What to do if your degree isn’t right for you

You might have had a change of heart career-wise, or you might not have known what you wanted to do with your life and just jumped the gun. When six assignments are all due at once and you’ve got family and work commitments (and probably a million other tasks), it’s natural for the negative thoughts to start creeping in. You’re not the only one who contemplates a change. We talked to Laura Hudson, a Senior Student Progress Advisor on what steps you should take if you’re thinking of changing degrees.

Stick to your passions

It can be easy to forget why you are doing your degree, especially in difficult times. Laura recommends “students…consider if they are going to enjoy the degree and make a note of what they want to study for, whether it’s a career pathway or for interest in a particular area.” If you choose something you really enjoy it makes it a lot easier to stay motivated during the hard study slogs.

Handbook alert!!!

It’s easy to jump straight into a degree without taking into consideration the subjects you are undertaking. When choosing your degree, it’s important to not just take into consideration the course content of the subjects but the course outcomes. It can be easy to skim through the handbook, but you’ll probably do so at your peril. For example, a Bachelor of Psychology has a lot more statistics courses than you might have expected. As a result, when looking through the handbook it’s important to consider your strengths and passions.

Discover career pathways

The Careers Services Team at the University has some cool advice for those who are contemplating a degree change. If you want to get a more accurate picture of the different career pathways your degree could take, you can drop in for resume assistance or interview preparation as well as book appointments for mock interviews and careers consultations. You can also drop them a questions via Ask A Question in CareerHub 

Laura says it is important to determine, “what careers you might be interested in and find out what qualifications you might need,” as well as learning “about the employment prospects, salaries and working hours to make sure the career you choose will suit the lifestyle you want.”

Job Outlook is a nifty tool by the Australian government to help you out with determining such prospects and average salaries. Finally, Laura recommends that you “seek out people who work in the occupations and industries you are interested in and talk to friends, your careers adviser or our staff at careers markets and events.”

Consult with someone

Before you make the degree change, it’s important to talk to someone about it. There are numerous people you can talk to about your degree, whether you are struggling with the program or need some advice on the best route to complete your future degree. If you are struggling with your course, you can talk to your Student Progress Advisor before making any future decisions. If you decide to change your degree, they can inform you of how to complete the new degree in the allotted timeframe and what to enrol in each semester.  You can book an appointment online or send an email from your student account to: studentadvice@newcastle.edu.au 

How to transfer

You’ve decided to take the plunge and transfer to another degree.  Laura notes that “students should be aware of key dates of each term, like Census Date,” when changing enrolments or degree. To officially change your degree, visit here. You’ll have to wait till towards the end of the semester before transfers can be made and will usually require a credit average with some exceptions. Whilst not always the case, if you have room for electives or you’ve already completed some courses, you can apply for a credit transfer here. In doing so, it’s super important to look at the program handbook and change your enrolment.

Dropping out isn’t the solution

On a final note, if for some reason you are struggling with university, and considering dropping out, Laura recommends talking to the Student Progress Advice team or having a chat to someone. She notes that sometimes dropping out can feel like your “only option when there may be assistance” for your needs. Student Advice can help you with your issues by breaking “each item down to find a way to continue on, or, we can go through options and implications for taking leave from studies.” Such options to help support you with your studies include:

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