For new transfer students, presenting yourself professionally can be a daunting task. For starters, you don’t even have a GPA in your first quarter or semester, let alone positions in the clubs or organizations you’re interested in. Standing out amongst students who have had the time to establish themselves on campus is difficult.
The best course of action is to jump right in—as a transfer student, you were able to research the campus, what you wanted to major in, and even the organizations you wanted to join. Make use of these opportunities you’ve discovered and hit the ground running, especially as events like the Involvement Fairs and Career Fairs are early in the year.
Undoubtedly, you’ll be applying for a multitude of things, from positions to jobs. Here are some ideas of how you can tell your story to your peers, employers, and professors:
- Talk about your journey. What happened in your life that impacted what you wanted to pursue? How did you keep pursuing that at your previous institution, and how did this passion lead you to where you are now? Speaking about your “path” will give employers a well-rounded perspective of you.
- Refer to your previous experiences, from your last college or even high school. If you don’t have many (or any) experiences to put on your resume at your new school, include your accomplishments from your previous institutions. Employers know that you’ve just transferred, and will understand that you do have skills to bring to the table, and will continue pursuing opportunities on your new campus.
- Focus on the positives. As you speak about your previous experiences, don’t talk about the negative aspects of your last institution. Focus on how your experiences helped you grow, leading you to make the decision to transfer. Having a positive attitude and showing your willingness to adapt will encourage those around you to lend a helping hand, especially as you navigate the campus for the first time.
Of course, this is easier said than done. I know that my plans as an applicant didn’t pan out in my first semester in terms of my clubs or classes. The most important thing is to push yourself to try new things and immerse yourself into your new campus, despite the difficulties you might face. Over time, you’ll gain new experiences and stories to share and update your resume with. Combining these with your transfer background and story will help you stand out from the crowd.
– Michelle L.