You were so sure about your university course when you picked it. You were absolutely confident you had found the right course for you, the subject that you wanted to study, and you had a clear vision in mind for your future career path.

Then, reality bites. You head off to university, engage in your first few semesters of work, and you realise that your course isn’t what you expected. You’re not enjoying it; you’re not engaging with it– and you come to the conclusion that you just plain don’t want to do it anymore. This situation can happen at any educational level, from your BA through to your PhD, and there’s no doubt it’s a horrible circumstance to find yourself in.

So, let’s dig down deeper: what can you do if you decide that your university course isn’t right for you?

Step One: Identify The Problem

First and foremost, you have to figure out if the issue is the course subject, the course itself, or the entire university. This will help guide your next direction. If you’re loving uni life outside of the course, then it’s likely the subject is to blame. If, however, you’re finding uni life in general very difficult, then it might be the institution itself.

Step Two: Find Your New Focus

If you still want to obtain a degree, but in a different subject, you need to have a strong idea in mind of what you might want to do instead. If you want to move from a PhD in theoretical physics to astronomy, this is a fairly easy switch, and you should be able to transfer your existing credits.

If, however, you want to move into a radically different field — such as from history to studying business — then you may not be able to transfer credits already earned. You will have to start the process again, which is daunting, but worth it if you’re sure your current chosen career isn’t for you.

Step Three: Investigate Your Options

If you’re transitioning from maths to physics, then a switch might be possible. You will have to talk to your tutors and see what they suggest; you may be able to transfer in the same academic year, and keep your credits.

If you’re studying for an art masters and have decided you want to switch to engineering, life is more difficult. Such a radical change is unlikely to be accepted by your university, so you might want to explore options such as undertaking a Masters of Engineering Management through distance learning. This does mean that you won’t be able to carry credits already earned, but at least it will put you on the right path, and it’s especially useful if your BA is not particularly relevant to the Masters/PhD you want to study.

Step Four: Think Very Seriously

In a moment of annoyance with your current path, you may find the idea of switching your course very tempting. You have to give yourself time to make this decision; at least a couple of weeks is best. If, at the end of this contemplation period, you find yourself as determined as ever to make the switch, then it’s probably the right choice for you.


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