Changing university course: How to change course at university

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Have you realised you want to study something else?  

That’s great!  

But changing university course can be a bit scary, too.  

It’s important to remember that the decision to change university course after first year is common. 

Many students who start university will realise that their interests lie in another course or professional field. 

Below you’ll find some helpful information to guide you in your decision of whether or not changing university course is the right way for you.

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Should I change my course if it doesn’t feel right? 

If you are already asking yourself this question, then the short answer is yes, but keep reading for the longer answer.  

It is completely normal to question whether you have chosen the right university course and to consider switching studies.  

Let me take a few guesses at some of the thoughts you might be having right now. 

It’s too late to change course. 

I’ve spent so much time on this already. 

I’ve spent so much money on this. 

I’ll be years behind everyone else. 

Stop saying no to yourself. 

As the old saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’ – so, you need to hop onto a search engine and do as much research as possible.  

Ask those hard questions, like what will the career look like, what will the day-to-day work be like.  

Then ask yourself: do the answers align with your own goals?

Do not panic if you realise they don’t. 

Time spent acquiring knowledge and skills is never wasted, even if you end up in a career unrelated to your field.  

Instead of spending any longer worrying about whether “it’s too late,” “can I change my university course” or “I should just stick it out,” here’s what you can do… 

How do I go about changing university course?

  • This isn’t an impulsive decision anyone should make after getting disappointing coursework results or having an awkward seminar.

    Take a moment to think whether your struggles with your course have to do with the subject itself, or if you’re just getting burnt out and need a break.

    The best way to figure this out is by exploring other options. Remember, Google and YouTube are your friends.

    Check course outlines on university pages and see if you can find any students studying different subjects who have blogged about their day.

    If something does catch your eye, the first thing you need to do is see if you’d enjoy the realities of being on the course.

    Find out whether you can sit in on a class or seminar on a different course that interests you. Hang around after class to chat with the professors and ask questions.

  • For lots of people, your personal tutor will be your first point of contact at university.

    Drop them an email and see if you can schedule a 1-1 meeting.

    You’ll be able to explain your desire to switch to a different course, and they can help you decide whether it’s a good decision.

    Just getting the opportunity to speak through the process out loud is a huge help.

    They’ll also be able to give you guidance on the next steps.

    You might have a few more meetings with your personal tutor as well as possibly your course tutor as you continue along this process.

  • The exact process and requirements will vary from university to university, as well as from course to course.

    Sometimes you may be required to apply through UCAS, while other times transfers can be handled internally.

    For some, you’ll need to put together an application with a personal statement.

    Don’t be discouraged if your subjects don’t meet the requirements for the course that you’re interested in.

    That’s not an immediate deal breaker, and you can demonstrate any requisite knowledge and skills through the subjects you did take.

    Regardless, the process shouldn’t be any harder than applying for university the first time around!

    Just tackle each requirement step by step, and you’ll be done before you know it.

  • You made it!

    If you transferred in the middle of the year, you may need to hit the books to catch up for the weeks you’ve missed.

    This is also prime time for second-guessing, so avoid ruminating excessively about your decision.

    Trust your own decision-making process and don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.

    Everyone’s education is individual – don’t convince yourself it is a race.

    If you changed courses at the end of the first year, you’ll get to re-do your freshers week and have another opportunity to smash your first year, and fully adapt to university life.

So, is it worth changing university course?

University is the best time to take big risks and be fearless, the best time to do a full 180, completely reinvent yourself and take big leaps.

You’ll meet new people and discover more about yourself.

Most people regret not trying things that seemed too daunting at the time, so push yourself even if it seems scary in the moment.

It’s better to try something brand new than to be left wondering what would have been.

A lot of people don’t work in the same field forever.

Instead, many transfer current skills over to different roles or industries several times over their career.

So, even if you completed a degree that you dislike, or you’re 10 years deep into a field you hate, it’s never too late to change to something that’ll make you happier.

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