What happens if I start failing at uni?

What happens if I start struggling at uni?

In the news today it was announced that university students who fail more than half their subjects could face losing their government financial support.

Nothing is certain yet (it’s been proposed before and hasn’t happened yet). So if you’re thinking about applying to university, then please don’t let this announcement put you off. Read about some of your options if you’re concerned about “what happens if I start failing at uni?”


  1. Defer your starting date

After 12 years of schooling (and a pandemic chucked in) perhaps you need a brain break to renew your enthusiasm for learning. Deferring may be an option for you.

There are very few universities who won’t let you defer, but check when you’re doing applications. There may be specific courses where you can’t defer your enrolment, they tend to be the ones in high demand e.g. Medicine.

You may be able to defer for:

  • 6 months and start mid-year
  • 12 months (most common)
  • 2 years in some instances


2. Take a Pause


Once you start your uni course, if you find that it’s all becoming a bit too much speak to your tutors, faculty and admin staff about taking some time out. In many cases you could be allowed to put your studies on hold and start back when your head is back in the game.

If you personal circumstances change, finances are a problem, there’s family issues, you experience a bereavement or long term illness – no matter what the problem, a pause could allow you deal with whatever is going and come back to continue your studies when you’re ready.


3. Ask for special consideration


Universities know that if you’re failing in one or more subject, then you’re most likely not doing it on purpose.

Similar to the special consideration or educational access schemes that are available when you’re applying to university (if you’ve had a hard time in Year 11 or 12 and it’s impacted your studies); universities often offer special consideration whilst your studying at university.

Applicable to short term circumstances beyond your control – such as illness, an accident or injury, family bereavement, or natural disasters (bush fires or a pandemic for example). It could mean you’ll be eligible to apply for special arrangements to be made regarding coursework, assignments, and exams. The solution could be unique to your case and will be up to the discretion of the university.


4. Apply for Extensions


Got a big assignment deadline looming and know that won’t be able to complete the work or not to a great standard? Speak to your tutor and see if you can negotiate an extension.

As long as you have a valid reason. For example, you’ve been sick, had to work some extra shifts, or had another couple of assignments due at the same time – they’ll probably grant you an extension to the deadline.


5. Get Help


If you’re finding the transition to university work difficult, or you can’t get a handle on one or two subjects – speak to your tutors. If they can’t help, they’ll know where to direct you. You really won’t need to struggle alone.

Most universities have a student support department if you’d like to go straight to them.


6. Consider changing courses


It can be hard to know in high school if the course you’d love to do will tick all your boxes.

If you’re not enjoying your course because it’s too hard, not engaging, or some other reason – universities could let you transfer onto a different course that you’ll enjoy more and do better at.

You’ll be able to get advice and more information about the process from staff on site including your personal academic advisors, lecturers, tutor,  and the student services office.

Universities want to help you to succeed


Fails and drop outs may aren’t great business for universities. So it’s in their best interests to do everything to help you pass your subjects and course, ultimately graduating with a qualification.

So before you consider giving up and leaving uni, if you really do want to achieve your goal, be assured that there are lots of options for you to consider.

Be the first to find out

Join our free newsletter crew – we don’t send spam, just news and opportunities to help you build your career.

You might like...

Pathways to Geospatial Careers
$0 AUD
Change of Preference Guide 2023
$18 AUD
School Leaver Toolkit
$18 AUD

Quick Links

Recent Articles

Latest Video

Our latest Guides

Digital download
Pathways to Geospatial Careers
$0 AUD
Digital download
Change of Preference Guide 2023
$18 AUD
Digital download
School Leaver Toolkit
$18 AUD
Digital download
Apprenticeships and Traineeships Guide
$18 AUD

Related Articles

Sign up for our Newsletter

We won’t send you spam, or fifty emails a week. We just send opportunities that could help you find a career you love

Scroll to Top

Fill in the form to update your details

Oops! You need to be logged in to use this form.

Welcome Back

Everything's where you left it