March 18, 2015

To Be or Not to Be...A Transfer Student?

Deciding whether or not to transfer schools was a very difficult decision to make and something that took a lot of my time, energy, and thought (even before the many applications and forms). I found that very few resources were available to me while I was attempting to make that decision, so I thought that I would share some advice/tips I have for what to consider when considering a transfer. Update: I miss New York so much, and the aftermath of transferring proved to be quite difficult. I know that transferring was a part of God's plan for me because I was meant to spend time with a loved one who suddenly got very ill, and I discovered my career path at my current school. More on that here. 

+ Define your reasons for wanting to transfer.
First and foremost, you need to pinpoint exactly what your reasons are for transferring. Not liking your roommate or feeling overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) academically are not really sufficient reasons for transferring. Chances are very likely that you won't be stuck living with the same person for four years or stuck in an academic rut for eight semesters, but you shouldn't have to change who you are to fit in somewhere or stay somewhere where you aren't happy. 

+ Know what your other options will be. 
Do your research! This is absolutely critical. Why did you choose your university in the first place? What were you most excited about? Was it one of your top choices, or was it one of your back-up schools? Make sure that whatever school(s) you are considering transferring to offer your major/program and will accept the credits you have already earned. Look up university statistics like the freshmen retention rate, the graduation rate, and hiring percentages post-grad, particularly in your area(s) of interest. It won't look good if you transfer from two schools (and you don't want to complete a bunch of paperwork and pay an application fee for no reason), so you want to make absolutely certain you are getting what you want in this second school. Visit the campus, talk to admissions officers— treat the process the same way you treated applying to college as a high school senior. 

+ Discuss your situation with others who know you well. 
This is most definitely a personal decision and one that you must make for yourself, but there is nothing wrong with asking a trusted friend or your parents for their opinions. Where do they see you attending school and why? Do they think that your reasons for wanting to transfer are valid? Why or why not? Hearing others' thoughts might help you see a new perspective on things.

Finally, make a list of pros and cons of your university (and perhaps others you are considering transferring to). This will help you to prioritize your reasons for wanting to transfer and help you to more clearly reflect on whether they are worthwhile.

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