Transferring University: How To Change Courses Or University During The Academic Year

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If you think you have chosen the wrong course and want to transfer to another programme of study, within the same university, or if you’re set on transferring university completely, then read our guide.

There are a few things to consider and a variety of options to explore. Don’t worry, a lot of students end up feeling this way because you don’t know if your choice was right until you’re there.

Despite the academic term being underway, it’s more than likely still possible for you to transfer universities or change your degree programme if you’re in first year.

Although, this does depend on factors such as the degree field and where you want to study.

Find out within our guide!

transferring university

Reasons Why Students Transfer Or Change Courses

There are a variety of reasons why UK students may want to transfer university or change their chosen degree course.

We’ve listed a few below:

  • You feel like you don’t belong at the university you initially intended, or it doesn’t reach your expectations.
  • You’re not liking the city or town that the university is in, or the university’s social scene.
  • You’ve had a change of heart and want to switch subjects to align with your future aspirations.
  • You’re seeking an academic challenge.
  • There are personal reasons such as mental or physical health challenges, family problems or financial worries.
  • You’re feeling homesick and want to be closer to family, friends or your partner.
  • You’re unhappy with the standard of teaching, or the facilities on-campus and want to receive a higher-quality education.

Transfers and course changes happen for many reasons depending on circumstances, if your reasoning isn’t featured within this list, that doesn’t mean it’s not valid!

Unhappy university student

Things To Think About

Whatever your reasoning for wanting to transfer university or courses, you’re entitled to do what you think is best for you and your future aspirations.

Although, there are a few points to consider before jumping into the application process, which we’ve discussed in our next section.

Why You Want To Change Or Transfer

Now we’ve spoken about the reasons why students may want to transfer universities or change courses; you should think about why it is that you want to do this.

Ask yourself how is the course or university wrong for you? What could make it better?

You should also take on board that if you’re struggling with your mental health whilst at university, changing or transferring courses may not solve your issues.

Not only is it good to pinpoint your reasonings for yourself, but you will likely have to state your decisions and your academic results to the course director you’re wishing to change courses to, or the university you’re wanting to transfer to.

Seek Advice

You should speak to those around you to get some advice of what you can do to improve your situation, whether it’s speaking to student welfare at your university or your lecturers, or your friends and family.

It can be a difficult and stressful decision to transfer universities or change courses, so make sure you speak to people about it.

Although, the decision is ultimately yours so do what is going to be good for you and your education.

Remember, advice and guidance will be available at the University you’re studying at, and we recommend you do this before committing yourself to any change in status.

You never know, if you’re not enjoying your course modules for example, you could be able to switch them, so it’s best to try and seek support first.

University advice

Research Is Key

If you’re sure about transferring university or changing courses, you should begin researching about the the course that you want to study at a different university, or the course you want to study at your current institution.

It’s always best to first research alternative courses at the uni you’re based at first and foremost.

You will need to research the entry requirements and see if you have enough UCAS points or experience to get onto the course.

Researching uni courses

Additional Workload

One of the most vital things to consider is that you will most likely be faced with an additional workload of work and deadlines to catch up on for the course you’ve changed to.

Sometimes, you may be able to transfer course credits you’ve already gained; however, this depends on if the course is similar or not.

In most cases, the earlier you transfer, the better.

University workload

Student Finance

A final important factor to consider if you’re a student who is thinking about transferring universities or changing courses, is student finance.

You will need to contact student finance company for the country you’re in.

Such as if you’re students in Wales, Scotland, England or Northern Ireland, will have a different student finance company and a different set-up.

Upon contacting your relevant student finance company, you will need to explain your situation.

It doesn’t matter what point in the term you end up leaving, you must pay your entire term’s tuition fees.

You should also take on board that changing course could affect the level of student loan you’re entitled to.

Visit your Student Finance website and get in touch with them to talk through what will happen.

Student finance UK

How To Change Courses

If you don’t like the course you’re currently studying, see if there’s another course at your current uni that you could transfer onto.

You should ensure you’re truly interested in the course you want to switch to, and that you’ll be willing to put the extra work in to catch up.

There’s no point just choosing a different course because you think it will be better than your current one, or your friends have convinced you to do their course.

Choose the course that is right for you, and your future plans!

Research your alternatives courses on your university website and read module descriptions, graduate success and the entry requirements.

Once you’ve done this, you should then speak to your course tutor to inform them you want to change, and the reasons why.

It’s important to remember that they may not be space on the course you decide to change to, especially if it’s a popular course such as Psychology or Law.

Additionally, not all courses allow transfers either, especially if you’re in second or third year.

If you’re wanting to move to a completely different field of study than your current course, or move from a single to a joint honours course or even to a degree programme with a different length of study, there may be more formal steps you have to take.

Such as, you might have to write a new personal statement and attend an interview.

The best thing to do is to speak to your current course leader, and they will be able to instruct you on the steps to take.

It might be a smooth sailing process where you have an interview or meeting with the course leader, or it may be more difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it if it’s going to lead to the outcome you want.

Changing uni course

How To Transfer Universities

The things you’ll need to think about for transferring universities are similar to that of changing courses at the same institution, but the process is slightly different and more complicated.

The process of transferring universities and course varies depending on the institution as each one has a different policy on transfer students and it’s on a case basis.

So, whilst there isn’t a one size fits all approach to this, there are some steps you can take to try to make this happen.

As we mentioned earlier, once you’ve done your research on your chosen university and course, you’ll need to contact the admissions team at your prospective institution.

Remember, not all universities accept transfer students especially more prestigious higher education facilities.

The admissions office will inform you on how you’ll need to apply and whether you need to drop out of your current university before you transfer.

You will need to get confirmation from the new university to show to your current university that you’re transferring to another institution.

Normally, you’ll be required to fill in some paperwork such as a full application form.

You may also need to attend an interview or provide additional work such as a portfolio for certain subjects.

The timeframe again varies from uni to uni for transfer applications.

So, it could take anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks to complete your transfer, and that’s if it is accepted.

You need to think about the other implications that will come from transferring universities.

Such as you need to check that the location you’re relocating to has accommodation to suit you and your budget.

Some locations especially popular cities may not have enough suitable student housing for you to move to so it’s worth researching this too.

Be prepared for the possibility of having to reapply through UCAS to restart your course for the next academic year, such as you may have to take a year out and enrol on the course from the start.

For more information, UCAS has a dedicated section titled Changing or leaving your course which may prove helpful.

Transferring university

International Students

There is a whole different process required for international students wishing to transfer to another UK university.

This is because transferring to a another university can impact your student visa and you may need to contact the UK Home Office for permission to stay in the UK until you complete your new course.

We advise you to contact the international student support team at your current university if you do wish to change your course or university.

Our final piece of advice to take away from this guide, is that although making a big decision such as transferring university or changing courses can be stressful, if it’s going to benefit you and it’s what you want, then all the effort is worthwhile!

International students

Has this post to transferring university or courses been helpful? We sure hope so!

Now you know how to change courses or university, you may need to sort out student accommodation. Check out our luxury properties.

If you’re wondering how to be the ideal flatmate, we’ve got the answers in our blog!