What are my options?

Frequently asked questions

We've compiled a list of common problems that students have talked to us about in the past. We suggest some possible solutions. Remember, always talk to someone before you make a decision about major changes to your enrolment.

I know being at uni is a good opportunity but I'm not sure if it's the right place for me.

Getting used to uni takes time. Some people adjust quickly and others take a little longer to connect to their course, their campus and to make friends. In fact, experiencing loneliness is not uncommon in the first weeks of study. There are things you can do to settle into uni life:

I'm struggling with my subjects.

Many students can feel overwhelmed early in their degree, when they are engaging with the academic content of courses and also adjusting to the independent learning style required at university. This transition period takes longer for some than it does for others. If you find that you are having difficulties with your subjects, here are some options.

  • Consider your timetable - how much time do you have to spend studying each week? What are your study habits like? Are you trying to do too much at once?
  • Manage deadlines using the assignment calculator.
  • Speak with your Tutor and Lecturer during their consultation time. Prepare specific questions you have about the course content to ask so that they can help you
  • Tap into expert knowledge and great resources through Student Learning.
  • See a (PLA) Peer Learning Advisor for help with structuring assignments, study techniques and general concepts and themes

If you're not sure who you should speak to, the ASK La Trobe Team for your College can direct you to the relevant university service or College Course Coordinator.

I want to make a change but don't want to fall behind.

Many students worry that transferring into another degree may result in 'falling behind'. As far as the university is concerned all students must complete their degree within a particular time frame - that is double time plus one. This means that a student undertaking 1 one year program would need to complete in 3 years and a student undertaking a 4 year degree would need to complete in 9 years. (4 x 2 =8, 8 +1=9). Students need to be enrolled, or on leave, for each semester.

Transferring or starting a new degree is just that, starting a new degree. While you may get some credit for relevant subjects you studied previously, you may not be credited with everything that you've studied at university to date.

It is best to think of the new degree as a new venture and consider any advanced standing or credit you get awarded in that degree for previous studies as a bonus.

I'm not sure what kinds of jobs my course might lead to.

Having a clear goal to work towards can be a great motivating factor while studying. Online information about 'What can I do with a career in...? is a good starting point.

I need help researching my career options or making a career decision.

Have a chat with a Careers and Employability Adviser. They're here to listen and help you work out what's right for you, and how you might get there. The Career Drop-in sessions on your campus are a great place to start.

I'm worried about making the wrong decision.

Skill and practice can help you to make decisions that are right for you. It can be useful to talk with a trusted friend, family member, teacher, or mentor who understands your strengths. Consulting a Careers and Employability Adviser can help you clarify your interests, skills and next steps. Be mindful of important dates and deadlines but try not to rush your decisions.

Balancing study, work and relationships feels really difficult.

Worries about personal issues and relationships can impact upon your studies. Sometimes it really helps to have someone to talk to. La Trobe's Counselling Service can provide assistance during tough times and includes an out-of-hours helpline.

You can also find excellent information on health and life issues at

There's another degree I'd like to transfer into.

Great - the next step is to find out the details. Each degree has specific entry requirements. This is no different to when you first applied to study at La Trobe. Some degrees require that applicants for transfer complete a full year (120 credit points of study) prior to applying and others do not. Some courses allow mid-year transfer and others do not. There are also application deadlines to meet.

Research the course you're interested in by looking online at the University Handbook to find out more. What's involved? Does it match your interests and capabilities? Do you meet the entry requirements? What else do you need to do or find out?

Make some time to discuss your findings and questions with ASK La Trobe, a Careers and Employability Adviser, or a Course Adviser.

You'll find info about transfers at ASK La Trobe FAQs online.

I'm worried about the cost of studying.

The costs of education are not small and the online fee calculator can help you estimate your fees. Even students deferring fees via HECS and FEE-Help still face the costs of text books and day to day living expenses.

The new students' website can assist you with developing your own budget and has links to some helpful apps and services. Once you have your budget worked out think about how much time you need to allocate to paid work, and how much time you can realistically devote to your studies.

If you are experiencing significant financial worries, see if you are eligible for emergency assistance.

I think I need to take a year off!

At La Trobe you can generally take up to one year's leave from study through a Leave of Absence. This may give you time to earn some money, go travelling, work out what it is that you wish to do next or just re-energise and become reinvigorated and ready to study again.

If you are thinking about taking a Leave of Absence from your course, consider your options carefully, get advice from university staff and talk it through before making a final decision.

If you decide to take time off it is essential to apply for leave, otherwise you run the risk of incurring fees for subjects you're still enrolled in or worse still, you may be considered to have abandoned your degree. So make sure you wait for formal notification of the outcome of your application before heading overseas. You will need to ask for leave prior to census date in a teaching period to avoid paying fees for the subjects you are not intending to complete.

Find out about applying for Leave of Absence.

What will be different if I change my degree?

Thinking about what will be different and what will be the same is an important part of your decision-making about university study.

Before opting to make a change take time to think about what needs to change and what will remain the same. After all, the regime of study, balancing work, family and friends will all remain as will any habits (good and bad) you have picked up as a student. Reflect on all the things you will need to continue to do, and what you can do differently to develop your potential.