Deciding where to attend university can be a hard choice to make, but what is less often spoken about is the difficulty that comes with deciding to switch universities: “Which uni should I transfer to? When should I switch? If I move, will I regret my decision? If I stay, will I miss out on an awesome opportunity?” Hi, my name is Steph and welcome to my inner dialogue circa 2018.
After graduating high school, I started studying in Melbourne with an open mind and an eager attitude. I expected to make friends, go to parties, learn about my chosen area of interest, and get involved in extracurricular activities. I was prepared for the ‘highlight reel’ of first-year uni. After a few weeks, I realised that my expectations weren’t going to be met. Although disappointed, I continued my usual routine of going to class, sitting with my one friend, and returning home.
To some extent, I was enjoying my university experience, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could be enjoying it far more elsewhere.
For simplicity’s sake, I wish I could say I knew straight away that I wanted to leave – that I wanted to come to Bond, move away from my family and friends, and study interstate. However, the decision to switch universities was a lot more complex. For me, the decision was difficult because I had to acknowledge that by staying put, I was being complacent. Because I was not necessarily unhappywith where I was studying, switching universities was not an obvious choice. For me, the decision ultimately came down to one question: would I be happier and more fulfilled studying elsewhere?
Ultimately, my decision to switch to Bond and start my dual degree was the right one, but it wasn’t easy. If you’re considering switching, it’s important you go into it with your eyes wide open. Here are seven things I wish I’d been told to consider when I was making my decision.
1. Degree offerings
In Melbourne I was studying a psychology degree. When I started considering Bond as an option, I began to reflect upon this choice. Here are the questions I asked myself to decipher whether I was satisfied with my degree, or whether I could be happier studying something else (or in my case, something more).
- Is your current degree fulfilling you?
- Is there a more suitable degree available for you and your future career aspirations?
- Is the degree you want to study offered at the university you’re considering switching to?
- Do you get to study the subjects or major you want?
2. Study environment
A huge factor behind my university switch was wanting to be surrounded by likeminded students. Bond’s small class sizes mean students are motivated to try their best and get the most out of their lectures and tutorials. I love how the small classes let everyone contribute to interesting debates and discussions.
When thinking about switching universities, my recommendation is to consider what inspires you as a learner. Think about:
- Class sizes
- Structure of lectures and tutorials
- Teaching staff
3. Graduate outcomes
The staff at Bond – particularly those from the Career Development Centre (CDC) – are incredible. If you’re seeking industry experience or work opportunities, the staff from the CDC will inform you of available positions, help you with your resume and even offer advice on how to interview for jobs.
When thinking of switching universities, consider:
- In-house career support
- Work opportunities
- The alumni community
4. Campus culture
The ‘vibe’ of a university campus is one of the most important things to weigh up. If I had to describe Bond’s culture in three words, I would say it is positive, encouraging and adventurous.
As a small university, everyone at Bond is friends, so it’s really easy to ‘find your place’. The community at Bond is soinclusive, you can barely walk around campus without bumping into at least five people and having a conversation!
Extracurricular activities are what make uni life exciting. Think about your hobbies and interests, and question whether the university offers activities that align with how you spend your free time.
Does the university have:
When weighing up the pros and cons of switching to Bond, I was nervous to leave Melbourne and fearful of homesickness. But, within the first few days – dare I say hours – of starting at Bond, I realised there was no reason to be nervous. My Bond friends soon became my second family. When considering switching universities, think about the location in light of the new experiences you will gain, as opposed to the things you will miss. This is especially relevant if you are moving interstate or internationally.
- Where is the university located?
- What attractions are in this area?
- Are there good restaurants, cafes or shops nearby?
- How long will it take to travel home?
Although moving interstate was daunting at first, being away from home has allowed me to grow personally, outside of uni life. Switching universities is not just about finding a university suitable to your degree, it is about affording yourself an incredible personal development opportunity.
7. Your unique university experience
Above all, the most important thing to consider is how you can optimise your university experience to meet – or better yet, exceed – your expectations. As a Bondy, I feel privileged to say that my university experience has surpassed all my expectations.
My final piece of advice is to act courageously. The first step to switching universities is to acknowledge that where you are currently studying doesn’t feel quite right. Reassure yourself that not all universities are the same, and that a university that suits your degree, goals and aspirations exists. Have the courage to step out of your comfort zone, because it may be the best decision of your life. This definitely rings true to my experience of switching universities to study at Bond.
A personalised university experience awaits
Are you ready to make the switch like Steph?
Applications for January 2023 are open.