Leaving Your Course

You're not alone in being unsure about your course. Every year there is a very large drop out rate from Irish colleges of first year students particularly. There can be a number of reasons for this maybe the subject isn't what you thought it would be, the course content isn't what you wanted, the assessment method doesn't suit you or you can't get motivated. Perhaps you feel the environment doesn't suit and you're homesick and feeling out of your depth. Maybe you are having second thoughts about your chosen career path.

One important thing to remember is not to feel alone or unsupported. Staff are available in your college to help you. So get some guidance. Leaving the course without any sense of where you're going next often makes the situation worse.Act as soon as possible. If you're going to change course or leave, it's often easier to do so early in the first semester, when in-filling to other courses is more of a possibility. If you do decide to leave you should make sure you discuss the matter fully with someone, be that a lecturer, any member of the Academic or Student Services Staff or the Students' Union.

Each college has a process that needs to be completed for a student that leaves their course and it usually involved filling in a form. You might not feel like talking to someone but you'll be glad of it, whether it's because of your grant, your fees or just for the support. You might think of visiting your college Career's Office about getting some advice and information for a Plan B.

Transferring from Your Course

If you want to stay in the College and if you decide to leave your course during the first year, you will need to re-apply though the CAO system. NB the closing date for CAO applications is 1st February in the proposed year of entry to the course. Late applications will be accepted until 1st May, but the application cost doubles.

Alternatively you could approach the Admissions Office and see if it is possible to transfer within the college to another course. They mightn't have it written in 3 foot high letters over the door, but colleges tend to look after their own and you're one of them now! There are no guarantees but it's worth a try.

Transferring from Your College

You may not want to stay at the college you are in and therefore you want to transfer elsewhere. Again you can reapply to the CAO for next year. If you have some form of post leaving certificate qualification that you should make application to the Admissions Office of the relevant college

Deferring Your Course

You've started College and you really don't know what you want but you know you're not happy. Instead of quitting straight away why not take some time out: to reflect, to pay back some debts, to research options more carefully, to gain experience in the workplace, to travel, take a break from study, talk to people in different jobs, get work experience, etc.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you plan how best to use your time. The Careers Office might be able to help you with some ideas. Plan out what you intend to do so that the experience will be as beneficial and as useful as possible. If you are taking time out due to personal problems, you might find it helpful to make use of the support services available to you, such as the Counseling Service or the Chaplaincy.

For Further Information

Higher Education Authority
Central Applications Office (CAO)