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How to Change Courses at University

One of the biggest fears for people to have at university is that you’ve made the wrong decision. Maybe you want to change universities, or maybe you want to change course, but how would you go about doing that? Does it affect your money or your student finance?

These are all valuable questions, luckily for you, we’ve compiled a bumper guide towards changing courses at university, so take a look down below and see what it is that you need to be able to change university courses.

How can I change courses at university?

Well, that kind of depends on what it is that you’re doing and whereabouts you’re studying. You will need to speak to your course admissions tutor of course, but after that, you will need to speak to the admissions tutor for the subject that you’re hoping to change to, as well.

Does changing courses guarantee me a place on my desired course?

Nothing is guaranteed in this life, except death and taxes. Unfortunately, the guarantee of a place on a university course, shortly after you’ve switched to your other one, is not counted among them. The thing is if there is a spare place, then brilliant, sign right up, however, if there isn’t, then you’re going to have to either soldier on with your current course, or you’re going to have to look elsewhere, maybe even another university.

Does changing courses affect my student finance?

Unfortunately, yes it does. This makes this decision one of the most expensive decisions that you can possibly make when at university. The basic student finance in the UK or student finance in Northern Ireland or student finance in Wales dictates that a student will pay somewhere between £9,000 and £12,000-a-year for their course, whereas the student finance in Scotland is free for Scottish and EU nationals. With this in mind, let’s say that you were studying an Accounting degree for two years, before deciding to switch to a Marketing degree, which is three years. You will have to pay for three years of Marketing and the two years that you studied Accounting, too. This will most likely add an £18,000 fee on top of what you’re already paying.

Will I still be eligible for any grants, bursaries or scholarships if I change courses at university?

Yes, you will. Luckily, it doesn’t affect any grants, bursaries or scholarships that you currently have, although, that being said, if you claim anything like an NHS Bursary when doing a Medical degree or anything similar to that and you end up changing to a non-NHS related course, you will no longer receive that bursary. Essentially, any bursaries etc that are course or industry-specific will end if you move away for those industries or courses. Your Travel Grant or Disability Allowance Grant etc will still be covered, still best to check with your university, anyway.

If I change courses at university, will I need to rewrite my personal statement?

Most likely, yes. The issue is that the university didn’t accept your personal statement, the course tutor did. Your personal statement will have most likely been written around the subject that you were initially studying. For instance, if you’re thinking of switching from a Performing Arts degree into a Modern Foreign Languages degree, then you will probably need to rewrite your personal statement so that you actually accommodate your new subject. Your Modern Foreign Languages tutor isn’t likely to be impressed by your interest in Performing Arts.

If I wanted to a degree, but I couldn’t get on, could I do a Foundation degree, and then change after a year?

As smart and sneaky as that option is, we don’t recommend it. This is a process called Mitigation. Whereby you are seen as “hoodwinking” the university, in order to get onto a new course. For example, if you wanted to study an Engineering degree at the University of Cambridge, but didn’t have the UCAS points required, didn’t feel like going through Clearing or retaking your exams during a gap year, then you could decide to do a foundation degree in Computer Sciences at Cambridge (Cambridge, don’t actually provide Foundation degrees in any science related degrees, but this is an example, so don’t worry too much), study that for one year, and then ask to transfer to Engineering, from there.

Now, while that is a totally legitimate way of choosing a new course. Some people genuinely do this perfectly innocently and without worrying about incurring the wrath of the university. However, most universities will ask why you want to move and it’s best, to be honest in your reason for doing so. Mitigation is a perfectly acceptable process to go through, but you really should speak to your course tutors before making any rash decisions.

What if I want to change again?

You’ll go through the same process as before. But it’s important to remember that you don’t burn your bridges with the university by constantly making changes that you don’t need to make. Your university will not want to see you as a problem or as someone who is constantly making changes, so if you want to make changes, make sure that this is something that you’re absolutely sure of and not something that you’re doing just for the hell of it. You have to really believe in yourself, here.

So there you have it, then. Those are the finer points of changing your course when at university. It’s something that a lot of students go through, in fact, 33% of students have been known to change universities and the figure is even bigger with those looking to actually change courses, with a staggering 75% of students changing their degree before they graduate, so it’s fair to say that it is a very popular decision.

The thing that you have to remember is that not everyone who goes to university knows exactly what it is that they want to do when they get there, in fact, many students who go to university decide to change after no time at all.

As we stated above, the decision to leave university, can be a very expensive one, especially when you consider just how much university fees are already, and now you need to find a way of being able to help you out with the payments, so be careful and good luck!