School hasn’t panned out the way you had hoped. Whether it is for financial, professional or personal reasons, you want out. Take some time and really think if transferring to a different school is right for you.
Ask yourself why you want to change colleges. Is it a matter of cost? Tuition rises every year, as does the price to live on campus, so would moving to a less expensive school ease the amount of debt you’d be left with upon graduating?
If it’s money that concerns you, try applying for many different scholarships first before signing the transfer papers. Every $500 scholarship counts, and picking up a few of these could make a true difference on the annual bill.
Then think about this: if you are to transfer, are you guaranteed that all of your credits will transfer to the new school? Likely not. So you may end up retaking some classes, which costs money you didn’t exactly need to spend. Unless if you can get all of your credits properly moved, it may not be worth it.
There may be personal reasons for your desire to transfer. Some may be inevitable. If a family member is terribly ill, you may need to move closer to home for a year or two and take care of him or her. Sometimes students who are away from home become homesick and decide they would be more comfortable commuting from home or living close by.
For those who are homesick, it’s usually a temporary case that requires a few weeks to get over. Students sometimes transfer within a month or two of getting on campus because of homesickness without giving the school a fair chance. Although it may be hard at first to adjust to an independent lifestyle so quickly, stick it out as much as possible. Join campus clubs and activity groups to meet people who share interests. Transferring on a whim is not the smartest idea.
If after the first semester you are genuinely unhappy and the school isn’t meeting your expectations -- whether academically, socially, or both -- it would be in your best interest to go elsewhere. Be sure to have good enough grades before you start with the transfer process; earn at least a C in each course to look somewhat decent to the prospective school(s) you’d like to attend.
Like senior year in high school, you’ll need some professor recommendations. The amount will vary by school, but expect to ask for two letters. Only ask professors who know who you are and what you are capable of academically, otherwise you won’t get the most convincing letter from a teacher.
Pay attention to when schools want their applications in by. Some may want them postmarked late in the fall or towards Christmas time, so keep an eye on the calendar.
Although I have never transferred (and certainly do not plan on doing so), from what I have observed it appears many of the students who transfer feel that their needs weren’t being met at their old school, especially at the social level. They may not have had the best luck trying to meet friends like they did when they were little kids or felt like the “odd man out,” so they threw in the towel.
Bottom line is if it’s a personal issue, stick it out for a semester and see if the conditions improve. If not, you would definitely be happier somewhere else. But at least give it a chance.
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