Changing the Course of Study - Am I Studying the Right Thing?

  Academic advisor advises a student RWTH Aachen  

Situation Analysis and Cause Study

A change in your course of study should occur as early on as possible. However if should not be executed without reflection of current feelings of frustration or panic. You should absolutely clarify the following before changing your course of study:

From the school desk to the lecture hall: Are you dissatisfied because of the subject or because your new learning environment?

Difficulties in studies do not always result directly from the chosen course of study. First year students should particularly ask themselves if the difficulties that have arisen are primarily due to their start and adaption issues with the university learning environment. These are adjustment difficulties, that are conditional on the switch from school to university, such as problems with time and self managements, missing learning strategies when dealing with high amounts of material and content, and academic demands, personal difficulties with the new life situation, and more.

Ask the professionals: Departmental Advising and the Student Advice Centre

If you are doubting your aptitude for the chosen course of study and additionally have the feeling that you do not measure up to the performance demands in the chosen subject, you should not carry these uncertain feelings around with you. Check if your uncertainty rather than your own relief as soon as possible. Talk for example, with the departmental advisors from the respectiv course of study or contact the Student Advice Centre.


Student Advice Centre building


+49 241 80 94050



Failing the First Exam: Seek Advising Rather Than Changing Your Subject

As a first year student you should consider the following: Do not evaluate it as a personal weakness, if you do not pass the first exam in your course of study. Such an interpretation is premature and requires more careful review.

University or University of Applied Sciences?

A series of courses of study, above all in the technical field, can also be studied at a university of applied sciences. If, despite the arisen and grave difficulties, you are interested in the chosen course of study and the related career fields, you may want to consider transferring to a university of applied sciences. You should first speak with someone in the Student Advice Centre. Furthermore, you should visit lectures at the university of applied sciences and contact the departmental advising there. The examination board of the course of study in question at the university of applied sciences is responsible for recognizing any of your academic performance as valid for studies at a university of applied sciences.

A Question Motivation?

A question of motivation for the course of study in a central point students should very much consider, if they are having doubts. Why did you pick this course of study? What induced you to do so? How interested are you in the content and topics of subject? How strong is your desire to attain the originally planned career goal? The enthusiasm and interest for the subject as well as identification with the career goal are the most important driving factors, for accepting the difficulty of studies and overcoming the difficulties.


Consequences for Changing Your Subject


If you receive Bafög, you should definitely seek advising early on from the Bafög office before changing your course of study. You must have changed your course of study by the end of the third core semester. If you change your course of study later, the funding will be discontinued. You should avoid changing your course of study as an temporary solution or without detailed reflection.

Job Market

An early change in your course of study is understandable for many employers and personnel managers, since an incorrect decision is recognized and quickly fixed in theses cases.

Employers and personnel managers negatively regard

  • multiple changes to your course of study
  • a change in your course of study during your main studies or right before the end of your studies.