With Intent to Register (ITR) around the corner, do you know what you plan on doing next year? Do you meet the requirements to stay in your program? Did you enjoy your program? There are many reasons to stick with your program and many reasons to switch. Here we discuss some of those reasons.
Did you enjoy what you learned?
There is no point in going through four years of education in something that you don’t find interesting. Consider the classes you liked and the classes you didn’t. Did you hate most or all of the classes that were required for your program? That might be an indication that this isn’t the program for you. Maybe you really loved an elective you took. Is there a program that will allow you to take more classes like it? So as a general rule, if you hate your required courses, switch programs, most of the time. It is also possible that you are really looking forward to classes down the road in your program even though you didn’t like your first year classes. That is an indication that maybe you should stick it out another year and see if you prefer second year. The recurring theme you’ll notice throughout this article is that it is OK to switch programs; it’s quite normal actually. So don’t feel bad about it. But also don’t jump into a new program without really analyzing if you’ll prefer it over your current program.
Did you do well in your classes?
Often times, people will do better in classes that they’re interested in, so this point relates to the one above. Generally, if you found every single one of your courses really difficult and you didn’t do well in any of them, you might consider exploring options for other programs. Don’t jump the gun on this one though. Many many many students do far worse than they expected in their first year of university. Many many many students also increase their marks significantly in second year. Reflect on your difficulty with your courses and try and consider if you can see yourself doing better next year but practicing smarter study habits. If you did really well in all your required courses, that is probably an indication that you find them interesting and that you should stay in your program. Peoples’ brains also work differently and are able to grasp certain concepts much easier than others. If you’re lucky and your brain grasps the major concepts of the classes in your program, then you’re all set! Stick with it.
Do you have the requirements to stay in your program?
Some students end up not quite meeting the requirements to stay in their program. Maybe they got a 55% in a course that required at least a 60%, or their overall average was below the 75% cutoff. A student that doesn’t meet the requirements can do one of two things: try again next year, or switch into a different program. It is definitely best to consult an academic counsellor on this one. Be sure to book an appointment early on this on though, because academic counselling gets busier and busier the closer we get to ITR. It is also a good idea to know the requirements of your program at the beginning of the year. That way you can set a clear goal of minimum achievement to stay in your program. Obviously, you should always do the best you can, but you might be extra motivated to increase you grades those extra few percentage points of you know you’re hovering around the minimum cutoff. If you and your academic counsellor decide it’s best that you switch into a new program, that is OK! You might thrive in your new program, and if you’re doing better, you might find school a whole lot less stressful too.
Have your career aspirations change?
During your time in first year, it is possible that you discovered something you didn’t previously know you were passionate about. If that’s the case, you might consider pursuing a career in it, and perhaps your current program isn’t the right one! That being said, many careers don’t require a specific degree, just a degree in general. You should hesitate to switch programs without considering the drawbacks because it could often mean that you are extending your undergraduate degree by a semester or two. But then again, you might be so sure of this new goal of yours that possibly extending your degree by a few months doesn’t bother you!
So you might have read this article and concluded that it didn’t come to any conclusions! That is true, and that is because each person, their program, and their aspirations are so different. Really, the best thing you can do is to go talk to your academic counsellor. They will help you consider the benefits and drawbacks of all the program switches you are considering and help you come to a comforting conclusion.