“Should I transfer colleges?”
Ah, so you’re thinking about pulling a Barack Obama, are you? A Lucy Liu? A Warren Buffet? ’Cuz FYI, all three of them were transfer students at one point.
Obviously, famous people aren’t the only ones who ultimately decide to transfer schools. Millions of students transfer every year for any number of reasons. Some students realize that their school can’t support their social or academic needs, while others are simply transferring from community college to a university to get their bachelor’s degree.
No matter what your reasons are for wanting to transfer colleges, it’s not a decision you should make lightly. Swapping institutions can be seriously draining, both on your well-being and your wallet. Read on for five questions to ask yourself before you make any big decisions.
1. Have I given my current school a fair chance?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to transfer colleges. But if you’ve been on campus for all of two weeks and already want to swap schools, it’s important to figure out why you’re so unhappy.
The first semester of college can be pretty rough, TBH. You’re away from home for the first time and you’re starting to realize how much you took your parents’ cooking for granted. (Dad’s homemade lasagna just hits different.) Stress, homesickness, and loneliness can all start to take their toll.
But before you decide to transfer, make sure that you’re giving your college a fair chance. Get involved in clubs and give yourself permission to adjust to dorm life. If you still feel like you’re in the wrong place after a semester or two, consider taking the next step.
2. Will I lose any credits in the transfer? How many?
One of the biggest downsides of switching colleges is that you may lose credits during the transfer. One study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, on average, students lost an estimated 43 percent of their credits when they transferred colleges.
Colleges with unique curriculums may not accept all or any of your credits, which could mean losing progress towards your degree. Before you make the switch, find out from the school how many credits they will accept and how long it will take you to earn your degree if you decide to transfer.
3. Will my financial aid be impacted?
Ooh, this is another biggie to consider. If you decide to transfer, how will your scholarships be impacted? What about grants, student loans, and other types of financial aid?
Well, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that transferring can negatively impact your financial aid. Just like with credits, you may lose scholarship money and grants during the transfer.
The good news is that you can potentially find and apply for college scholarships that help you pay for your new institution. In fact, there are scholarships available specifically for transfer students, with most awards ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Many schools have transfer counselors who are committed to helping students make a smooth transfer. Get in touch with them and make sure that you know exactly how your financial aid will be impacted.
4. Do I have a good chance of getting into my ideal school?
As a transfer student, you’ll need to figure out how to apply to college all over again. Only this time, the admissions criteria will be somewhat different.
For one thing, it may be more difficult for you to get into the program or institution you want. This is because many schools have higher college GPA requirements in place for transfer students.
But if your GPA is low, don’t give up the idea of transferring just yet. Some institutions (such as Colorado State University) will take the student’s circumstances into account when making admissions decisions, which means you may still have a chance.
5. How can I choose the right school the second time around?
Start by asking yourself what you liked and didn’t like about your institution. For example, maybe you realized that you had a difficult time making friends because the class sizes were too large. In that case, maybe attending a liberal arts college would be more to your liking.
Related: What Is a Liberal Arts College?
Take some time to think about what is most important to you in a college. And remember to keep your career goals top of mind. After all, that’s why you’re getting an education in the first place!
Finding Your Best Fit School
If you’re unhappy with your current school, transferring colleges can be the best decision you ever make. That being said, the transfer path can be challenging, especially for students who are transferring from one four-year university to another. By asking yourself these questions, you can figure out whether transferring colleges is the right choice for you.
Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock