Latest statistics show that, on average, almost one in five first year students will drop out before completing an autumn and a spring session at University. So we look at exactly why so many freshman can’t deal with university life.

1. Students are mostly really, really poor


If you’re a university student and your parents aren’t particularly wealthy, you’re probably going to have to work part-time. Part-time and casual hours can be inconsistent and financially unrewarding. Most first year students are 17 or 18 and trying to make a start in life, and earning a full-time salary can be much more appealing than doing your time and praying you’ll be paid well when you finish your degree. The stress of trying to stay afloat financially and managing your studyload is a lot to handle, so it’s fair if some young adults can’t do it.


2. You’ve got to do it all by yourself


Going from high school to university is a big transition that many aren’t expecting, or aren’t ready for. Students go from having teachers available every day to help with your studies to doing things basically all by yourself. Most universities offer some sort of student assistance or tutoring programs, but they don’t always cover all faculties. Going from great marks at high school to poor results at university can be discouraging, and can make you second guess your degree.


3. Poor degree choice in the first place

I have no idea

Not everyone knows what they want to do in high school and many are pushed into degrees by parents or teachers they don’t particularly know much about. Commerce and Arts degrees can be a fallback for people who think they want a university degree but have no idea what they want to do with their life.


4. Students love a party


Australian university students don’t mind having a good time – if you doubt this, attend a Unigames, some O Week celebrations, or just head down to any Unibar at 12.30pm every day and count the jugs of beer you see. University expands a persons social circle immensely, and for those moving from a rural town to a city that is more populated and has a vastly different nightlife partying can become addicted. Many students don’t get their priorities straight and forsake studying for a night on the town, which often leads to poor grades and even failures. Students who party regularly and fail subjects will eventually realise one of these practices will have to stop, partying is much more fun than failing subjects, so students rid their lives of the latter.


5. There are so many good alternatives


University is not for everyone, study is not for everyone. Many people realise through an epiphany of their own or through guidance from a councillor or parent that they’d be much happier in a trade or a full time position. National Universities will sometimes not offer specific courses like design or event management that TAFE or private institutions will, so someone with a clear career goal may discover national Universities are not the best avenue to take to achieve their goals.


6. More people are trying university


In 2001 there were 177,543 university students in Australia, in 2012 there were 248,50. More high school students see university as an attractive option and are encouraged by teachers and parents to apply. Over this time dropout rates have stayed remarkably stable, so numerically more students are dropping out, but more are graduating too.

7. Student life can be lonely


Some students have a hard time making friends at university, an extended period of feeling lonely is enough to make anyone want a change. Those who have moved great distances to study who may not know anyone in the area find it particularly tough. Degrees with higher intake rates, like Commerce, mean students may not have a single person who is actually in two of your classes, and it’s hard to build a meaningful relationship in a weekly one hour tutorial.

Words: Cameron Warner