What to do if you are unhappy with your college course

You’re panicking. Your CAO choices weren’t as well thought out as they should have been. Now you’re in college and you hate everything about your course. Or maybe you’re further on and have slowly grown to despise what you do. What do you do if you hate your course?

First Year

You do have an option to switch course early on. This might not cost anything in the first few weeks but it may affect your grant entitlements. Careersportal.ie says, “This usually works best if the transfer is between two similar courses, subject or programme areas. However, beyond certain dates colleges can’t facilitate this.”

Leaving now will affect your eligibility for a grant if you go onto do another course. If you’re in first year and drop out now, you won’t be eligible for one until second year of your next course. If you’re in second year, you won’t be eligible till third and so on.

Careersportal.ie explains, “If you change courses and repeat first year in college you will pay the full cost for that repeat year – a total of approx. €8,000.”

That’s a massive thing for a lot of people who can’t go to college for even a year without a grant. If that’s you, you’re options are limited. Really, you’d have to spend most of the time you’re not in college working.

Your tutors will be able to tell you what’s coming up on the course. The reason you’re having trouble could be because you don’t like first year’s modules. You might find what’s being studied in further years much more interesting.

Later Years

If you’re further on in your course and are realising that despising your course isn’t just a phase then you’re still not drifting without a motor.

You might never be able to go back to a university but doing something you love at a lower level, such as a FETAC course, could lead you onto better things. The courses don’t cost anywhere near as much either.

Diarmuid Haughian of careerguidance.ie says it’s best to stick out your degree anyway, “You will always have that base qualification which can also be used to claim credits on other courses and perhaps skip a year or two on another course.”

Finishing your degree is another option. Work in a job related to it and go back to college part time for another degree or to do a post-grad. Juggling a job and study will be hard and part time will obviously take longer but if it’s a choice between doing that for a few years and then doing something you like for the rest of your life or staying at something you despise, you’re probably better off doing a bit more study.

Haughain says to not give up to easily, “Seek help and let the course administrators, the course head and your family know that you are struggling. Speak up and also let your fellow students know and join support groups.”

Colm Quinn

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