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When is it Okay to Switch Uni Courses?

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For many university students, finally making it to the start of their first semester is a thrilling time!

All that hard work has paid off, and you’re about to embark on the very first steps of your adult life – exciting!

But what happens if you get through your first semester and realise the course you’re on isn’t right for you? What do you do?

Reasons You Might Want to Change Courses

Choosing your course of study will be a very personal decision. This might be based on a range of factors:

  • You did well in a similar subject at school.
  • You enjoyed studying the subject at a lower level and want to continue.
  • You think it will lead to good job prospects.
  • Your teacher/parent/friends suggested it would be a good course for you.
  • You like the idea of the course and what it might involve.

Just as the reasons for choosing a particular course of study are personal, so are the reasons for deciding you might want to change. This could include:

  • Realising the course isn’t what you thought it was after starting study.
  • Finding it harder, confusing and less enjoyable than you anticipated.
  • Getting a taste of another course through your electives and realising you’d rather study that.
  • Feeling uncertain about what the course will lead to.
  • You’re moving or changing study locations, and your chosen course isn’t available.

Why It’s Okay to Change Courses

After spending so much time planning and thinking about what to study, it’s totally normal to feel disheartened about not loving your course.

But you shouldn’t let this stop you from taking the positive steps forward to make the change and find what you’re really passionate about.

Many students worry if they change courses, they’ll set themselves back – and while this might be true in the short term, you’ll reap the benefits in the long term.

There are many benefits to changing your course if you’ve decided it’s not right for you:

  • You can still gain credit for some of the units you’ve already completed.
  • You’ll be more likely to succeed and achieve good results if you’re studying something you’re interested in and passionate about.
  • You’ll feel less stressed about whether you’re doing the right thing.
  • You’ll meet new classmates who are passionate like you (meaning you’ll feel more like you fit in and are part of the university experience).
  • You can feel more optimistic about your future career prospects.

Things to Consider if You Want to Change Course

Depending on how far into the semester you are, it can be relatively easy or a bit more difficult to change courses – but it is never impossible,

If you know this is something you want to do or you’re on the fence about it, here are a few things you need to consider:

1.Census Dates

Census date is the last day in the semester you can choose to un-enrol in a unit without academic penalty or unit fees. Census dates change each semester, but they are typically around the third week.

If you decide to change courses, it’s worth considering whether the census date has passed. If it has, you’ll need to pay for the units you’ve enrolled in and failing to participate could lead to a Fail on your academic transcript.

If this is the case, speak to an academic advisor who can let you know the earliest point you can change courses and whether the units you’ve studied can still contribute towards your required credit points.

2. University Procedure

If you want to change courses to study at a different university, you’ll need to speak to advisors at both universities to find out their process.

Some universities will not allow you to transfer directly between their courses, and you may have to go through the process of applying again and enrolling in the units when the new semester starts.

This might mean a bit of a delay in continuing your studies, but this is a small price to pay to ensure you’re on the right track.

3. Your Reasons

Make sure you spend some time reflecting on your reasons for wanting to change courses. Ask yourself whether it’s the course that you’re not getting on with or university in general?

University isn’t for everyone, and there is no shame in realising this a semester in. There are many fantastic ways to get ahead that don’t require a degree. It might be worth exploring these instead.

Make the Switch

If it’s right for you and you feel in your gut that the course you’re on isn’t where you want to be – make the switch.

You’ll be spending the next four years (or more!) dedicated to this pathway. Make sure it’s the very best one for you.


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