What if you have chosen the wrong degree?
Of the thousands of students who began at university this autumn, one in five will fail to finish their chosen course. The panic will be peaking for this unhappy multitude about now as, a couple of months into their studies, they realise it is not just homesickness or novice nerves – they've simply committed the next three years to the wrong subject.
"This is an especially common problem for students who get their university place through clearing because they often end up on a course they didn't choose," says Margaret Holborough, a careers adviser with Graduate Prospects. "50% of people just need reassurance because the jump between A-levels and a degree course panics them. But for the rest they tend to find that they can't meet the required standard, or that the contents of the course was different to what they were expecting, or that they simply don't enjoy it."
Claire Porter, 23, realised her mistake as soon as she began her degree in politics at Bristol. Two terms into her studies she begged permission to switch her single honours degree to a joint honours in politics and social policy. "The focus of the course was on international politics and my interest lay more in single-policy issues," says Porter, who graduated last year. "Often you're not sure what your specific areas of interest are before you start."
The switch was not easy. She had to undergo an interview with the head of social policy who required specific, persuasive reasons for the change. "It wasn't enough to say that I wasn't enjoying the current work; I had to detail exactly what about the new course attracted me, and why."
Uncertainty is entirely natural at the start of a university career. The transplant from home to digs can be overwhelming, so if you decide to change direction be sure it's the course, not your circumstances, that is to blame. Authorities in the department you wish to transfer to will want to see a strong academic record before they take you on, and you would be better consulting your tutor and getting extra support with your existing workload. Ask yourself what you dislike about your course. If it's one module, it could be a short-term problem...>>Read more
Source: The Guardian Online http://www.guar dian.co.uk/money/2010/nov/20/wrong-degree-switching-subjects
November 22, 2010, 10:17 am