can do to make your time worthwhile.
    • There are many opportunities to get involved during your time at University so that you can develop skills and knowledge both in and out of the classroom. This will help with your CV and also personal satisfaction:

  • Course relevance to your career aspirations

    Sometimes your first-year modules don’t seem as relevant to the career you want to pursue. Speak with your Employability Director (academic member of staff within your Department) about how your course relates to future job opportunities. If you're not sure who to speak with in your Department, ask your Personal Tutor, Departmental Student Administrator or a lecturer.

    You can also speak with staff in the Employability and Careers Centre.

Accommodation

  • Settling into University accommodation

    1. Speak with your Residents’ Assistant (RA) in Residence Life. You can find out who your Residents’ Assistant is on the noticeboard in your kitchen. If the poster isn’t there, please email reslife@essex.ac.uk.
    2. If things aren't resolved with your RA, contact your Residence Life senior staff team. Their contact details are also on your kitchen noticeboard.
    3. If necessary, you can also come and speak in confidence to an adviser in your Student Services Hub. Book a welfare appointment by telephone, email or in person by visiting your Student Services Hub.
  • Living arrangements after your first year

    SU Lets can help you find accommodation off campus or you can apply to live on campus after your first year.

Finance

You might be worried that you're running out of money, you're unsure how to budget or your funding / support hasn’t arrived. The following advice and support is available for you:

Health and wellbeing

  • Feeling homesick or isolated

    It's common to feel homesick at some point during your studies. However, there are many ways to meet other people. Joining a club or society can be a good first step.



  • Feeling stressed

    If you're feeling stressed you might find it helpful to discuss it with someone else (eg Personal Tutor, Student Services staff member or by attending a Mindfulness workshop at our Colchester Campus).

    You can also speak confidentially with an adviser in your Student Services Hub. Book a welfare appointment by telephone, email or in person by visiting the Support Desk.

  • Health difficulties or other personal difficulties

    You can speak confidentially with an adviser. Book a welfare appointment by telephone, email or in person by visiting the Support Desk in your Student Services Hub. There's also guidance available from the Wellbeing or Disability Teams.

  • Caring responsibilities

    You may have a family or be a student carer. If you or your family are struggling to cope with you being a student, you can speak with an adviser in your Student Services Hub.

    If you're an undergraduate student and at least 21 years old or if you're a postgraduate student and at least 25 years old, you might want to connect with other mature students. You can contact the Mature Students' Network within the Students' Union.

  • Commuting

    You may be finding it difficult coping with being a student who commutes to university but you're not alone. We've got lots of advice about being a commuter available for you.

Visas

Changing your course status will have visa implications that you'll need to think about. If you'd like further advice, complete the online enquiry form.

There are some practical things you need to consider, if you're thinking of leaving:

  • Academic

    Although you have not completed your current course, you may have accumulated some academic qualification credits, which might help you when applying for future courses. You can speak to your Department or an adviser in your Student Services Hub.

    If in the future you decide to reapply to study at the University, you should contact the Admissions Office for guidance on making your application. There will be deadlines for submitting an application, for example the middle of July if you would like to start at the beginning of a new academic year, or the end of October for courses starting in January.

  • Accommodation

    If you currently live in University-provided accommodation, you'll have to vacate your room from the date when you withdraw from your course. You'll receive an email once your withdrawal has been confirmed. Any accommodation charges that you have paid in advance will be refunded to you from the date on which you return your key.

    Please be aware that if you're in privately rented accommodation, you may not be able to break your contract if you want to move.

    After reading this, you might have decided that it's going to be difficult to break your contract and that you'll need to stay. However, if you're having accommodation-related problems, you can speak to Residence Life, the Accommodation Office, SU Advice or an adviser in your Student Services Hub. You can book a welfare appointment by telephone, email or in person by visiting the Support Desk in your Student Services Hub.

  • Financial matters

    You need to be aware of the financial implications of leaving the University. For instance, if you're in receipt of the Essex Bursary or NHS Bursary, or receive any other financial support, changing your course status will have an impact on your financial situation. You also need to consider your fee liability, any loan/grant overpayments, Council Tax and unemployment benefits eg being voluntarily without an occupation.

    Discussing financial matters

    If you're thinking of leaving and in receipt of any financial support, please ask for financial advice before doing anything. There are specialist advisers in your Student Services Hub - contact one by completing the online enquiry form. You can also visit SU Advice.

    If you're a postgraduate research student please contact your graduate administrator in the first instance.

    Owing fees to the university

    If you withdraw from your course you will still have to pay some or all of the fees. You should check our tuition fee policy (.pdf) to find out which fees will apply to you. If you have any questions, contact your Student Services Hub by email askthehub@essex.ac.uk.

    Student Finance

    If you're a Home or EU student in receipt of tuition fee loans to pay your tuition fees, the University will notify Student Finance England when it has processed your withdrawal request should you decide to leave Essex. You should also contact them to inform them of your withdrawal.

    If you're withdrawing from our University to transfer to another institution, your new institution is responsible for giving Student Finance confirmation that your transfer has been approved on academic grounds. We will inform Student Finance that you have transferred to another institution if you provide us with the following information when you withdraw:

    • name of your new institution
    • title of your new course and its JACS code
    • the anticipated end date of your new course, and
    • the tuition fee (if it's available)

    If we don't have this information we can't tell Student Finance about the transfer and will have to simply inform them that you have withdrawn from your studies at Essex. You need to be aware that this may affect the assessment of your tuition fee rate for your new course.

    Student loans

    You're required to begin repaying your student loan the April after you finish your course if you're earning over £15,000 per annum, or £21,000 if you started your course in October 2012.

  • Visas

    If you have a student/Tier 4 visa, your withdrawal will be reported to the Home Office in line with our duties as your Tier 4 sponsor. The Home Office will take action to curtail (cut short) your visa and you must leave the UK by the date your visa is curtailed to. Please ensure you know the impact of making changes to your studies.

    If you have any queries about immigration complete our enquiry form.

    If you have withdrawn from our University but would like to remain in the UK to study elsewhere, you should read the Tier 4 Policy Guidance for details on what you must do. If you want to take the same or a different course of study in the UK with a new Tier 4 sponsor you should seek immigration advice from the institution at which you wish to study.

  • Careers advice

    If you decide to leave, before you do, you can make use of the services offered by the Employability and Careers Centre. Please note that if you withdraw, you won't be able to access University services, including those provided by the Employability and Careers Centre.

University life doesn’t only include academic matters, money and living arrangements. There are other things that could put you in this position.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your course and are an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, please contact your department’s administration office or personal tutor in the first instance. If you would like to discuss any non-course related issues then please contact your Student Services Hub. If you're a postgraduate research student, please email us pgresearch@essex.ac.uk.

No matter what the issue, please discuss it with someone in your department or the Student Services Hub. We want to make sure you're aware of all the options available to you to help you make an informed decision.

  • Continuing on your course

    Make use of the support available to you and always ask if you feel you need further support. Find out how to get involved and make the most of your time at Essex.

  • Changing modules

    You might find that you can change modules within the Department to do another subject that suits you better. Speak with your Departmental Student Administrator who looks after your year/course to find out whether you meet the criteria to make any changes. Then make the formal application to change course. If you wish to remove a Study Abroad option, then it would be considered a 'change of course'.

    Please note: academic, financial (including bursaries), visa or other issues might be affected by your decision. Make sure that you read this guidance carefully and discuss it and any concerns with a staff member in your Department. Check your student handbook and check with an administrator to see who the best person is within your Department.

  • Changing your course (including removing a Year Abroad)

    You might find that you can change departments to take a different degree course. Speak with the relevant administrator of your current Department and the administrator of the Department that you're hoping to join to find out whether you meet the criteria to change course. Then make the formal application to change course.

    Please note: academic, financial (including bursaries), visa or other issues might be affected by your decision. Make sure that you read this guidancecarefully and discuss it and any concerns with a staff member in your Department. Check your student handbook and check with an administrator to see who the best person is within your Department. If your decision includes study abroad, speak with the Study Abroad office.

  • Intermit (take a formal break from your studies)

    You need to formally apply to take a break from your studies. There are important practical matters to consider before you take a break such as academic, accommodation, financial (including bursaries), visa or other issues might be affected by your decision. It is very important that you read and consider our guidance on intermitting first. This can be a very expensive decision if not done with careful thought.

  • Transferring to another university

    If you've decided to transfer to another university, it's important to contact the other university before you make any decision. You might also have to reapply through UCAS.

  • Leaving the University

    If you decide that withdrawal is right for you, you need to follow the process below.

    1. Speak to an adviser in your department or at your Student Services Hub, so you can consider all of your options.
    2. Make sure you've understood the practical implications (see the 'Things to consider' tab). Please read the guidance carefully - it could be very costly if you withdraw without considering these issues carefully. If you're not sure about any of these important matters, ask your adviser.
    3. If (after speaking with your adviser), you decide that withdrawal is right for you, tell them your decision. You'll be sent an online form to complete.
    4. Your completed form will automatically be received by your department. They will process your request before passing it to the Student Progress team (Colchester) or Student Administration (Southend) who will close your student record.

    You'll receive a letter confirming that your withdrawal has been completed. Your letter will include your HESA ID number, which you'll need to provide to your new institution if you're continuing your studies elsewhere. This is a unique number assigned to you by the Higher Education Statistics Agency and used for statistical purposes to keep accurate records of the educational careers of all students.

    Ordering a transcript

    After your withdrawal has been confirmed you can order a record of the course and modules you have taken by requesting a transcript.