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Study abroad : Subject Guides

What to do when your course isn't right for you

Sometimes things are not what you thought they may be, and your university course is no exception to this. Find out more about what you can do if you feel your degree isn’t right for you.

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Picture the scene, you’re halfway into your first year at university, you’ve got to know the area, have made great friends and feel confident around campus. The only problem is, you don’t like the course you’re on. 


For prospective or new students, few thoughts are worse than the idea of going through all this work only to discover that it’s not for you. This is understandable, as the decision to go to university, especially if you’ve moved abroad, is a big one to make. It can be upsetting to discover that you don’t want to do the course you originally decide to apply for. 


If you’ve found yourself in this situation, it can be difficult to know why you feel this way and what to do with it. There are questions you can ask yourself that will really help you understand your thoughts and feelings.  


Do I want to study something else? 


It’s very important to understand whether you’re not enjoying your studies because you’ve found that you would prefer something else or just because the course isn’t what you expected. 


If you realise that it’s the latter, and that there are just certain aspects of the course you aren’t finding engaging, this can be much easier to fix. Your university is there to support you through your whole journey and will be interested to hear why you’re feeling this way. Whether it’s speaking to your lecturers or contacting student support areas, there will always be somewhere for you to go. 


Perhaps you’re not enthusiastic about a particular subject on your course or you’re struggling to work well with a group you’ve been placed in for a big project. No matter what the reason is, your university and lecturers will want to speak to you about it and will probably be able to help in some way. 


It’s also good to keep in mind that on many courses you can pick and drop extra subjects once you get into your second year. This allows you to focus on what you want out of your degree and how you plan on using it going forward into your career. 


Is changing course a possibility for me? 


If you aren’t enjoying your course because you would rather be studying something else, it’s important to speak about this as soon as you come to that realisation.  


The earlier you make your university aware of your wish to change course, the more likely they will be able to help make this change for you.  


Moving to another course is easier if it’s like your original degree because much of the assignments and modules will be the same and therefore transferable. This means that much of what you have already learnt will be useful in your new course. However, if you’re looking at moving a completely different course, there are several things to consider. 


Firstly, if your university can arrange for you to move courses, you may have to catch up with work. This would naturally mean a much busier rest of the year and may change any plans you have for things like going back home to visit family.  


In some cases, you may have to continue the year you’re currently in and start again the following academic year. This often means paying for an additional year of study, something that may not be a financial possibility for you. 


When it comes to finances, it’s also important to note that your new course may cost more than the one you initially applied for. This is something that must be taken into consideration before you make any decision and may include speaking with your parents or family. If you’re studying on a scholarship, a change of course will also impact on this. Some scholarships don’t allow you to change courses. Make sure you inform yourself of this first.  


What will I do if I can’t change?


Whether it’s your financial situation holding you back or simply that your university can’t move you onto the course you want, you need to work out what you’re going to do next.Can you make the most of your situation or is the course you’re on really something you can’t see yourself continuing? 


In this circumstance, it’s important to understand the benefits of having a degree, no matter what it is. An undergraduate degree, in any topic, opens doors that wouldn’t have been available to you before. It can also really help in your career   even if you’re now considering a different path than your original one. 


It’s also great to note that you might not always feel this way about your course. University is a great experience, especially in the first few months, with lots of exciting things to do and great people to meet.



In comparison, it’s natural that your actual studies may seem less exciting and while no one should tell you to continue doing something you’re not enjoying, it’s very likely that you will be grateful you continued your current course come graduation day



Getting as much information on a course and university before applying is vital for avoiding this situation in the first place. Find the right course for you with our course matcher tool and get all the information you may need in one place to avoid any stress later.  

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