The prospect of changing your degree comes with a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, and it’s an extremely difficult challenge to be faced with. One thing you can be sure of is that you are not alone in feeling this way. It is estimated that one in five university students fail to finish the degree that they initially began. It is especially a problem amongst students who have got onto their course through clearing. However, 50% of students who feel uncertain about their course are just in need of reassurance due to the difficult jump from A-levels to university and they settle in with time.
If you’re still in the ‘maybe’ pile of deciding whether to switch your course, there are a few ways you can make the decision easier. This includes writing a list of pros and cons, or talking to people who know you best such as family members and close friends. It’s important to do your research before changing course. However, if you’re one of the students who definitely does need to change their course then here are some tips to put your mind at ease and make the transition an easy one.
First of all, it’s time to put those worries surrounding changing your course to bed. The first and most prominent worry that students tend to have surrounding changing their course is ‘losing’ a year. This is one of the reasons why you should act quickly if there’s still time because you don’t necessarily need to ‘lose’ a year at all. However, if it’s too late to change your course without having to retake the year then you shouldn’t worry because, in the grand scheme of things, one year really doesn’t matter. If you’re really struggling academically then it will ultimately be the best decision you ever made because it will be the difference between a happy and unhappy university life. The long-term issue of changing your course is minute when compared to the short-term happiness that studying a course you love would bring.
Another common worry is the financial cost that will be incurred if you retake a year. It’s important to discuss the cost which will be incurred with your personal tutor as it varies for everyone. However, finance is available for another year from Student Loans for people who have decided to change their course. It’s important you notify Student Loans about any changes you are making.
Once these worries are put to bed, there are certain steps you need to take if you still want to change your course. First of all, you need to go and speak to your personal tutor. They will be able to talk through your thoughts with you and will most likely point you towards the admissions team of your preferred department. There is no guarantee you will be able to change onto your selected course as it may be full or you may not meet the entry requirements. However, if you can then you should ask to attend some of the lectures and speak to other students on the course so you can really get a feel for whether you will enjoy it or not.
If you want to change universities then you usually have to apply via UCAS, or sometimes directly. It’s best to visit the university first so you can decide whether you will enjoy it more than you enjoy your current situation.
Making these big decisions is a very stressful time and you should contact the university counsellor to get some support. They will likely have seen someone in your position countless times and they’ll be able to offer you direction on how to deal with the issue. Whatever you do, don’t worry, help is at hand and it will always work out.