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Transferring Colleges

Sometimes our first choice doesn’t prove to be the best choice.  Sometimes our priorities shift.  Sometimes we simply yearn for a change of scenery.  Sometimes our present situation just feels wrong.  And that’s why, every year across the country, a handful of undergraduates ultimately make the decision to transfer. 

Certainly, there are a myriad of factors that spark the desire to transfer to a new school.  However, before you make the leap, you want to ensure that your motivations are pure and your reasons are substantial. After all, transferring can be a hassle and a headache.  Research and rumination are essential if you’re to enter this transition feeling confident about your overall decision and your impending move.  

Indeed, have an honest conversation with yourself.  Are you truly unhappy at your current school?  Is the social scene unfulfilling?  Have your academic priorities changed?  Does your college lack the resources you need to adequately pursue your goals?  Is the size stifling or overwhelming?  These are all worthwhile and valid concerns.  Just strive to make sure that the answers will be different at a new school.  You don’t want to make a move only to discover you’re in a similar situation yet again. 

It’s also important to understand that when you submit an application for transfer, your high school grades will take a back seat to your college transcript.  Admissions officers will no longer need to try and predict whether or not you’ll be successful in college; they will have the evidence.  Therefore, if you’re hoping to switch schools, it’s imperative that you hit the books and earn great grades.

Additionally, when it comes to securing recommendations, don’t resort to former high school teachers. Instead, you should be prepared to ask a few of your college professors.  After all, admissions offices want the most current feedback possible.  Further, a strong recommendation from university faculty will likely bolster your application.  Indeed, it is certain to highlight your ability to tackle college coursework.  Of course, similar to when you first applied to schools, keep your recommenders abreast of any important dates or deadlines.  And, as always, be sure to thank them profusely for their time and assistance.

Finally, it’s critical that you consider the financial implications of transferring schools.  Historically, colleges often have less scholarship money available for transfer students.  Moreover, you might not be able transfer all of the credits you have accrued, especially if you’ve gotten below a “C” or have already completed more than two years of study.  Therefore, you will need to anticipate whether an extra semester or two or a heftier price tag is something you can afford.  And you’ll need to thoroughly research the policies of all of the new schools you’re considering.

It’s near impossible to predict the future.  Thoughts and tastes change.  Dreams and goals evolve.  You learn and you grow and you mature.  The person you are at the start of your senior year of high school could be leaps and bounds from the person you become as an undergraduate.  Rather than a sign of mistake or failure, the desire to transfer is indicative of feelings and ideas coming into sharper focus.  However, just like the first time you applied, it’s necessary to fully investigate the process in order to make an educated decision.



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Don Munce