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3 things to consider before changing degrees or courses

Are you asking yourself, 'should I change degrees?'

You’ve chosen your degree, enrolled in your classes, and begun the journey on your study path. But as you time goes on; you hear the little voice inside your head saying – ‘did I make the right decision?’ Perhaps you realise your interest area lies elsewhere, or maybe it just doesn’t feel like the right fit for you. Whatever the reason, you might find yourself wondering, ‘should I change degrees?’.

So, what are your options? Can you change degrees in university? Alternatively, if you are happy with your chosen degree, but want to change your specialisation area, can you change your major in university? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding, yes! Before you dive straight in though, here are three things to consider before changing degrees and courses.

1. Are you changing for the right reasons?

Before you change bachelor degree or your major, make sure you identify the reasons that led you to this decision. Although changing your major or degree is completely doable, ensuring you are making the change under the right circumstances and for the right reasons is important.

Is study life overwhelming?

Keeping up with the demands of study life can be a learning curve, especially if you are new to university. If you are changing your major (or degree) because you are feeling a bit out of your depth in your current study choice, don't be afraid to reach out for support before making the switch. And know that you aren't the first person to feel this way!  

At USQ, we have the experience and study support options to help you a tackle any roadblocks you encounter along the way. If it’s assessment support you need, we offer resources to help you with assignments and exam preparation. If you want to improve your research skills, we can teach you how to find and evaluative information, as well as give you referencing tips along the way. We also offer the opportunity to engage in peer assisted group study sessions with our free program PASS. These are only a few examples of the study support options we have available to help you along the way!

Is the timing off? 

Is it your current degree/course that is leaving you feeling uncertain, or is it perhaps study itself? Studying while juggling other aspects of life can be tricky. Reflect on your current situation – are you in the midst of a big life change? Maybe you’re relocating, becoming a parent, starting a new job, or re-evaluating a relationship? All the highs and lows of life play a big part in our energy levels and can create a shift in our priorities. If you need to reduce your mental load at this point in your life, consider taking advantage of any available flexible study options. Switch to online mode so you can study when and where you want, reduce the number of courses for a semester, or if you need to, take a short break from study.  

At USQ, more than 75% of our students are over the age of 25. So we understand how important it is that study be accessible and flexible so that it’s possible in amongst life’s competing priorities. Study should fit into your life, not the other way around, and with so many ways to study with USQ, you can make a balanced lifestyle a reality.

2. Are you aware of the implications of changing?

Deciding to change bachelor degree or your major can be a big step. Before you make the switch, it’s important to arm yourself with the knowledge and understanding of what this change can impact.

Financial considerations

When making a degree or course change, timing is essential. All universities have a specific deadline each semester called a census date, which is the last day you can withdraw from a course without incurring fees. Ensure you consider this key date before making changes to your enrolment, as you may be better off finishing the semester than making a change after census and incurring fees. It’s worth keeping in mind that if you are wanting to change bachelor degree, you may be able to get credits or exemptions for previously completed courses that are relevant to your new degree, so make sure you ask these questions.

Another financial detail to be mindful of is specific course fees. The cost of a degree will vary (sometimes significantly) depending on the discipline (area of study) you choose, so ensure you check the fees for your new degree so you are aware of any potential fee changes.

Academic impacts

Similar to fees, each university sets a date each semester indicating the last day to drop a course without academic penalty. If you drop a course or discontinue your enrolment after this specified date, this will be reflected on your academic record and impact your Grade Point Average (GPA). Remember that your GPA will come into play when applying for entry into another degree so it is critical that you do your research in this space and are fully informed. Again, it would also be beneficial to explore your credit or exemption options before making any official moves.

3. Are you clear on your new study path?

Study is an investment into your future. You don’t buy a car before researching to make sure a particular model will serve your needs, and a university degree is no different. If you decide to change bachelor degree or similarly, if you are changing your major, it’s important to be informed before making the switch.

Play to your strengths

Consider your abilities and natural talents. Does your new study path take these into account? Quite often your natural abilities will align with your passion, so it pays to take some time to self-reflect and be aware of your strengths. A good part of your life is spent working, so ensuring your career goals align with your interests is a smart way to invest into the happiness and job satisfaction of your future self.

Career goals

What’s your ideal end game? Will this new study path set you on the right trajectory towards your career goals, whatever they may be? It’s important to look at big picture. If you need some guidance, make sure you reach out for advice. Our USQ Careers & Employability team is a great first point of contact. Providing individualised career advice and facilitating valuable goal setting and career mapping activities, they can help set you on the right track.

Making the change

So you’ve come to a decision. You’ve crossed your t’s and dotted you i's and made the choice to change bachelor degree or your specialisation area. No worries! Making the switch earlier rather than later will benefit your future career, not to mention your overall wellbeing. Know that in the long-term you’ll be better off for it.

It may feel disappointing knowing you invested time and energy into a particular course or degree, only to then change direction. However, as the old saying goes, life is a journey. Through the high’s and low’s and in-betweens, we keep growing, learning and moving forward. Never think that your original study choice was all for nothing. It’s easy to underestimate the value of transferable skills. Wait...what? Well, just as the words suggest, transferable skills are skills that you can transfer from one situation to another. All those assignments you completed? Well, those helped to build your research, written communication, time management and critical thinking skills. The group assessments? Teamwork, leadership, flexibility and cooperation skills. All these skills are applicable to every study path and work setting. So, rest assured, this experience will have helped you more than you think. Being able to identify and capitalise on your transferable skills will give you a boost when beginning your new study path.

How to change your major

Changing your major, but not sure where to start? Thankfully, changing your major or specialisation is a relatively straightforward process. If you are a USQ student, you will be able to make any changes to your enrolment via our student portal, UConnect. Don’t forget there is support available to help you through this study transition if you need. Before you make this change, contact our Student Support team for information around your specific circumstances.

How to change your degree

If you are a current domestic student at USQ and wish to change your degree, in most cases you can apply directly with USQ via our online application portal. Before applying, we recommend reaching out to our USQ support team to discuss possible exemptions/credits.

While it may feel overwhelming to make a change, take solace in the knowing that you aren’t the first one to experience a change of heart and you won’t be the last. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t on this journey alone. No matter what study obstacles you face, at USQ, we’re here to work alongside you and keep you on the track to success.