Future You podcast transcript

Changing your course: all you need to know

March, 2024

Ever thought about changing your course? In this episode, Rachel, a careers adviser from University of the West of Scotland sits down to tell you who to talk to, what your options might be, and what steps to take. It can be a scary thought process, but this episode should have you covered


In order of first appearance:

  • Emily Slade - podcast producer and host, Prospects
  • Rachel - careers adviser, University of the West of Scotland


Emily Slade: Hello and welcome to Future You, the podcast brought to you by graduate careers experts Prospects. I'm your host Emily Slade, and this episode takes a look at what to do if you're considering changing your course. Who to talk to, what your options might be, and what steps to take. It can be a scary thought process, but hopefully this episode can guide you in the right direction for your journey.

Rachel: Hi, I'm Rachel, I'm one of the careers advisers from the University of the West of Scotland and I work with students and graduates to help them on their journey. The University of the West of Scotland careers team also have our own podcast, The UWS Careers Cafe. In each month, we chat to various guests, including UWS alumni to find out more about their career journey, and different employers to gain an insight into their organisations and the roles available to students.

Emily Slade: So what are the reasons that someone might want to change their course?

Rachel: So some of the main reasons for maybe changing your course can include maybe you've got different career ideas. So maybe you've had a change of mind about the career that you'd like to pursue, and you'd like to change the course it's more aligned to your nuclear idea. Another reason could be that the course that you've had originally chosen to study might not be suitable for you. So maybe you find the workload quite high, maybe there's placements at an NT address the course. Or maybe you feel that your course isn't challenging enough. Another reason could be perhaps a university you've chosen is further away from home, and maybe you're homesick, maybe you're finding the traveling a lot. If you're living at home and commuting or so maybe you'd like to switch to a more local university. So that could be another reason that you know, students might consider changing course.

Emily Slade: So once they've had this thought, what's the first thing that you'd recommend that they do?

Rachel: So if you are considering changing courses, the first thing I would recommend to do is speaking with your university careers advisor, it can be helpful to chat through your clients for second year's advisor to see her the course she would like to transfer to would fit in with your long term career goals. And to make sure the course you're thinking about will help you achieve these goals as some professions may require an accredited course to enter the profession such as in Scotland, we have be a law, which is not actually qualify as a solicitor. But we also have be a law LLB, which does qualify as a solicitor. So it's important to be aware of the sort of details when you are looking at different courses in chat and her careers advisor can help you talk about your plans, and they can help you cement them, it can also be helpful to speak to your friends and family and other students on the course that you'd like to move to as well. So that you can get an idea of what you can expect from your new course and to see if it would be a good fit for you.

Emily Slade: So is this a fairly common thought? I imagine once you've had this sort of thinking, you might worry that you're quite alone, but to quite a lot of people go through this process.

Rachel: Yeah, definitely certainly shouldn't speak to see it's quite common for students to want to transfer courses in certainly even with some students, even if you don't necessarily transfer courses, I think a lot of students do have that period of time during their course where you know, the mate started having some doubts about the course, once maybe the novelty of first year is worn off, you know, you might start thinking as a slate course, for me as the career that I want to pursue. So not necessarily every student who has the thoughts will transfer to a different course. But I'd say it's definitely yeah, common not for students to have it is perfectly normal, you know, if you are thinking about changing course loads as students even transfer to different courses, and you're definitely not not alone.

Emily Slade: And what are the sort of consequences of changing your course both negative and positive?

Rachel: There can be a few different effects of changing courses. So one of the important effects of it as you'll need to check if you're still eligible for student funding. So if you transfer courses, will you still receive student funding, will you still receive support for your tuition fees, and have a think about her less could affect to your funding in future years, another possible effect as your career options, once you gadget will change as well. So maybe you're looking to switch from a vocational course, which will qualify you to work in a particular area, such as teaching or social work, and you want to change to another course, such as maybe chemistry, your career options at the end, will be quite different from getting a general course. So make sure you research which job available to graduates from the course that you're hoping to move to.

Emily Slade: We've talked briefly about what they should do once they've had their first thought - have a chat with family and friends, maybe go and see someone. Let's say you've decided, are there several routes to continue this journey? If you're a bit nervous about sitting face to face with a careers advisor in a room by yourself? Are there different options for people that want to explore their options and have a chat about this that aren't so sort of intense?

Rachel: Yeah, definitely. So one option would be to use the Prospects website, which has a bunch of resources on there, such as what can you do with your degree and it breaks it down into different degrees objects, and it gives you an idea of what jobs are available at the end of your course. And there's also a really helpful resource on Prospects which actually gives you an in depth information about different job roles. So you can have a look and sort of like see maybe the what your day to day role would involve, if you were to go into one of these roles, that can be a good place to sort of start your research and get an idea of what you may like to move to, or what sort of career you might like to go into. And then you know, what sort of course could align with that, can you another idea could be it into your program leader, or your personal tutor. So they will also be able to help you initiate the actual process of changing course, another pin today, it could be actually contacting the university or the, if you are looking to transfer to a course at another university, or even if it's a course at your current university, you can get in contact with the admissions department to see you know, if you are able to chance there, they can talk you through the process of applying to the course, whether you're able to transfer or whether you're going to apply through UCAS.

Emily Slade: Again, we've sort of briefly touched on it, but changing your course at any point in your educational journey. It's not, you know, it's not like the end of the world. Is it like lots of people go on to then have more fulfilling careers or taking this what feels like a step back isn't necessarily the worst? Like it's not going to ruin your life?

Rachel: Yeah, of course, no, no, as I said earlier, is really common for students to transfer courses. And it has plenty of support it is well if you do decide to do that, just a case of you know, not rushing into things and doing your research and you know, speaking to you don't let your fears advisor your program we do in making use of the you know, the support that you have on hand to help that transition goes smoothly.

Emily Slade: What if you want to leave partway through your course you don't wait till the end of the year, you're sort of halfway through and you just want to leave what what do you do.

Rachel: So if you are looking to leave partway through a course you can leave your course at any point in the year. However, if you are planning to transfer to a new course and a different subject or university, you'll probably need to wait until September to start your new course. But the admissions team at the new university can advise of this, there may again be financial implications as well. So you may not receive student funding in the period between withdrawing from your previous course and waiting to start your new course, this could also impact like your current attacks, as you may not be eligible for student descaling. It's also worth while you're checking to see if you're eligible for any certificates or diplomas. If you have completed at least one you'd have your current course. And then again, another option is well maybe to even take a year up from university if maybe you have, you know, personal circumstances or health reasons, which might be affecting your course. Or even alternatively, you know, there might be an option to study your course part time as well, which could make it more manageable for some students. And then Alternatively, you could you may wish to withdraw from university altogether with them. If you do decide to withdraw from university, you might be liable to pay a percentage or all of your tuition fees for the year. Yeah, so you might want to check that with the student loan company. And also most universities have a funding department within Student Support. So they'd also a good resource to use if you have any sort of questions regarding funding. And another sort of consequence of that could be you might not be eligible for current EU tax desk current and possibly any bursaries you read this evening as well.

Emily Slade: So what's the best piece of advice that you would give someone who's considering changing their course?

Rachel: The best piece of advice I could give to someone considering changing courses is don't rush into anything. Make sure you research your options. So when you are researching different courses, think about your career options at the end, where will this course lead? What options will open up at the end of the course for you as the course something that you're interested in? What sort of skills would you be using in that course? Is it more of a technical course, as it may be something like nursing where you know, you may have to complete placements? Is that something that you're going to enjoy doing? And another good resource as well as speaking to your thesis advisor who can help you cement these plans in the practical steps as well as changing course.

Emily Slade: How do employers look upon people that have changed their course? Will they sort of look on it negatively? Or what are the implications there in the wider world of work?

Rachel: So it's quite a common worry, I think for students who are changing courses to worry about how employers will perceive you know, that changing course. But as long as you can show how changing courses with a with a positive decision, such as to achieve your career goal, then they won't look at us negatively.

Emily Slade: Well, thank you so much for your time today.

Rachel: Thanks and thanks for having me along.

Emily Slade: Thanks again to Rachel for their time, Make sure you give us a follow wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to get in touch you can email at podcast@prospects.ac.uk or find us on Instagram and TikTok, all the links are in the description. Thanks very much for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Notes on transcript

This transcript was produced using a combination of automated software and human transcribers and may contain errors. The audio version is definitive and should be checked before quoting.

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