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Switching Schools

Transferring to a new college can be a big transition, these tips can help.

Kara Nelson

October 18, 2013

Switching Schools
Some students transfer to a new school for personal reasons, while others have to switch from community college after receiving an Associate’s Degree or other certification. Regardless of the reason you’re making a change, transferring to a new college can be a big transition. After getting my Associate’s Degree from my community college, I transferred to a four-year university. To ensure a smoother transition, here is some helpful advice.

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1. Find a school that “fits” you. What did you like most about your last college? Did you like the fact it was small (or big)? Did you like the classes offered, or did they lack your dream major? Try to find what things you liked about your last school and find a new school that meets at least some of these preferences.

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Also, look at what you didn't like about the last college and avoid schools with your dislikes.
For example, if a small library or big classes bothered you, try to find a school with the opposite!

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2. Check your transfer evaluation(s). One of the biggest problems with transferring to a new school, especially if you don’t have an associate’s degree, is credit acceptance. Some colleges will give you credit for most of the classes you’ve taken while others will almost single-handedly erase your hard work rendering your sleepless nights studying for midterms meaningless. Unless you want to start over as little more than a freshman or sophomore, you’ll have to find a college that will accept most or all of your credits. Try to fight for acceptance of the credits, which entails showing class syllabi or demonstrating advanced knowledge in the subject. Sometimes, if you have an Associate’s Degree, the college will waive most or all of its own core requirements, or just require a small amount of classes to still be taken. Generally, the more radical or regional the class, the more unlikely it is to be accepted across the board, compared to more “traditional” classes. Before packing your bags, make sure to check your transfer evaluation! 3. Visit. If possible, visit the college or university you want to transfer to. Sit in on classes and spend some time on the campus to see if you like the school or if you should find another option. 4. Give the Transition Time. After I transferred, I found things to love and dislike right away, and I also found transferring to a larger school a little shocking at first. Give yourself time to adjust. Chill out and find things to appreciate while getting your bearings. If possible, reconnect with friends or make new friends, or join a club, since these things can help with the transition. Good luck with broadening your horizons!

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