If you’re starting university this year then you’ve probably heard the saying that ‘first year doesn’t count.’ But is that really true? Well, it seems that concerns about succeeding in their course are one of the biggest concerns students have about starting university; and there’s no denying that it’s something many students struggle with. That’s why many ask the question of what happens if you fail your first year of university?

In fact, the transition from college to university can be tough. Particularly when there are other aspects such as loneliness and financial struggles that put extra pressure on students’ studies. So, if you’re feeling anxious about starting uni, we’re here to help. Here’s what happens if you fail your first year of university, including what happens to your student finance.

How many credits do you need to pass your first year of university?

How many credits means you fail first year uni

First things first, we’re going to look at how your degree grade is calculated. Well, it may be a relief for you to hear that at many universities the first year of your degree doesn’t count towards your final degree grade. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you can skip all of your lectures.

In fact, you need 120 credits to pass your first year of university and progress to the second year. That equates to around 1,200 hours of study. What’s more, your first year at uni helps you to get used to the university experience which means that you may find it harder to discipline yourself if you don’t put the work in from the get-go.

What happens if you fail your first year of university?

What happens if you fail your first year of university?

Failing your first year at university can initially seem like a daunting setback, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of your academic journey. Universities typically have structured policies and support systems in place for students who don’t pass their first year. The immediate consequence is usually the need to retake exams or, in some cases, repeat the entire year. This provides an opportunity to not only improve your grades but also to gain a deeper understanding of the course material. It’s a chance to reassess and realign your study strategies, ensuring that the same pitfalls are not encountered again.

However, the implications of failing extend beyond just academic repercussions. It can affect your student finance, as most funding bodies cover the duration of your course plus an additional year for contingencies such as retakes. Therefore, it’s crucial to check with your student finance provider about your eligibility and the financial implications of repeating a year.

Additionally, failing can take an emotional toll, impacting your confidence and mental wellbeing. Universities offer various support services, including counselling and academic advising, to help students navigate through this challenging period. It’s essential to use these resources and understand that many students face similar challenges. With the right support and a revised approach, failing your first year can be transformed into a valuable learning experience, paving the way for future success. Keep reading to get advice on what to do next.

What to do next: 10 steps to take if you think you’re failing university first year

what happens if you fail your first year at uni?

Failing your first year of uni might seem like a nightmare scenario but trust us, it’s not. So, if you do find yourself in this situation then it’s important not to panic. Just take a deep breath, get some fresh air and then read on to find out what to do next.

1. Talk to your professors

As much as you might want to curl up in bed and not talk to anyone, that’s not really going to help you sort out this situation. So, if you’ve failed your first year of university, your first port of call should be arranging a meeting with your course professors. When you speak to them, ask for some clarification as to why you failed and how you can improve on this next time. This can help give you some clarity and work out a realistic course of action.

2. Consider whether this course/ university the right choice for you?

Now, it’s time to ask yourself the hard-hitting questions. If you failed the first year, it’s important to reevaluate whether this course/uni is the right choice for you. Do you find the subject engaging and do you feel like you are getting the support that you need? Remember that student satisfaction varies between universities and this will have an impact on your studies.

If you do feel like you’re not happy where you are, there are plenty of options. After all, there’s no point in staying at a university you don’t like for two more years. Read our guide here to find out what to do if you drop out of university.

3. Apply for your retakes

After talking to your professors, you should have some ideas as to whether you will be fine retaking a couple of modules or if you would need to retake the first year. Retaking modules generally involves summer school, meaning that you can get the grades that you need in time to start the second year. This undoubtedly comes with its own challenges but is a good option if you just fell a little short of where you need to be.

4. Retake the first year

If you simply didn’t put the work in or external struggles meant that you failed the first year of uni, then retaking may be the best option for you. Retaking your first year will allow you to start afresh and hopefully achieve the grades that you need.

Of course, this decision is something that should be considered very carefully. Some students may struggle with the idea of facing an additional year of study and being behind the friends they made in their first year. Also, you’ll need to think about Student Finance options. Read on to find out more about this.

5. Talk to your friends and family

Do you get Student Finance if you repeat a year? Failed first year uni

At the end of the day, your degree is your responsibility. However, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to loved ones for advice and support if you have failed the first year of university. Opening up to your parents and friends about university-related problems can be embarrassing and painful, however, you’ll feel a lot better than if you bottled the whole thing up.

6. Develop a study plan

Creating a structured study plan is a pivotal step in regaining your academic footing. Start by setting clear, achievable goals for each subject, considering the feedback and insights gained from professors. Break down these goals into manageable tasks with specific deadlines, ensuring they are realistic and align with your learning pace. Incorporate different study methods that suit your learning style, whether it involves visual aids, interactive tools, or written notes. Allocate regular, consistent time slots for studying, allowing for flexibility to adapt as needed. It’s also beneficial to review and adjust this plan periodically based on your progress. Remember, a good study plan is not just about covering the syllabus; it’s about understanding the material in depth and being able to apply it effectively. Incorporate self-testing methods like quizzes or practice essays to gauge your understanding and retention. Lastly, ensure your plan includes breaks and downtime to avoid burnout.

7. Seek academic support services

Leveraging your university’s academic support services can significantly enhance your learning experience. These services often include one-on-one tutoring, which can provide personalised guidance and clarification on complex topics. Additionally, consider joining study groups; they offer a collaborative environment where you can gain different perspectives and deepen your understanding through discussion. Many universities also offer workshops on study skills, time management, and exam preparation. These workshops can equip you with strategies to study more effectively, manage your time efficiently, and approach exams with confidence. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these services early in the academic year; proactive engagement can prevent potential challenges from escalating. Remember, these resources are there to support your academic journey, and making the most of them can be a game-changer in your university experience.

8. Address your personal wellbeing

meditating for mental health

Addressing your personal wellbeing is crucial in overcoming academic challenges. If personal issues have impacted your studies, seeking support can provide relief and clarity. Many universities offer counselling services where you can talk confidentially about your concerns. These sessions can help you develop coping strategies, offer emotional support, and guide you in managing stress effectively. Additionally, consider attending stress management workshops or mindfulness training, which can provide practical tools to handle academic pressures. Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring adequate sleep are also vital for mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re more comfortable talking to someone familiar, reach out to a trusted mentor or advisor who can offer guidance and support. Remember, taking care of your mental and emotional health is as important as your academic success, and there are many resources available to help you navigate these challenges.

9. Get involved in extracurricular activities

Balancing your academic life with extracurricular activities can significantly enhance your university experience. Participating in clubs, sports, or volunteer work can provide a much-needed break from studies, offering opportunities for relaxation and personal growth. These activities can help you develop new skills, from teamwork and leadership to time management and communication. They also offer a chance to meet new people and build a supportive community, which can be particularly beneficial if you’re struggling with loneliness or adapting to university life. Engaging in activities you’re passionate about can boost your mood and overall wellbeing, positively impacting your academic performance. However, it’s important to find the right balance; ensure that these activities complement your studies rather than overwhelm your schedule. Remember, university is not just about academic achievements; it’s also a time to explore new interests, develop a well-rounded skill set, and enjoy diverse experiences.

10. Utilise mental health support for students

mental health support for students if you're failing first year uni

Prioritising mental health is essential for academic success and overall wellbeing. Universities typically offer a range of mental health support services tailored to student needs. Familiarise yourself with these resources and don’t hesitate to utilise them. These services may include counselling sessions, mental health advisors, and peer support programs. Counselling can provide a safe space to discuss any issues impacting your mental health, from academic stress to personal problems. Mental health advisors can guide you in managing mental health conditions and offer strategies to cope with university life. Additionally, peer support programs connect you with fellow students who can offer empathy, understanding, and shared experiences.

Likewise, if you would rather talk to someone external, check out this list of places offering mental health support in the UK. Either way, it’s important not to suffer in silence.

Do you get Student Finance if you repeat a year of university?

Do you get Student Finance if you repeat a year of university?

What happens to your student finance if you fail your first year of university? When it comes to student finance, most students receive funding for their first degree, for the length of the course plus one year. That one year essentially means that if you do need to repeat a year then it’s covered (in theory).

Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that every student finance application is considered on an individual basis and there are external factors that influence how much finance you will get. Therefore, the best way to find out what happens to your student finance if you’ve failed your first year of university is to contact Student Finance directly.

We hope that this article has given you some clarity on what to do if you fail your first year of university. Whatever the reasons, at the end of the day, it’s important to keep a sense of perspective. So, while you should look at the reason you failed objectively, try not to be too hard on yourself. As you have seen in this article, there are plenty of options for you to take next.

Last Updated on February 1, 2024

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