Considered withdrawing from studies?

There are many possible reasons for thinking about changing your plans. These may be study-related, personal or a combination of both.From programs not suiting your interest, financial difficulties, personal problems, problems with studying and many more. Taking a break to take care of yourself is okay. However, it is important to be aware of what options you may have as well as consequences when withdrawing from your studies.

1. Consult your Academic College/s

The best decisions are made when you have all the facts in front of you so that you can make an informed choice. Within the University, there are many people who are able to help you explore the issues associated with your decision to change courses or to leave. While it can sometimes be daunting to go and speak with someone about your concerns, it can often be extremely beneficial and save a great deal of worry.

More about academic & administrative concerns

Within your faculty/school/centre there are people able to help you directly with queries relating to your program, or specific courses. Consult your academic colleges by visiting your college/s student facing offices, emailing their general enquiries line or phoning their office. They can usually assist with questions relating to:

  • assignments and examinations
  • assessment dates
  • special consideration
  • withdrawal and leave of absence
  • HECS-HELP and SLE and fees

If you have issues with a specific course, the most appropriate course of actions are: 

1. Consult your tutor or demonstrator,
2. Speak to the lecturer in charge of the subject,
3. Speak to the sub-dean or secretary of your faculty (program convenor or administrator for graduate students).
4. Speak to Student Administration and Student Fees staff


2. Understand your options

Depending on your circumstances, there may be various options for you when looking into taking a break form your studies. Some of the possible options are: 

  • Continue with your studies
  • Withdraw from a course or two
  • Changing programs
  • Taking leave of absence from study
  • Discountinue program

see more details about each options

Continue with your studies
Having reviewed your difficulties, through using the student support services of the University and your own personal support networks, you may decide that you can continue your program without any changes.

Withdrawing from a course or two
Reducing your workload by withdrawing from one or a few courses of study may be possible within your faculty. This can then give you the time to deal with your current situation. Remember that there are time-limits for withdrawing without listing on your transcript withdrawing without fail, so check the dates for the current year with Student Administration. Withdrawing after the Census dates means that you will still incur tuition fees.  Remember to check how a withdrawal affects any Centrelink benefits, scholarships/bursaries, or your living circumstances if you are in a residential hall.

Changing programs
This is possible within the university but check procedures with Student Administration in your academic college. Remember that your marks in your current program may significantly influence your chances of being accepted. It is helpful to get support from your current faculty for the move.

Taking leave of absence from study
This means you take time out from your program for personal or medical reasons, but you keep your place with the option of returning at a later date. This period of leave is usually limited to one year. You need to apply for this at Student Administration or your Faculty/School/Centre office.


Discontinue your program
If you withdraw from your study, you give up your place in that program altogether. So if you then wished to return to the same program after some time out, you would need to
re-apply for admission. This is a major step to take, and if you are considering this option you are strongly advised to talk with your faculty academic staff, advisors and the various student support services available to you. Make sure you leave properly. Fails instead of Withdrawals, outstanding fee or library debts, etc may make it more difficult to return to University, to enrol elsewhere, or to qualify for Austudy payments if you return to study in the future. If you are leaving study, and don't have employment to go to, check out what assistance may be available to you at your local Centrelink.

International Students and visa requirements
If you are an international student you may not be able to study part-time or remain in Australia if you take a leave of absence. It is vital for you to check your options with your faculty/college, scholarship or program coordinator, Student Administration, and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection being aware you may need to apply for an extension of your student visa and electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) if your course of study is delayed.



3. Administrative process after making a decision

Whatever you decide, it is important to follow the appropriate procedures so that you are able to re-enrol at ANU or elsewhere at a later date. If you have reached the point where you think you will leave your study, either temporarily or permanently, follow through the checklist below to make sure you have completed all the necessary stages. Forgetting to do any of these can cause a lot of hassles for you in the future!

click here for checklist


Have you:

  • Been to Student Administration and
    • Completed and submitted an any necessary hard-copy forms or processes on ISIS?
    • Found out the closing dates for reapplying if you decide that this is what you wish to do?
    • Obtained a copy of all your results to date?
    • Asked about fee refunds?
    • Ensured they have your most recent address?
  • Notified Centrelink if applicable of your decision and filled out the relevant forms?
  • Paid all outstanding debts and library fines?
  • Kept all the appropriate records of your study?



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