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6 reasons why students drop out of university in South Africa

Some reasons for students dropping out are completely acceptable – and actually good, while other reasons should be rectified. With that in mind, here are 9 of the main reasons why South African students drop out of University


1. Work and family commitments

Correlated to financial issues, students often drop out due to a conflict between their studies, job, and home commitments. Many students have to work a part time job to keep up financially with their degree. The demands of the job then affects their ability to commit to their studies. Once you add different family commitments over and above that, many students are unable to cope. If the student is unable to figure out how to manage the various pressures, it often leads to them no longer being able to study.


2. Social life at University

When you arrive at university there is a new found freedom. You no longer have your parents keeping you accountable, or teachers disciplining anyone that acts against the rules of their school. At university, you are treated like an adult. Many students are not prepared for this new freedom, and begin to overindulge in the social aspects of the university experience. This often includes an overuse of alcohol and other drugs. When this overindulgence happens students naturally are unable to keep up with their academics and other stressors of university life. This can lead to a student failing, and then dropping out.


3. Financial reasons

One of the major reasons that students drop out is because of financial struggles. The truth is, varsity is expensive. From tuition fees to textbooks, rent, groceries, and more the costs really do add up. When preparing for university, it is easy to only plan for the tuition fees, without realizing all of the other extra costs of getting a tertiary education. This pressure can result in students not being able to cope with the financial pressure of studying. Leading to them dropping out.


4. Unhappy with the university

There are times when a student is just unhappy with the university they are at. This is actually another reason people drop out that isn’t necessarily a problem. Often a student is better suited to an alternative way of learning, or would rather start working straight away. It all depends on what the student needs. If this is a reason that you want to drop out, make sure that you are truly unhappy with the varsity as a whole and if you can’t change your immediate environment. If not, and you know what you want to do outside of the university, then this is not something that needs to be avoided by a student.


5. Choosing the wrong course

Understanding that you have chosen the wrong course, can be a very good reason for stopping your studies. Most students start planning for their studies from grade 9, and at that age there is still a lot that someone needs to learn about themselves. University is a great place to learn about yourself, and if a student discovers that they are studying the wrong degree, it can lead to them dropping out.


6. Personal emergencies

There are times in life where tragedy strikes, and you have to change plans according to that. When personal emergencies happen, this can often lead to students dropping out of university. Unfortunately, you can’t plan for most emergencies and so in these cases it is very difficult to avoid dropping out due to a personal tragedy.


Most of the reasons that students drop out of university come down to either a lack of finances or a lack of support. So, if you want to make sure that you are not one of those students, make sure to get enough support.

For academic and social support, see what is available at your university, and reach out to people who can help.