As the closing date for university applications draws closer, many students start to panic about choosing their preferences — but it’s not a once-and-for-all decision. It’s not unusual to have a change of heart, even as you move into the workforce. After all, it’s hard to know where your specific interests and strengths lie until you get started. Take it from a 19-year-old undergraduate, Bridie McArthur, who pivoted her study path after a year in university. In her words, 'You are never 100 per cent locked into anything.'
Reasons for changing
There are countless reasons why students choose to change their study path — sometimes it’s the course itself or perhaps personal circumstances. Here are a few common reasons why you might decide to change paths:
- You’re using the course as a pathway to a different course or institution.
- After being exposed to different disciplines in a general course, you’ve found an area you like and want to move to a more specialised course.
- You can’t see yourself pursuing a career in the area after gaining more experience in it.
- You want to study in a different location — interstate, closer to home or in the city, for example.
- You’re concerned about where the course can take you.
Why it’s okay
While switching courses may set you back initially, many students find that it is worth it in the long run. Below are some good examples of why changing courses isn’t the end of the world:
- You may be able to gain credit for study you’ve already completed.
- If you’re unhappy in your current course, it can be a huge relief.
- You’re more likely to succeed (and turn up to classes!) in a course that you’re interested and invested in.
- It may save you from having to pursue postgraduate study.
- It can offer an easier path to future employment in your field.
Your optionsIf you’ve decided that your course isn’t the right fit, there are a few different paths you can take. You may:
- look at an internal transfer, where you change courses but stay at the same institution (or perhaps you’re happy with your field of study, but feel the institution is the problem)
- change sectors (from a VET course to a higher education degree or vice versa)
- take a break from study by deferring for a semester or two if you need some time to process your next move.
Whether you’re changing institutions or looking at an internal transfer, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve maintained good academic results. Like with ATAR cut-off scores, many courses will only accept you if your GPA is at a certain level — even if you already have a few years of study under your belt from another course or institution.How you apply will depend on the type of transfer you’ve chosen:
- For internal transfers, you can usually apply online through your student portal or fill out a form and submit it to the relevant faculty.
- If you’re looking to change institutions, you’ll have to apply in the same way as commencing students — through your local Tertiary Admission Centre (TAC) or via direct application.