What to do After Choosing a Wrong Course

In one of our article we discussed extensively on the signs to know you are studying a wrong course. Today, will be looking at what to do after discovering you chose a wrong course of study.

What to do After Choosing a Wrong Course

There are a thousand and one reasons why people go to higher Institutions. It can either be for the right reasons which may include acquiring a choice degree to build a thriving career or for the wrong reasons such as, wanting to get away from home, peer pressure, etc. Whatever the reason may be, the truth is that university is tough regardless of the fun aspect that makes it memorable.

While University is not all fun as speculated by some people, there are numerous factors that makes it very unbearable for many students and we will be looking at one very important factor in this article.

A relative of mine always desired to study mass communication in the University. Thus, he applied but was denied admission. Eventually, he was admitted to study a course in linguistics and that looked like the best thing that had happened to him. Happily, he accepted and went off to school. Months into the course, the story changed. All excitement faded because the course was not what he anticipated.

In summary, he’s still trying to find his feet. Whether to change course or leave the University to start afresh is the question.

Many students are in various Universities battling with different degree courses and don’t seem to know what to do. For many reasons, some students have graduated with courses they aren’t fulfilled studying even when they saw the signs early enough. However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t the only one feeling this way.

For this reason, we will be looking at the possible things you can do when you discover you’re studying the wrong course.

Straight to the point, below are things to do upon discovering you’re studying a wrong course.


1. Be Calm

It is normal to panic and have different thoughts running through your head the moment you realize you’re studying a course you’re not particularly cool with.

It’s easy to think that having to change a course is an academic setback or might as well mean that your academic life is over. Well, if it might interest you to know, it’s not.

There really isn’t much to lose. The worst case scenario for changing course is having to stay out of school for a year till the next admission phase which comes up every September plus extra fees that are incurred during the admission process. That’s all there is.

I understand that a year might feel like forever, probably because you feel you’re left behind among your peers but trust me; one year isn’t such a long time. Besides, there is a whole lot you can achieve in one year that will be useful in the labour market. Who knows, choosing the wrong course might eventually turn out to be your best mistake in the long run.

So, calm your nerves the moment you realize you’re on a wrong path. Only a sane and sound mind can think of solutions.

2. Take Time to Reflect

This allows you to have a deep thought on circumstances surrounding your current situation. This is the major reason you need to be calm.

For this purpose, you need to identify the positive and negative points about your current course. Not only that, you need to answer a list of questions sincerely in order to make headway.

Why did you enroll for the course in the first instance?

Was it your parents’ decision?

Were you forced into accepting the course for selfish reasons?

Do you want to change because you don’t find the course interesting or does it have anything to do with you not liking the University?

Could it be the problem is with the subjects?

If after answering these questions you have more negative points, then it’s an indication you need a change. Mind you, it is possible the problem is with the course of study and not with the school. In this case, you only need a change of course and not a change of Institution

As much as possible, avoid making hasty decisions amid periods of strong emotions. For better results, you might want to go back to analyze the situation at another time to be sure of your decision.

3. Talk to People

Having taken time to think through the situation and established what it is you want to change;  you are also required to consult more experienced people. You are required to do this for proper guidance on how to go about executing your plans.

This could be a lecturer, a mentor or even a counselor. Discuss your fears and reason for your decision and hear their thoughts. You’re not doing this for them to convince you against your decision, but to help you with matured advice, information and the necessary steps to follow.

Two good heads are always better than one. So, don’t shy away from talking to people about this.

4. Give it Time

I know you might be more interested in getting this done once and for all, but sometimes life’s decision may change and things might just begin to fall in place when you least expect it. Now that you’ve figured out what it is that’s bothering you, wait a little while to see if there will be an improvement.

Except you’re already years into the course, don’t be in a haste to conclude that the course doesn’t align with your goals.

As a freshman, it’s possible you feel this way because of homesickness. On the other hand, it might be that you’re currently taking courses that don’t interest you at the moment. Every semester comes with different course outlines. You might wait to find out if that’s where the problem lies.

In all, if you are in first year, give it at least until the end of the session before you consider leaving. This allows you time to settle in, get used to your course, and make new friends and if after all these, you still have a strong desire to change, then, you’re good to go. You are obviously not on the right path, indeed.

5. Get Support from the School

There is no way you would take such a huge decision without the school’s authority. Whether you’re changing course or the institution, you need support from the school. While Universities don’t want their students to drop out, there should be a support structure in place to help you.

This is not guaranteed in many cases but let’s keep our fingers crossed while doing this, they might be supportive and help guide you towards the best next steps to take. They should also be able to provide other support, such as counseling, career guidance and more.

6. Make That Change

At this stage you’re expected to have known the major problem. Is the problem coming from the institution or the course?

Peradventure you like your university but not your course, the process is a lot easier. Universities do not usually enjoy letting students transfer between courses, but they will usually do it in preference to you dropping out.

Universities will usually favour a transfer over the student leaving the school totally.

If you’re changing courses, one thing to bear in mind is the competitive nature of the course that you are moving from and to. For instance, if you’re going from Mass communication to a less competitive course, you are likely going to succeed but if the reverse were to be the case, it will definitely prove difficult.

Changing courses within the same university is much easier, cheaper and less stressful than transferring between universities, which is why it’s so important to reflect and figure out whether the problem is really with the university or the course.

7. Go For a Postgraduate Qualification

Oftentimes, we have been made to believe that the choice of a wrong course is discovered at the early stage of study. This has ruled off the possibility that a person can actually realize they actually studied a wrong course after graduation and probably while building a career in a given field.

Thus, this is to subtly correct this impression. There is every possibility that you will realize you studied a wrong course years after graduating from the University.

Perhaps you loved studying the course, but it dawned on you that it’s the wrong degree in that it won’t get you the job you want. In cases like this, transitioning to certain professions will require a conversion course. Where it doesn’t work out, enrolling for postgraduate study is the next perfect option.


Coming to the realization that you choose a wrong course can be quite frustrating. The feeling is worse if it was realized later.

Choosing a wrong course is the greatest academic mistake made by a lot of people especially if handled wrongly. In a situation where you studied hard to get the course just to realize later on that you can’t cope with it no matter how hard you try, it may lead to depression and discouragement. Many times, a lot of people don’t get to find their feet afterwards. In other words, that marks the end of their academic pursuit.

I don’t want this to be your case. This is why this article was written to help you out.

On realizing you are studying or have studied a wrong course, do not panic. Calm your nerves. This gives you the room to reflect and know the next step to take. This is not something you might want to handle all by yourself, so, get competent people involved. They could be your lecturers, trusted family member(s), etc. Two good heads will always be better than one.

Depending on the issue, you can either choose to change course while still in the same institution or you change to a different University entirely.

Another thing to do is to go for a postgraduate degree.

I understand you might be worried about the time wasted and money involved but believe it or not, anything to avoid a lifetime career unhappiness and unfulfillment is worth the sacrifice. I hope this helps.

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