Monday, 06 March 2023 15:04

What To Do After Dropping Out of College in Singapore

By  Kim Danielle

In many parts of the world, earning a university diploma is still widely thought of as the quickest and surest path to a successful career in most fields. However, the truth is that a university education isn’t for everyone. It’s fairly common, in fact, for young adults to try out college for a few years and decide they’d rather not complete their programme of study. People eventually elect to drop out of university for many reasons, such as being unable to cope with academic stressors, struggling with health or financial constraints, or simply discovering another calling elsewhere.

There’s no denying that dropping out carries a certain stigma in many cultures, particularly those that place a high premium on academic achievement, like Singapore. However, if you’ve explored your options thoroughly and made what you think is the best choice for yourself, then there’s no reason to let others’ premature judgments get you down. Despite what many people think, it’s also entirely possible to build a fulfilling career without a university degree.

Of course, even if you are confident in your decision, the immediate aftermath of dropping out can feel confusing and overwhelming. You may be wondering what to do next or where to go from here. If that’s where you are right now, never fear—this handy guide is here to help you find your way forward.

Build Your Skill Set

It’s both healthy and useful to keep learning and picking up new skills throughout your life, and getting a university degree certainly isn’t the only way for you to learn new things. Now that your studies are no longer monopolising your attention, consider learning a new language, picking old hobbies and interests back up and even trying activities that you’ve never tried before. If there’s a particular skill you’ve always been curious about learning, whether it’s dancing, graphic design, coding or something else, now is the perfect time to explore it.

It may be especially productive for you to look into certification courses, seminars and other upskilling opportunities you can take advantage of. Simply run a search online, and you’ll find plenty of part-time and full-time courses on offer from the government and from private organisations. The SkillsFuture credit courses offered by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) are a popular part-time course option for professionals of all ages and backgrounds.

Learning new skills doesn’t have to drain your bank account dry, either. If you can’t afford to take in-person certification courses, there are plenty of free or inexpensively priced online courses available on a wide range of subjects. Taking your learning journey online also means that you can study in your own time from the comfort of your own home.

Start Looking for Jobs

Unfortunately, leaving university doesn’t free you from financial responsibility. You’ll still have to find a way to make ends meet, and you may also have outstanding student loans to pay off. Getting a job is also an opportunity for you to dive headfirst into the “real world” after spending so many years within the school system. Your first job hunt will teach you all sorts of life skills that will be essential to have in your pocket for the rest of your career, such as putting together a good resume, writing a cover letter, participating in interviews and so on.

Getting a part-time job is also a good way to start bringing in some money while you’re still thinking about what types of full-time employment to pursue. If you’re curious about a specific field but don’t have much prior experience with it, you could also consider applying for an internship. Companies in search of interns tend to be accommodating of applicants without prior knowledge of their industry. Some organisations also offer full-time employment to high-performing interns, so it may be helpful to apply as an intern at companies you’d be interested in working for in the future.

Consider Applying to a Polytechnic or Private University

Public universities in Singapore are recognised as some of the best in the world, which means that the environment at these institutions is highly competitive, fast-paced and often stressful. If your primary reason for dropping out of college had to do with academic stress, consider applying to a private college or a polytechnic university instead. These places offer the opportunity to earn useful academic credentials and study subject matter you’re interested in, but in a more relaxed environment. This change of atmosphere can be life-altering for students who had previously been struggling to excel.

Take a Breather

No matter what your reasons or circumstances might be, dropping out of college is a hard choice to make. You may find yourself feeling exhausted, disappointed or lost upon completing your withdrawal. There’s no shame in simply taking a short break to rest and get your bearings during this critical time. It will ultimately be easier and more productive to think about what to do next when you’re calm and well-rested.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of productive options for people who decide to drop out of university. Once you determine your goals going forward and start thinking carefully through your next steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your dreams.



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