The power of course and campus swapping
The Expert View
Find out about the power of thinking about course and campus swapping…
Read this to get the complete picture…
A short overview
A student starts at one university and then decides for any one of a number of reasons to change to a different university. How difficult is this? Or is it indeed possible?
Imagine you’re on a three or four-year bachelor program and you decide you want to change University. Maybe you don’t like the course, maybe you don’t like the university environment, maybe it’s all been a big disappointment and you’re not happy there. Maybe you want to change university to be with your best friend etc. There are infinite numbers of reasons why are you may wish to change.
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Now let’s look at the practicalities:
If you change university, even if you are going to stay with the same subject, there is a reasonable chance that the students at the new university will have studied units that you have not yet studied, because universities structure their courses differently. So what does this mean in practical terms? Well to start with you would need to consider whether catching up on missed work is realistic; clearly the further into your course you are, potentially the more work you may need to catch up. So consider this carefully before you try and change university.
And then there is the issue of whether the universities will agree to your plan. If you are already determined to go ahead and change, then you can talk to the two universities concerned: your current university, and the university you wish to go to. The best person to approach initially would be your academic tutor. He/she will have a lot of experience in this field and advise you on the pros and cons of your plan.
Another reason students change university is because they have decided to make a brand-new start with a different subject. You will effectively have to stop, and then start again from scratch.
If you are lucky, the new university may give you some credits based on studies you’ve already completed, but there is no guarantee of this. Once again you need to talk to your academic tutor and the new university and see what you can work out. Think carefully about this and seek out experienced advice.
Now let’s see how to make it work.
Things to think about:
- Why do you want to switch courses?
You’ll need to show good reasons and show you’re taking your studies seriously. Your grades may play a role here, are you trying to change to avoid failing etc. The university will take a look at this.
- Can you change modules on your current course?
This will depend on which modules you’d like to change, as there will be a number of mandatory modules you need to complete to gain your qualification. You might be able to change to other modules, but if a module is oversubscribed, you may not be able to.
- Is there a course in a similar subject, or in the same department, you want to transfer to?
You need to do your research carefully and ensure you know what is available before you go and talk to your tutor.
- Are you interested in a completely different course?
If you want to change to a completely different course, you must ensure that you have the necessary academic qualifications; you also need to gain the approval of the two different departments. Furthermore, you have to consider whether the credits for the work you’ve already done will count towards your new course. There’re lots of things to consider, and you will need to have a discussion with your tutor.
- Additional work
If you’re able to transfer to a new course, you may need to catch up on work you’ve missed for the course you transfer to.
- Credit transfer
You may be able to transfer any course credits you’ve already gained, but if the course you want to transfer to is very different, this may not be possible, and you may need to start the new course at the very beginning. This could mean another year of tuition fees, accommodation, and other expenses.
- Student loan
If changing course means you have to extend your study time by a year, then you need to check and see if you can gain additional Financial aid to cover the extra time spent studying. In other words, can you afford it?
Things you can do that will make a big difference.
Talk to your tutor
Speak to the people who know… They’ll be sure to help you…
Make a list of the Pros and Cons
Sometime a move can be beneficial but it isn’t a clear cut thing. Make sure you reflect before actng.
Different course, same university
It may be possible to transfer to a different course at the same university, but you need to do some research and address the following questions:
- Are there spaces on the new course?
If there are no spaces available on the course you would like to do,have a look at other courses that are available in the same department as they may still have spaces to fill.
- Do you meet the entry requirements for the course you want to transfer to?
Check to see if the new course has any specific prerequisites regarding which subjects you need to have studied before starting the course. E.g if you want to switch to an engineering course from a law course and you haven’t studied physics and maths at a high-level then you will not be able to make the change.
- Would the departments involved agree to you transferring?
You will most certainly need to talk to the course tutor of the new subject, as he will want to reassure himself as to your motivation and reasons for joining that subject and of course, if you are suitably academically qualified.
- When can you transfer?
Some universities place restrictions on when you are able to change. E.g. end the first semester or end of year.
Some critical questions that need to be asked
Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers.
Why do I want to change?
What are the problems/ timeline involved in changing?
Will change be a benefit for me?
Changing to a different university
If you’re not happy, or your circumstances have changed, you may be able to transfer to a different university or college to complete your studies. There are a number of things you’ll need to research and consider first:
- Will the university or college you’re interested in accept transfers? Are there spaces on the course you want to join?
You need to contact the university that you wish to move to and ask them if they accept transfer students. It may be that you have to reapply, possibly to start at beginning of the next academic year.
- Do you meet the entry requirements for the course you want to transfer to?
The university you want to move to may have higher academic entrance requirements than the university you are currently attending, or they may have subject specific requirements. You need to ensure that you meet their requirements.
- Will you be able to start in the second or third year of a different course?
You may be able to transfer directly into the second or third year of a degree course (sometimes referred to as ‘advanced standing’), if you’ve studied enough similar content elsewhere. This is not always possible, and you’ll need to check with the university. If the university requires you to make a new application, then you will need to enter Year 2 or Year 3 as your point of entry.
- You’ll need to provide details of all the modules you’ve already studied, and any marks you received, even if you haven’t completed the year, or even if you have not done as well as you may have wanted to.
- There is no guarantee you’ll be able to switch to another course at a different university, even if the courses are very similar – even if you apply to start in the second or third year, you may be made an offer to start in the first year.
Tips & Tricks
Some insider tips that can really make the difference.
Seek out expert, experienced advice
If possible, complete your first year and perform your best. If you get a good mark in your first year, you may be able to transfer onto another similar course straight into the second year.
Do not rush into changing university just because you have had a bad day.
It’s a big decision.
Wigsbury Frequently asked questions
Quick answers to the important questions
I want to study a competitive subject at a prestigious university. Can I apply for a less competitive subject with lower admission requirements and then change to my original competitive subject once I have started at the University?
This, of course, is up to the university, but they are well aware that some students may try this. Remember, prestigious, competitive courses are always full. Will there be a place there for you?
I’m in my first year at university and I’ve realized that this is the wrong subject for me. What can I do?
Talk to your tutor and see if you can change subjects. This will depend on several factors, not least of which is: are you qualified for the new subject? If you are currently studying law, and you would now like to do biochemistry, do you have the requisite science background?
If it’s not possible to change subjects within your university, then you can look to change to a different university, or you can drop out and reapply to start at the beginning of the next academic year in a new subject and/or new university.
I’m a first-year student at a university a long way from my hometown. I am missing my school friends and I find it hard to make new friends at university. Would it be a good idea to change to the university in my hometown so I can see my school friends?
Maybe, maybe not. Have your school friends gone away to university? Would they be around at the weekends? Have they made new friends at university?
Everything changes when you go to university, it will not be like it was during your schooldays, even if you do return to your hometown.
I’m not happy at this university, the course is okay but I don’t like anything else about the place. Can I change University?
First of all you need to find a university that you like better than the one you are currently attending, then you need to contact that university and see if they will take you; you also need to talk to your current university. Assuming both universities are okay with the idea, then you’ll have to do the paperwork, sort out paying the fees and look for housing.