College is perceived to be the best time of your life. It is the first time that you get to be independent and live on your own. There’s this high expectation of making lifelong friends, meeting “the one” and having all perfect classes. When for some people, it doesn’t happen like that.
I know that I struggled to find the perfect place for me. My community college was great, but I couldn’t earn my bachelors there. I had to transfer, but the first school I went to wasn’t right. Transferring should not be looked down upon, because it means you realize that a place isn’t right for you. That, and other reasons to transfer schools, are what this post is all about.
One school won’t work for everyone.
Even if you grow up thinking of Harvard (or your state university) as your dream college, it might not be the best place for you. Just because your parents or friends fell in love doesn’t mean that you have to. We all have different personalities and different needs.
Also, just because a school has lots of awards and great instructors is not a guarantee that you will succeed. A lot of factors go into making a school the right fit for a student.
Some schools offer different degrees.
If you start at a fairly small school and end up wanting to major in something not offered, you have no option but to switch schools. There’s no shame in changing your major, it’s actually a blessing that you realized what you want to do while still in college.
If you start at a community college and want to earn a bachelors, odds are you will have to transfer. Certain programs might allow you to take classes on your community college campus, but it would be through a different university. Either way, you have to transfer.
Personal circumstances change.
Maybe you started out at a school across the country but then a family member gets really sick. It could be a smart move to transfer somewhere closer to home. Or maybe you have a rough semester and your financial aid package suffers. Staying out of debt (or at least a ton of debt) could be worth it in the long run if it means transferring.
Things to think about when transferring
If you do decide to transfer, there are a few things you should know about the process and what it can affect (i.e. graduation).
- You might have to retake some classes. If you are transferring within a state, you can probably avoid this. However, if you are moving across the country, you will probably have to retake some basic classes. Not all schools have the same criteria when it comes to evaluating courses, so be sure you know what will transfer or not.
- Your graduation date might change. If it turns out you do have to retake a class or two or your new school has different class offerings, you might graduate later than expected. This is by no means a bad thing; it’s becoming more uncommon for people to graduate in four years. Just know that you might not graduate when you want to.
- The school will be different from your current one. This may sound obvious, but your new school will be different. The campus will look and feel different, it might be bigger or smaller. The people will be different. The buildings will not be the same. Granted, you might want a change of scenery, but don’t expect to know how everything goes at first.
- Making friends will take some effort. Since you are not starting as a freshman, it can be hard to make friends with your classmates. They may have been there since their first semester and have their established friend groups. That doesn’t mean you can’t make friends, but it will take a little effort.
Those are some things to know and think about before you decide to transfer schools. If you have any questions, leave ’em below in the comments, and I would love to help you! Also, be sure to catch up on my previous posts and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) so you don’t miss future updates!