While some of you may be waiting on word from your top choice schools this year, others may be facing a different predicament entirely: transferring to a program that better meets your needs. With transfer application deadlines looming, you may be asking yourself whether or not transferring colleges is a viable option.
Today’s guest post centers, contributed by Lan Ngo and Chris Goodmacher (the people behind thetransferbook.com), centers on that very subject. We’d like to thank them for sharing their wisdom, and encourage you to visit their site to learn more about their transfer book and tips.
Ivy Eyes Editing
If you want to transfer out of your current college, you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of students transfer each year. While most of those students transfer from a community to junior college to a four-year college or university, a lot of students also transfer from one four-year school to another.
Students transfer out of their four-year colleges or universities to go to another four-year institution for many reasons. The main reason is that their current school is simply not the best fit for them. A great school might not be a great school for everyone, including you. There are two dimensions to this comment.
First, academically speaking, your college or university might have rich, rigorous programs, but maybe what you want to major in isn’t available. It’s common for freshmen to come in “undeclared.” In fact, roughly 50% of freshman applicants enter college as undeclared, according to Karen Wolf’s CliffNotes Roadmap to College. Once given a chance to explore college, many undergrads discover what they want to study, but some are dismayed to find that their dream major isn’t even offered at their current school. Maybe you’ve realized that you want to major in Journalism, but the closest thing at your current school is English Literature. In a situation like this, it might be a good time to say to your college or university, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
Second, in terms of academics, your college or university might be everything you dreamed it would be. On the other hand, the social scene might make you feel like fish out of water. Yes, your social life is THAT important. We forget that college is where you go to not only learn, but also to live, develop character, and socialize. Maybe you just don’t jive well with the student body, or the cultural environment isn’t conducive to your developing into the person you want to become.
In either case, there’s no shame in admitting that you want to transfer. Some students feel embarrassed and feel that they made a huge mistake. There’s so much hype about freshman applications and pressure to make sure that you get into the “right” college or university, but no one ever says, “Look, if it doesn’t work out at the first place you end up at, it’s okay to look into other schools and transfer out.” However, like one transfer student said, think of your first school as your “starter school” where you’re getting “a risk-free college-trial”.
Once the decision to transfer is made, significant preparation is necessary for a successful transfer application. This means it’s time for Round 2 of the college search. Also, you’ll have to set yourself up for the best application possible. This includes getting to know your professors so that you can ask for recommendations letters and doing well in your courses to present a strong academic record. You would also need plenty of time to brainstorm, write, and edit application essays explaining why you want to transfer. Start early and learn everything you can about the transfer process.
It can be scary to leave your college or university, but why continue going there if you know it’s not the right place for you? Lots of students transfer, and it’s an option you have, too. You’ll be hard pressed to find a transfer student who regrets his or her decision to transfer.
Lan Ngo and Chris Goodmacher write advice for prospective and current college transfer students at TheTransferBook.com.