Emily Yates, a recent graduate from the University of Bath and Founder of Graduate and Grow (Instagram: @graduateandgrow) discusses what to do when you're thinking about changing your degree.
After months of applications, research and counting down the days before arriving at university, it can be confusing to arrive and be unhappy with your course. While changing to another course is not particularly encouraged, it is possible if you’re certain it’s the right decision and your university allows you to. I changed my course when I arrived at the University of Bath, and these are my top tips if you’re thinking about doing the same:
Research, research, research. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the course you’d like to change to and the process of changing your degree. Crucially, this will help you solidify whether you’re making a split-second decision or if this is something you’re very keen on. You’ll need to be prepared to talk about why you want to change your degree, and if you don’t have a solid reason, you might want to reassess.
You’ll also need to know about any collateral changes- e.g. would you be changing from a placement year to a year abroad? Are your assessments going to change? Do you meet the entry requirements?
Know the advantages and disadvantages
Making a list of pros and cons will help you with the step above, too. Split your page into two and write down everything you can think of- from whether you’d prefer the modules on the new course to whether you think you’d do better in assessments. Does one outweigh the other? It’ll likely be a combination of reasons that makes you cement your decision to change your course, but you can also take this list of reasons with you if and when you formally decide to change courses.
Talk to others
Speak to friends and family about your decision! Others might offer you reasoned advice, and make you think about things differently. You might also know someone who changed courses who can tell you about their experience. Speaking to friends and family will also give you an opportunity to voice your concerns about your current course, and why you want to change. If they aren’t convinced by your reasons, you might want to think about whether your reasons for changing are for the long term.
Organise a meeting
When you’ve researched changing your course and thought about the pros and cons, email your tutors or lecturers to talk to them about the situation. They’re not going to be offended, they ultimately just want you to be happy at university and to make the right decision for you. They’ll offer you advice, and they will know people who have done the same. They will likely suggest other people for you to talk to, and they’ll tell you about the formal process behind changing courses. Knowing more about what will happen will definitely help you feel less stressed.
It’s really important to make sure that the change you want to make is feasible. If you want to change departments, this is generally more difficult as you might not meet the requirements. If you’re swapping your course to another in your department, then of course you not only need to meet the requirements but have good reason to do so. That said, changing degrees was the best decision I could have made in my first year! Always remember that how you go about making a change is going to differ between universities, but as long as you are well-informed and prepared to talk, you should be able to make a positive difference.