After the holiday celebrations fade away, some college freshmen and sophomores question whether the college or university they selected is the right fit. Transferring may come to mind. However, transferring is a big decision and should not be considered a quick fix to an unhappy college experience.
Before a student delves into the transfer process, it is important to reflect on his/her current college experience and ask some difficult questions. First, why do you want to transfer? Will transferring rectify your unhappiness or do you need to change your expectations and make a concerted effort to find happiness and success?
Common reasons students consider transferring
- Want to change majors/programs which current college doesn’t offer
- The academic support services do not fit needs
- The location and/or size is not right for needs or wants
- The overall social climate is not a good fit
- Too far from home— not just mild homesickness but for other reasons
Try to make the current situation work
- Seek out help from professors and/or academic services
- Get involved by joining clubs and participating in campus wide activities
- Meet a variety of people (not just dorm-mates)
- Switch roommates (If the living situation is unbearable)
If transferring is the right decision, how do I start the process?
- Do your research!
- Get the facts about applying as a transfer student. The transfer student application process is very different from the first year college application.
- Know transfer acceptance rates (very low at highly selective colleges)
- Mark deadlines for transfer applications (not the same as first year students)
- Research application requirements (high school/college transcripts, SAT/ACT, professors’ recommendations, transfer specific essays, etc.)
- Investigate housing options for transfer students. Many colleges/universities don’t guarantee housing for transfer students
- Research what credits will transfer at prospective colleges
- Investigate whether transfer students are eligible for merit scholarships at colleges of interest
Not everyone finds his/her right fit college immediately. Even if you did your homework, visited your “dream” college several times, had a college overnight, attended classes, and spoke to faculty and students, sometimes the school just isn’t the right fit. Living on campus as a full time student is very different from being a visitor. If you are very unhappy at your current college or university and made a concerted effort to make it work, then transferring may be the right decision for you. If you need help navigating the transfer process Admissions on Track can help!
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