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Settling in at university and dealing with the transition from high school to university can be difficult for many students. It can be even harder to adjust when you can’t shake the feeling that the course, you’re studying is just not the one for you. So, you’ve finished an entire semester at university or the whole year and after careful considerations, you’ve fully convinced that this is not the qualification for you, what now? You’re feeling more confident about the course that’s suitable for you but how do you go about that changing courses?
There are so many things to think about when making this decision, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are a few things to consider when making this change:
The big Why? Why do you want to switch courses?
This question is really important as you have to interrogate yourself and have a solid answer before you can answer your student advisors, parents, friends, sponsors etc. People can have different reasons for this change. For e.g., in terms of longevity, you perhaps don’t see yourself in a certain field and industry as it doesn’t align with your passions. Perhaps your interests have dramatically changed and you’ve realized that you’re more into theatre and performance rather than finance or vice versa.
It could also be as simple as gaining more confidence in owning up to your decision and having that conversation. In other words, you’ve always known since high school what you wanted to study but you were too afraid of the reactions of those around you so you just went with the obvious choice, but now you’re fully ready to make a decision that is best for yourself.
Research the new course
It is important to do thorough research on the course you want to switch to because you want to avoid disappointments as much as possible. You could try attending some of the lectures of the new courses, asking questions to the students that are enrolled to gauge expectations. Google job listing websites and see what kind of career prospects are available and how much you could possibly earn.
Switching your degree can set your graduation date back, sometimes by years, which can add more debt to your student loan. A move between faculties can also result in lost credits, a compromised scholarship and an increase in university fees. Before you make a decision, consider the financial setback this might have and whether you’re willing to go through with the decision regardless.
Secondly, if you have a bursary, you might need to confirm whether they can cover this change. For instance, if you’re with a bursary that solely covers Commerce/Accounting courses – it’s highly unlikely to cover your tuition if you want to switch to Health Sciences.
Visit the student/faculty office
Each institution will operate differently and have its own process. But generally, the best start is to approach your faculty and they can provide guidance on who you need to speak to, what department to approach, where to get forms to fill in etc.
Entry requirements and credit transfers
Do you meet the entry requirements of the course? Irrespective of the fact that you might have been accepted in your previous qualification, entry requirements may differ which is why you need to check. You may need a higher APS (Admission Point Score). Secondly, depending on the course you want to change to, you may be able to transfer credits for some of the courses you’ve done. But if the course you want to enroll in is extremely different, this might be a challenge.
Paperwork – Fill the relevant forms to officiate the switch
You will have to fill in a form that will ask you which course you’d like to switch to and why. Once again depending on the process of your institution, these will be available at the relevant faculty office. It can take a couple of days to weeks to finalize everything. Consult your academic advisor or student support office if you’re unsure where to get the form.
Please note that there isn’t a single formula for everybody who wishes to change their course – the outcomes will vary and is dependent on the respective institution involved and your academic performance. The above are only a few guidelines and some may not be necessary for all.
The most important takeaway is that changing your course isn’t an impossible task and doesn’t have to be daunting. As long as you’re confident that the change you want to make is right for you and your future.