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Oct 18, 2016 02:14 AM EDT

Feel Like Switching Degrees on Your First Year in the University? Don’t Worry, It’s Normal and Okay

Incoming freshmen take a tour of the Randolph-Macon College
ASHLAND, VA - JUNE 13: Incoming freshmen take a tour of the Randolph-Macon College campus in the town of Ashland, Virginia. The college sits beside the railroad tracks and has 1,312 students 93 full-time professors.
(Photo : Jay Paul/Getty Images)

If you're having doubts if you've made the right choice early in your college life, it's all right. Don't panic.

Before starting on your first year in college, you probably have had done all the steps you needed to know more about the university you have chosen and the course you're majoring on right now back in high school. However, now on your first year, you begin to question if you have made the right choice.

Back then you have probably spoken to your guidance counsellor about which course to choose and which university, and probably even took advanced classes to prepare. Like most students in that stage, you were probably torn between pursuing your passion, a financially rewarding field, or one that will make you highly employable.

It's not uncommon for freshmen attending the university for the first time to pick a course wherein he or she believes will offer great career opportunities, land them their dream jobs and get paid generously high salaries.

Lauren Wade had the same experience. She picked a course that she thought would offer her a better career. As it turns out, she realized that she should have gone with her heart and chose the course she knew she always wanted.

Lauren however cautions students who wants to make the shift, saying that if it is just a subject or 2, then you should stick with it and exert your best effort until you have decided what really interests you. At the same time, she also warns not to take too long in making that decision about what you would be specializing on. Citing herself as an example who waited for an entire year before taking action.

Shifting your course, according to Lauren is not easy and it's stressful but also emphasizes that having a degree is important. "Having a degree will always be beneficial. It proves to employers that you have determination and transferable skills, for example, the ability to make decisions effectively, lead a team and think logically and analytically - all of which are highly valued."

She advises students to find a course that inspires and motivates you and offers the following advice if shifting cannot be avoided:

  1. Evaluate the pros and cons of your chosen course and discuss it with family and friends.

  2. Determine if its the course you don't like or the school. Making the shift might be futile if you don't like the university.

  3. Once you're certain that you do not like the course you're in and have identified which one you want, reach out to the department you'd like to join. Learn as much as you can from the course and sit in and observe in a lecture or 2. Finding someone to guide and tutor you is also an advantage.

  4. Keep in mind that you might not be permitted to transfer to another course because of a number of factors - the availability of a slot in the college, the course requirements and so on.

  5. If you really need to transfer to another university, get in touch with the right people immediately. Seek advice from your department and then get in touch with the admissions office of the schools you want to get into.

  6. Finally, consider the impact it will have on your finances, especially if you have student loans. You might be happy in your new course but it might cost you more.

It is a lot of work and it might cause you to finish college later than when you have wanted but it will be more fulfilling to know that you are working on what you really want and know that you can be the best person for the job.

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