Help! I was unable to complete my studies

Did you go to school, college or university but were unable to complete your studies?

In this article we explore your options when applying for jobs if you did not manage to complete your studies.

1. Take the positives from the situation

This is a problem that many people face in Zambia. They go to school, college or university but are unable to complete their studies for a number of reasons. These reasons could include a lack of funds, a change in circumstances or ill health. Whatever your reason you will probably have learnt lots during your studies so do not exclude this experience when applying for jobs. Instead, take the positives from your experiences and briefly explain why you were unable to complete.

2. Check if you were awarded a qualification

Sometimes courses are structured so that a qualification is awarded on completion of each year. For example, you may gain a certificate for completion of your first year, a diploma for completion of your second year, a degree for completion of your third year etc. If you did receive a qualification simply include this on your CV. If you are unsure as to whether you received a qualification contact the college or university and ask them to clarify the situation.

3. What to do if you were not awarded a qualification

If you were not awarded any form of qualification then there are still a number of options available to you. For example, you write something such as:

  • 2012-14 {insert university name}, BA (Hons) Subject, completed first and second years {unable to finish due to funding issues};

or if you are hoping to return to university to complete your degree in the future you could write something such as:

  • 2012-14 {insert university name}, BA (Hons) Subject, pending completion of final year {postponed due to ill health in family};

You may also want to include a list of modules that you did complete – especially if this is relevant to the role that you are applying for.


Remember that your CV is an advertisement of your skills and experience so whatever you choose to say try to make it sound positive. Also, remember that qualification requirements are often just one of a number of requirements stipulated in a job advertisement. If you do not meet all of the educational requirements stipulated in the job advertisement focus on the other requirements and clearly show how you meet as many of these other requirements as possible.

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Further Information

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