So, you’re at university. Through determination, a lot of late-night scrolling and some tears, you made it. And now, you’re cruising around campus, up to your eyeballs in theory and smashing out assignments.  

But, despite your efforts, you can’t quiet the voice that says, “this isn’t right, maybe you should transfer to a different university.”  

It could be that the course you’re studying doesn’t interest you as much as you thought, or you're processing way too much theory over gaining practical skills, or the overall vibe of the university is overwhelming and not so welcoming. 

You might wonder whether it’s just a phase and you’ll get used to it, or maybe this is university after all. If you’re nursing any kind of course remorse, here are some signs that it’s time to transfer to a different course or different university altogether.

Sign #1: Help, my course isn’t what I thought it would be!

Wanting to study creative writing but missing out on the entry score by a crumb, Sienna explored screen and film courses where she could grow a range of technical and creative skills for a screen production career.   

After being nudged by a friend, Sienna began a media and communications degree at a well-known university. "Although I got the ATAR to get into this university, I really didn’t enjoy what I was doing, because it was so academic based. The entire first year was all theory and you didn’t do any filming until third year. It was just so boring.” 

Counselled by her (very wise) mum who said, “getting into university is the hard part, switching is the easy part,” Sienna soon realised her mistake. She’d chosen a course based largely on meeting the entry ATAR. Instead, she began looking closely at course curriculums for something that offered more hands-on skills. Enter Swinburne's Bachelor of Screen Production.  

Sienna found her place in small classes with like-minded emerging filmmakers, learning the practical skills she wanted to know – and hasn’t looked back. “It’s not worth your mental health to do a course you don’t find interesting or you’re not learning what you want just because the university is a bit fancy,” said Sienna. “If you’re thinking about switching, trust your instincts and do it.”  

Sign #2: My head is in one course, but my eye is on another.

You’re not a course commitment-phobe or anything, you’re just looking into your options. It’s like you’re getting fro-yo – serving up your favourite flavour (classic vanilla, right?) and then you see someone walk past with a little cookies and cream, and you’re like, “I’m having some of that too!"   

Yep, you’re so inspired that you want to pursue something more to bolster your knowledge (and *cough* career opportunities) or pivot into something completely different. If inspiration strikes, changing your course is not as hard as you think.  

Set on an engineering degree from Year 10, Arlo switched up their degree to incorporate computer science to match their growing interest in IT as well as the kind of work they wished to pursue post study.  

“Once you're in, you can move around. That was something I found really helpful because I realised I wanted to do something different and I was able to just change really easily,” said Arlo. “The journey is completely up to you, you can pick where you want to go and kind of cater to exactly what you want to do.”

Sign #3: I can’t stop thinking about transferring to a different university.

So, you may already be researching an alternative, doing some deep degree detective work or simply asking the universe for a sign. Maybe you’re begging every person you know for advice, or hearing a voice speak through your horoscope... Truth is, if you’re already this far down the rabbit hole, it’s time to take action and switch. 

But where do you start?

Okay, I’m ready. How do I switch?

First up, see if you’re eligible for a credit transfer. What does that mean? Basically, if you’ve completed a unit of study (or more) in your current course, you may be able to transfer credit points to the degree you want to switch into – and that means you won’t extend the length of your degree.  

If your brain is swirling over switching options, here is a handy step through.

  1. Investigate the course you're interested in (if you haven’t already) and get set to apply. You can attend study expos to meet teachers and get a vibe of the campus. 
  2. Got questions about the application process? Get in touch with the uni directly.  
  3. Once your application is received, it will be assessed for relevant credit transfers. 
  4. Hold tight while your application is processed and then, if successful, you’ll receive a letter of offer! Woo! 
  5. Follow the instructions in your letter of offer and enrol. Done!

And now, you can give yourself some credit. Not literal academic credit points, but a good positive talk to yourself. You’ve made it into university after all and, sure, it may not be exactly what you wanted but that doesn’t mean you won’t find something that is.  

Degrees aren’t set in stone — they are adaptable to you and what you want to put your big brain and energy into. And what was a moment of switching study stress, may be a blip on the radar, even a necessary experience for you to uncover what you really want to do – and where you want to do it.  Ok, go get yourself that fro-yo.  

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