I wonder what I should sign up for this year? Oh, wait. I’m a transfer student, and this is my senior year in college. What am I thinking? I quickly look up the general education courses for my current university.
I’m pretty sure I am not the only transfer student with these thoughts right now. Although this is my senior year of college, it feels like this could be my sophomore year all over again. Most of the past year was spent catching up to my degree plan.
There is nothing wrong with changing colleges and universities. The truth is that life happens as you get older. With the end of mandatory free education in high school, you may find it more fiscally responsible to change schools. You might also have a movie moment and chase the love of your life across the country. In my case, I grew up a little and found my interests pointing to a different school.
If you are considering a transfer to another college or university, then here are some tips.
• Try to honestly consider the financial impact of a transfer. Some scholarships are specific to the college or university, so you may lose some of the scholarships you have with the end of attendance.
• Try to consider the social impact of a transfer. Most colleges gear mixers specifically towards freshmen. Over time, those students build social connections that help increase college retention rates. When you choose to transfer to another college or university, the belief is that you are serious about your education. Fortunately, social media websites have made it easier to maintain friendships after transferring schools. By leaving your current academic institution, however, you are starting over. It is like freshmen year all over again, except you already understand the need for shower shoes and roommate contracts.
• Take a serious look at your credits. Consider how much time you will have to reinvest into your education. For example, the majority of my credits transferred, but not all of my coursework applies to the degree plan at my current school. My new university’s degree plan also includes coursework that I did not have to take at my previous school, so I have to catch up to graduate. I felt that the benefits were greater than time I would lose, so I transferred.
Transferring from one university to another has given me the best of both worlds. I still feel that small freshman adrenaline rush from going somewhere new. I know what to watch out for in a dorm, wisdom that I will kindly pass on when necessary (and withhold when it is funny). Even though I rarely execute a semester perfectly, I know what it takes to make good grades while having fun.
As an added bonus, I am significantly closer to finishing my degree plan than I was three years ago. For me transferring schools has been a mostly positive experience. With these tips, the experience could be the same for you.