Studying has been a trend for years. Increasing numbers of students mean, however, that it increasingly comes to drop out of studies. If the motivation is still great at first, many realize that demands, expectations and stress are too much or that a theoretically designed study just does not fit. With frustration and poor performance, dropping out of studies can hardly be avoided. But what then? In another degree program start from scratch or reorientate without a degree? Dropping out is a big step, which is fraught with anxiety. How to approach it correctly, how to explain your dropout and how to continue for you …

Discontinuation: A stigma many are struggling with

Drop-outs. This term is for some former students – and unfortunately also personnel – a stigma equal. A question inevitably comes up and is guaranteed in the interview: Why did you drop out of college? Anyone who does not have a ready-to-use answer now looks old – and leaves too much room for speculation.

Unfortunately, it is often premature to conclude that the only reasons for dropping out are either a lack of talent or simply learning laziness. Such one-dimensional thinking is a big mistake and ignores many other possibilities. For example, not everyone is made for the university. This has nothing to do with laziness or lack of knowledge, but often lies in the very theoretical orientation of the courses.

Nevertheless, the fear of the potential consequences of dropping out of university creates great pressure on students. Nobody wants to be a drop-out, not just professionally but also in the private sphere, while everyone else has a successful degree in their pocket.

Even if the environment does not respond and even supportively and positively deals with dropping out, many dropouts feel uncomfortable, insecure and sometimes even marginalized right from the beginning, because they shut themselves off for fear of the reactions of others themselves.

Honest self-reflection helps explain a drop-out

However, before students can think about a quick response to the job interview, in many cases it is important to overcome the initial shock of dropping out.

Of course, most students make the decision themselves – financial reasons and family pressure left out – but many feel right after dropping out as a failure. However, this is completely unnecessary because as a drop-out you are certainly not alone. In some Bachelor programs, the drop-out rate is 30 percent or even higher.

Even if you leave the others out, it remains to be noted: A dropout is not an end to the world. Yet many students find it difficult to give up their studies, even in the case of great dissatisfaction or problems. Behind this is the fear of being labeled as a drop-out student, of having lost the chances on the job market and finding no alternative.

Even if a drop out is not a catastrophe, the step must be explained with a view to the further professional career: Therefore, the important question remains:

How can a study termination in the CV and / or job interview be sold optimally?

A principle stands before all factual reasons: Take the responsibility for the decision and do not talk out. Excuses rarely sound convincing, but convey a clear message: they themselves see the dropout as a mistake and regret it. The decision was not thought out or considered.

With this message, breaks in the CV – which otherwise pose no problem – become an application disadvantage. Which employer wants employees who decide impulsively and thoughtlessly and only regret their decision if the damage has already occurred?

It is different, however, if you can give good reasons and present them confidently. Then show that the dropout was considered – and was the best option for you.

Dropout: reasons for the decision

Tying up the staffer that you wrote bad grades from the beginning because you never learned, and so exmatriculation was just a matter of time anyway, is certainly not the best strategy to sell a drop-out. This probably only confirms the doubts that already exist in many minds. But there are also some very understandable reasons why you can counteract skepticism and confidently state that you have dropped out of your studies:

New inclinations.

Studying as bachelor and master are also always offers the chance to look beyond one’s own field of study and into one or the other lecture. You may have discovered that other study content and programs are more in line with your talents and inclinations. Or you have developed completely new interests. People are changing, as are life goals and priorities. Accordingly, you have consistently adapted your training to this – unfortunately somewhat delayed – insight.

Wrong expectations.

Such a mass university can give you a lot of fear. Yesterday one was still part of a step association, today only anonymous examination number. And the requirements are completely different than expected: Since you wanted to actually (economics) study economics and is found in a limited mathematics study with numerous formulas, variables and integral calculus again. Or you have noticed that studying does not suit you. As long as you can show credibly that you can exclude this for the desired job (because the other has requirements), HR should have no problem with it.

Private reasons.

These too are legitimate if they do not give the impression of a mood. A longer illness, an accident, a nursing care in the family – all of these can be reasons that lead to the termination of studies. And they are completely okay, because you had no influence on that. It is only important that you show at least once again that you still did not make the decision against studying easy. And it should become clear that the private issues are resolved and will not adversely affect your future job.

However, the first two reasons are more convincing if you cancel your studies within the first three semesters. It is only shortly before the exam to find out that your interests are actually somewhere else or that you do not really like math, raises the question of whether you have studied anything until then and actually were in the university during the day …

Can a drop out be avoided?

For many, dropping out is the last resort if no other way is found to solve the situation. But is it possible to prevent or prevent an abortion? First of all, however, everyone should ask themselves whether it makes any sense at all to try to prevent the threat of dropping out at any cost.

Because that is not always the case. It may sound harsh, but for some, dropping out is the best option and the right decision. Not everyone is happy in the study and who realizes that he wants to develop in a completely different professional direction in which a study does not help at all, should probably not prevent a graduation break, but consciously go this way.

In other cases, there are certainly ways to prevent it from ending the study – and the prevention can already begin before the study has even begun.

It starts with clear expectations and sufficient information. The more you know about studying and the more you research yourself to get an idea of ​​what to expect, the rarer are the nasty surprises.

A drop out can also be avoided if you clarify the financial situation. Do you need a job to cover your expenses? Can you apply for BAföG or is a student loan possibly necessary? Once the financial issues have been resolved, a common reason for dropping out will be lost.

In addition, there are some mistakes you should avoid if you want to reduce the risk of dropping out:

You have not considered alternatives

After graduation I go to study … This is for many a fixed fact that is not further questioned. A big mistake that increases the rate of dropouts. You should start studying for good and thoughtful reasons, not because studying is trendy or all your friends are doing it.

They can be influenced

Family and friends can exert great influence on the decision to study. If you want to be successful, you should go to college and high school graduates feel compelled to go to university. Those who do not act on their own initiative, however, stop their studies more often.

They do not think about the time after graduation

What do you want to do after graduation? Which profession do you aspire to? Which industry? How good are the job opportunities in this area? Only those who think about the future at an early age can start a course of study with the right qualifications.

Graduation: And then?

For many people, breaking their studies breaks down a world for many. There were great hopes in university education and suddenly you are back exactly where you were a year or two ago. The emotional state alternates between doubts and worries and the question remains how to proceed.

The time of dropping out is certainly not easy, but it is now about looking forward and planning the way forward and approach.

This works best if you do not identify yourself solely by stopping your studies. You are not just a dropout and should not sell yourself and behave as such when you apply to the job market.

Keep in mind that you are not alone and even a comparatively large proportion of between 20 and 30 percent of graduate students finish their studies. It may not have been optimal and different than planned, but there are still many doors open for you to develop after graduation and continue on your career path.

Although you will have to accept the question of why you did not complete your studies and also have to answer them in application processes, this does not mean that you have no chance of success any more. What is missing is often the self-confidence after the setback in the study. If you rebuild this, the crash does not have to be negative.

Instead, you can even get the most out of the situation and, for example, get credit for a few benefits from your studies so that you can shorten subsequent training and get into the workforce faster.

Programs for post-graduate education

Every year nearly one third of the students finish their studies without a degree. Particularly high are the dropout rates in the engineering and natural sciences. The Federal Government has recognized that this means great potential is lost.

As the number of students increases, thousands of apprenticeships remain vacant. In Europe, apprentices are desperately wanted. In the craft industry alone, 200,000 masters are expected to seek a successor in the next ten years.

After dropping out, an education can offer many opportunities – and there are some programs that can help with the transition.

Many of these programs specifically target dropouts and offer them the prospect of earning a vocational qualification. A shortened training period and a master craftsman’s certificate are promised.

Your turn.

This is a special program of the IHK Berlin. Dropouts will be given the opportunity to undergo training in IT, wholesale and real estate. The training takes place both in companies, as well as at the vocational school in a special class. The training period is reduced from 36 to 18 months.

  • Possible training occupations
  • IT specialist for system integration and application development
  • Immobilienkaufmann / woman
  • Businessman / woman in wholesale and foreign trade
  • requirements

In order to participate in the program, the following points must be fulfilled:

  • You should have studied at least two semesters.
  • You should come from an industry-related field.
  • You need a minimum of 20 credit points.
  • consulting services

The IHK supports you in finding a suitable training company and establishing contact. Also, a study expo fair offers the opportunity to learn about opportunities and get to know training companies.


This program is aimed at dropouts from the MINT subjects as well as economics in the Aachen region. You will be given the opportunity to undergo training in a technical or commercial area. Again, the training period is reduced to 18 or 24 months. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

  • Possible training occupations
  • IT specialist for application development
  • IT specialist for system integration
  • Industrial buyer / woman
  • mechatronics
  • requirements
  • You should have studied a few semesters.
  • Previous knowledge is an advantage.
  • consulting services

After your application it will be checked if you meet the requirements for an apprenticeship. If this is the case, you will be invited to an expert discussion and get to know possible training companies.

Further information as well as the application modalities can be found here.

Master instead of master

The Kreishandwerkerschaft Hellweg-Lippe offers dropouts the opportunity to learn a crafting profession. The training is designed from the outset to the acquisition of the master’s certificate.

Possible training occupations

The Kreishandwerkerschaft offers training courses from plant mechanic to dental technician.


The website does not specify specific requirements, but the application is open to all fields of study.

Consulting services

Applicants are helped to choose a crafting profession and to find a suitable company. In the initial phase it is also possible to change the vocational training. So, first of all, you can test how one likes the new profession and whether one can cope.

Further information as well as a contact person can be found on the Kreishandwerkerschaft website.

Career Program Craft: From the campus to the executive chair

The Chamber of Crafts for Lower Franconia also offers a special program for dropouts and offers them a perspective in craft. The training is followed by further training as a master. The Chamber of Crafts cooperates with the University of Würzburg and the University of Aschaffenburg.

Possible training occupations

Again, applicants have access to a wide selection of craft trades.

  • requirements.
  • Are not visible on the website.
  • consulting services

The Chamber of Crafts offers a complete package. At the beginning there is the first interview, in which the reasons for a reorientation are queried. Afterwards, planning and consulting are the appropriate training. It will also help you to find the right company and finance the master.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 − 13 =