The Student Room Group

considering dropping out of sixth form - advice, please?

(hoping this is correct category.)

i imagine this question has popped up a lot, but every thread i have seen has not given me a whole lots of information.

note: i have been thinking about this for some time - this is no sudden impulse decision.

i am in sixth form, now year 13, carrying on a-level computer science, german, modern history. i want to take a career path in modern foreign languages preferrably, but a job in something computer-science related is something i have considered. (just NOT history, as much as i enjoy it!!)

i will admit, sixth form is pleasant. i have many friends there and the atmosphere is nice! but, my physical and mental health is quite poor, and sixth form is definitely impacting that - there’s too much stress on my hands from the work i have to do and sixth form is a 40 minute walk + up a hill from my house, all of it puts strain on me and causes me to feel faint. its impacting my attendance, work and lifestyle heavy. it has been difficult to push through year 12, too. therefore, im considering a dropping out.
i have some main issues:
- how this would affect my future. i have seen there is other routes i can take (eg. apprenticeships), but a-levels and uni degrees seem to be what is looked out for.
- explaining this idea to the sixth form and people close to me (family, friends). both sides understand that i have these issues, but still seem judgemental about my time off and they would definitely attempt to convince me to stay. i fear also that they will not be happy with this choice, especially my mom who wants the best for me.
- when to do this. i have seen that education is needed until the age of 18: my 18. birthday is in April. so, would i have to wait until my birthday passes? can i drop out earlier, as long as i take a different route in education? im not sure if i can wait until April even if that sounds impatient. that would be 6 months of more stress building up.

hopefully i have covered everything that might be possibly needed. if not i can answer questions that rise.what do you all think? would it be sensible to drop out? if so, how would i get over the main issues - if not, what should i do in place?

please and thank you in advance..!!
(edited 1 year ago)
Hello! as daunting as it may feel- if you have managed Y12, I believe in your abilities to push through this year.
It would be such a shame to waste such a difficult 1st year to have nothing to show for all your hard work at the end of it!

I would argue you should try some new approaches, and plan out your week with timetables etc, and make sure you use every single free- to give you an idea of how much time you've got, and where you can find free time to get your work done. Speak to your subject teachers, or a form tutor if you have one, they may have very good advice on time management, stress, and future prospects. Making and finding time- then using it carefully and not procrastinating once you've found it- is the best advice I can give- it seems overwhelming until you find all the little chunks of time hidden within your week to get things done.
Try this new approach until christmas, and if you're still feeling swamped- then seriously speak to your family/tutors on the prospect of dropping out.

However, if you want a career in MFL, or are considering something computer-science related, these A-levels are likely your best shot at it, as they are a very niche collection of different interests that may be unlikely to be collated into something like an apprenticeship.

on the physical stress of getting to college every day- maybe allow yourself an extra 20 minutes to do it- make it a nicer walk, get some music and a coffee, and allow it to be a calm and relaxed start to your day!

I would also say- Don't worry about the education about 18 thing- it isn't really real. It's more of a way (from what I've seen with my friends) to make sure kids aren't leaving high-school at 16 with 0 prospects or work. The council aren't going to come knocking on your door and getting you signed back up to some alternative education, it just isn't kept track of.

GOODLUCK! I am sure you can do it
Original post by johnstkm21
Hello! as daunting as it may feel- if you have managed Y12, I believe in your abilities to push through this year.
It would be such a shame to waste such a difficult 1st year to have nothing to show for all your hard work at the end of it!

I would argue you should try some new approaches, and plan out your week with timetables etc, and make sure you use every single free- to give you an idea of how much time you've got, and where you can find free time to get your work done. Speak to your subject teachers, or a form tutor if you have one, they may have very good advice on time management, stress, and future prospects. Making and finding time- then using it carefully and not procrastinating once you've found it- is the best advice I can give- it seems overwhelming until you find all the little chunks of time hidden within your week to get things done.
Try this new approach until christmas, and if you're still feeling swamped- then seriously speak to your family/tutors on the prospect of dropping out.

However, if you want a career in MFL, or are considering something computer-science related, these A-levels are likely your best shot at it, as they are a very niche collection of different interests that may be unlikely to be collated into something like an apprenticeship.

on the physical stress of getting to college every day- maybe allow yourself an extra 20 minutes to do it- make it a nicer walk, get some music and a coffee, and allow it to be a calm and relaxed start to your day!

I would also say- Don't worry about the education about 18 thing- it isn't really real. It's more of a way (from what I've seen with my friends) to make sure kids aren't leaving high-school at 16 with 0 prospects or work. The council aren't going to come knocking on your door and getting you signed back up to some alternative education, it just isn't kept track of.

GOODLUCK! I am sure you can do it


so grateful to get a response!!

i will definitely give the timetable thing a look at, at least after my half term since this is my last week before that.

it might be tough to push to christmas, but this is something i can attempt too.

i will keep the MFL/computer science A-level stuff in mind…! i did look at the government apprenticeship page, and found very little for those sort of subjects in my area, so yeah i assume finding an apprenticeship for something like those is difficult.

the walk thing. i could do that! i listen to some music already which is one of the things that help me. i cannot have coffee due to medical reasons ): but i can definitely have some tea for the journey in placement.

good to hear the „education to 18” is a myth - i was stressed that if i did decide to drop out, i would have to wait 6 months to do that or immediate find a different route as soon as i drop out.

thank you so much! i appreciate the help and advice you have given to me 🙏
Reply 3
Original post by belajuanina
(hoping this is correct category.)

i imagine this question has popped up a lot, but every thread i have seen has not given me a whole lots of information.

note: i have been thinking about this for some time - this is no sudden impulse decision.

i am in sixth form, now year 13, carrying on a-level computer science, german, modern history. i want to take a career path in modern foreign languages preferrably, but a job in something computer-science related is something i have considered. (just NOT history, as much as i enjoy it!!)

i will admit, sixth form is pleasant. i have many friends there and the atmosphere is nice! but, my physical and mental health is quite poor, and sixth form is definitely impacting that - there’s too much stress on my hands from the work i have to do and sixth form is a 40 minute walk + up a hill from my house, all of it puts strain on me and causes me to feel faint. its impacting my attendance, work and lifestyle heavy. it has been difficult to push through year 12, too. therefore, im considering a dropping out.
i have some main issues:
- how this would affect my future. i have seen there is other routes i can take (eg. apprenticeships), but a-levels and uni degrees seem to be what is looked out for.
- explaining this idea to the sixth form and people close to me (family, friends). both sides understand that i have these issues, but still seem judgemental about my time off and they would definitely attempt to convince me to stay. i fear also that they will not be happy with this choice, especially my mom who wants the best for me.
- when to do this. i have seen that education is needed until the age of 18: my 18. birthday is in April. so, would i have to wait until my birthday passes? can i drop out earlier, as long as i take a different route in education? im not sure if i can wait until April even if that sounds impatient. that would be 6 months of more stress building up.

hopefully i have covered everything that might be possibly needed. if not i can answer questions that rise.what do you all think? would it be sensible to drop out? if so, how would i get over the main issues - if not, what should i do in place?

please and thank you in advance..!!

It really doesn't sound like the best idea to be honest. You say yourself that there are a lot of positives - you have friends and enjoy the atmosphere, and seem to enjoy your subjects. If you drop out you risk being isolated and lonely. If you complete your A levels you have a lot more options open to you - apprenticeship, university or taking time out to work out what you want to do. At the moment you are looking at wasting the work you have already put in, leaving with no alternative in place. You will struggle to make your family accept that this is a good decision, because it isn't.

From your post, the journey to sixth form seems to be a major issue. Could you not find a gentler (perhaps longer) route as johnstkm21 suggests, look for a bus, consider cycling, buy a cheap scooter and have lessons, or ask it your parents/friends could help with lifts now and again. If you were working, a 40-minute door to door commute would be considered easy, and you need to work out practical ways to manage this before you start to look at a job/apprenticeships - they will require good attendance, and are going to be far less understanding of lateness than a sixth form college. If your physical health/medical condition impacts on your ability to get to sixth form, raise it with your college to see if there is any practical assistance they can offer. Again, if you feel you have anxiety or mental health concerns, go and discuss this with you GP to get help. Sixth form can be stressful, but so is work and life, and learning to manage this will help you going forward.

I hope things work out for you. Getting "education fatigue" is pretty common: by 17 people have been stuck in compulsory education for a very long time, and the attraction of stepping away from this can be considerable. However, to leave an environment where you have friends and are enjoying and coping with the work should not be done lightly, especially as you will have so many more options if you can solve the practical problems you are facing now.
Hi, is it possible that your school will offer online learning/distance learning? If so then there's an opportunity for you to continue your education without dropping out. I do agree with johnstkm21 as that's some genuinely good advice. I am restting year 13 as i struggled with my mental health as well as procrastination last year and there's no shame in that.

good luck!!
Original post by marple
It really doesn't sound like the best idea to be honest. You say yourself that there are a lot of positives - you have friends and enjoy the atmosphere, and seem to enjoy your subjects. If you drop out you risk being isolated and lonely. If you complete your A levels you have a lot more options open to you - apprenticeship, university or taking time out to work out what you want to do. At the moment you are looking at wasting the work you have already put in, leaving with no alternative in place. You will struggle to make your family accept that this is a good decision, because it isn't.

From your post, the journey to sixth form seems to be a major issue. Could you not find a gentler (perhaps longer) route as johnstkm21 suggests, look for a bus, consider cycling, buy a cheap scooter and have lessons, or ask it your parents/friends could help with lifts now and again. If you were working, a 40-minute door to door commute would be considered easy, and you need to work out practical ways to manage this before you start to look at a job/apprenticeships - they will require good attendance, and are going to be far less understanding of lateness than a sixth form college. If your physical health/medical condition impacts on your ability to get to sixth form, raise it with your college to see if there is any practical assistance they can offer. Again, if you feel you have anxiety or mental health concerns, go and discuss this with you GP to get help. Sixth form can be stressful, but so is work and life, and learning to manage this will help you going forward.

I hope things work out for you. Getting "education fatigue" is pretty common: by 17 people have been stuck in compulsory education for a very long time, and the attraction of stepping away from this can be considerable. However, to leave an environment where you have friends and are enjoying and coping with the work should not be done lightly, especially as you will have so many more options if you can solve the practical problems you are facing now.


some of the journey aspect is a bit of an issue - the buses to and from my sixth form has major issues (overcrowding, arriving late etc. this concern should be sorted soon though i hope), the only other route i can think of is up flights of very steep stairs and unfortunately, with practice included, i am bad at cycling. but! i can question about the scooter idea, this could be something i can look in to (if family agrees). my family is very busy and cannot give me lifts but some friends has also been able to give me lifts every now and then, which i am very thankful.

thank you so much! i hope everything i have written makes sense. i will really give it my shot on pushing through..!
Original post by theblondemo
Hi, is it possible that your school will offer online learning/distance learning? If so then there's an opportunity for you to continue your education without dropping out. I do agree with johnstkm21 as that's some genuinely good advice. I am restting year 13 as i struggled with my mental health as well as procrastination last year and there's no shame in that.

good luck!!


hello! (:

good question, i might enquire on this if im still struggling with the suggestions from everyone else in the thread so far.

good luck with resitting year 13!!
Original post by belajuanina
(hoping this is correct category.)

i imagine this question has popped up a lot, but every thread i have seen has not given me a whole lots of information.

note: i have been thinking about this for some time - this is no sudden impulse decision.

i am in sixth form, now year 13, carrying on a-level computer science, german, modern history. i want to take a career path in modern foreign languages preferrably, but a job in something computer-science related is something i have considered. (just NOT history, as much as i enjoy it!!)

i will admit, sixth form is pleasant. i have many friends there and the atmosphere is nice! but, my physical and mental health is quite poor, and sixth form is definitely impacting that - there’s too much stress on my hands from the work i have to do and sixth form is a 40 minute walk + up a hill from my house, all of it puts strain on me and causes me to feel faint. its impacting my attendance, work and lifestyle heavy. it has been difficult to push through year 12, too. therefore, im considering a dropping out.
i have some main issues:
- how this would affect my future. i have seen there is other routes i can take (eg. apprenticeships), but a-levels and uni degrees seem to be what is looked out for.
- explaining this idea to the sixth form and people close to me (family, friends). both sides understand that i have these issues, but still seem judgemental about my time off and they would definitely attempt to convince me to stay. i fear also that they will not be happy with this choice, especially my mom who wants the best for me.
- when to do this. i have seen that education is needed until the age of 18: my 18. birthday is in April. so, would i have to wait until my birthday passes? can i drop out earlier, as long as i take a different route in education? im not sure if i can wait until April even if that sounds impatient. that would be 6 months of more stress building up.

hopefully i have covered everything that might be possibly needed. if not i can answer questions that rise.what do you all think? would it be sensible to drop out? if so, how would i get over the main issues - if not, what should i do in place?

please and thank you in advance..!!


I honestly think you should stay. I had an awful time in sixth form and i really struggle. I was even advised to not apply to university because of it. For me, if i had left that would have had a negative impact. Ignoring all of the future and academic things, if i had stopped at sixth form i would always feel like a quitter. I would probably have struggled to do anything else as you create this big thing about doing things in your head. Or at least i would have. An apprenticeship is a greta option but many apprenticeships still want a levels. If you feel faint from the walk are you eating and sleeping enough? I definitely wasn't in sixth form. Can you car share with anyone to make the journey easier. (Like walk 20 mins then get in a car for example). If you want a career with modern foreign languages i think you'd struggle to find an apprenticeship. I think you should speak to your school (especially if there's a welfare officer). They might be able to put things in place to make things easier.

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