Advice for living in Cardiff and the UK, Health and Wellbeing, Managing your money, Preparing for your future

University not going so well?

Our Advice and Money Team give you some tips on what to do if you are struggling with university and considering withdrawing…

Starting university is exciting but it also comes with some anxiety. It’s quite common to feel overwhelmed in the first few weeks and wonder if you are in the right place, or if you are here at the right time. Usually these feelings will dissipate as you make friends and engage in university life. If you are really struggling however, please read on to find out more about transferring courses or withdrawing from university altogether.

Understand your motivations

Are you the type of person who finds it difficult to be in new settings? Is this your first time away from home? Has homesickness factored in your decision?

Consider your feelings, and whether you are just trying to deal with a new situation and the anxiety that comes from this. Most students will have a degree of homesickness when they begin university and for some this can last longer than a few weeks. Homesickness can be described as a grieving process – the loss of what is familiar and secure, loss of people but also routines and places. If you think that homesickness is the major or overwhelming factor influencing your thoughts about leaving university, then there are numerous things that you can do to help alleviate the feelings and help you to feel more anchored to your new life in Cardiff. Check out our blog with practical tips to help with homesickness.


Watch our video, ‘Freshers’ Support’

Loving Cardiff, but struggling with university work?

Maybe you’ve made loads of new friends and are a card-carrying member of at least 7 SU societies that you signed up to in a fit of fresher’s enthusiasm. However, you dread lectures and feel overwhelmed by university work. If you are struggling with the transition to university learning, find out about how Academic Study Skills classes (available for all undergraduates from all academic disciplines) could help you improve your critical thinking, note taking and more.

Dislike your course?

If you dislike your course, you may be able to transfer to another. Cardiff University, like most universities, will only allow students to transfer to a different course within the first few weeks.   If you’ve missed this window and want to transfer to a different course, it won’t be possible to start the new course until next academic year (this is known as a deferred transfer). Find out more about transferring here. We also recommend that you come in and speak to an Advice and Money Team adviser to discuss your options further.

The Careers & Employability team are also available to talk to about your course and your options to help you make the right decisions that will support your longer term career planning and prospects. Book an appointment to speak to a Careers Adviser.


Are you thinking that this is definitely not for me?

You are not enjoying the course/your accommodation or both. University is not what you thought it would be like and you can think of nothing worse than staying here. If you feel like university isn’t for you, find out more about withdrawing here. We really recommend that you come and speak to us, either at Student Support at the Students’ Union (Cathays), or at Cardigan House (Heath) as withdrawing can be a more complicated process than it appears. Check out our contact details here.

Withdrawing is a deceptively simple process that can be done through SIMS, but it can have massive implications for your student funding. This may not be at the forefront of your mind right now but it is important. You may have sworn off higher education for life but in a few years’ time you may have changed your mind, and that is not a good time to find out that you don’t have access to as much Student Finance as you thought.

If you are considering withdrawing then check out the information on how much fees you will be charged, dependent on when you withdraw here.


You want to leave because you have financial issues

Your funding is late/you forgot to apply for funding/your parents pay normally but now they can’t/Student Finance are impossible and you have given up hope of getting a straight answer over what you thought was a simple enquiry!

There are a number of reasons why your funding could be late and the majority of them are an easy fix, so don’t panic. If you forgot to apply for funding then all is not lost. You actually have up until 9 months in the course to still apply, so get onto that application form now. Your funding will take a while to come through and so it’s worth speaking to an adviser who can discuss how you will take care of your living costs over the next few weeks. If you are having difficulty understanding a Student Finance decision or you are confused why you can’t access funding/have to pay money back etc. then contact us or use the drop in so that we can discuss your issue in more detail. It may be a good idea to set up consent to share also so that we can talk to Student Finance on your behalf. Get the details on how to do this on the intranet(log in required).

If it’s finance worries please read our web content or come and see us – you may be surprised by the amount of help available. You may even be eligible for a non-repayable Financial Assistance Programme Award to help you stay at University. Find out more about Financial Assistance Programme Awards here.


You want to withdraw due to a health issue/family issue

If you are struggling with a health issue or there are things going on in your family life that mean your focus is divided, then it is completely understandable that you would want to consider withdrawal as an option. Depending on the situation this may very well be the best thing.

However you may find it beneficial to seek support with this decision so that you can make the best informed choice. Have a chat with your personal tutor or a member of academic staff on your course. Would you be able to split your year so that your workload is spread over more years (bearing in mind that the University Regulations only allow you the normal length of your course plus 2 extra years). Would your school agree to an Interruption of Study that allows you to take some time off and then come back? If you have a disability or a long-term illness, are you accessing all the eligible support from the Disability and Dyslexia Service? Many students are not aware of the far-ranging definition of “disability” which covers mental health conditions, long-term illnesses and conditions and specific learning difficulties. If you have been struggling without support perhaps linking in with the Disability and Dyslexia Team would allow you to continue.


Once the deed is done

If you do decide to withdraw then have a think about how you will feel when you return home and many of your friends are still at university. You may need to return to live at home with parents which may be difficult to go back to – how will you manage this transition?


Whatever you decide to do, some impartial advice is always useful

Student Support Services at Cardiff University are here to help you, please drop in or contact us should you have any questions. Telephone: 02920 874844 Email:


Your feedback and help please

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Best wishes,

Einir, Advice and Money Team

einir england blog

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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