Finding the right college can be a difficult process; once on campus, some students may discover they haven’t found the perfect match in their first chosen university. There are two main reasons students decide to transfer to another school. The first is because they don’t enjoy the campus environment and are unhappy. The other is because the college doesn’t have a program for their desired major. Because of this, it’s fairly common for students to transfer colleges once.
But what do you do when you’ve already transferred once or twice and have yet to land in a school that feels like a good fit?
If you are a second-time transfer, you probably want to make sure you get it right this time. It’s important to remember that your experience at any school is highly dependent on what you make of it. There are some key things you can do to ensure you settle in to your new college and finally feel at home. Keep reading for tips on how to decide which school is right for you and ways to make the transfer process as enjoyable as possible.
1. Aim Accordingly
Many people are under the impression that it’s more difficult to get accepted as a college transfer student. Here’s some good news: That isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, the acceptance rate for transfers versus freshman year newcomers is about the same so don’t be afraid to apply to your dream school out of fear that you won’t be accepted.
2. Do Some Research
Before you decide where to apply, spend some time doing research on which schools most attract transfer students. By choosing a program with many students who may be in the same position as you, you are less likely to feel like a fish out of water. Furthermore, by doing this research you will not only see how common college transfers are, but also ensure you find a school that caters to new transfers.
3. Plan Ahead
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to go through the process of transferring. If you leave things up to the last minute, you’ll be more likely to settle. For assistance throughout your transfer, contact academic advisors at your target schools to ask questions and get advice.
4. Apply for Scholarships
Did you know that there are scholarships specifically for college transfer students? If you haven’t taken advantage of these opportunities before, now is the time. To learn about the scholarships for transfer students that you may qualify for, do some online research and be sure to set aside plenty of time to fill out applications. If you are awarded a scholarship, your college transfer may end up saving you money in the long run.
5. Apply for Financial Aid
Along with external scholarship opportunities specifically for college transfer students, many universities offer financial aid for their incoming transfers. To find out what opportunities may be available to you, contact the admissions office to ask for more information on any grants or scholarships available. While this will require additional time spent on applications, it will be worth it in the long run.
6. Find a School That’s Looking For You
Many colleges are now targeting college transfer students for recruitment. Many universities understand that even the most researched decision before freshman year can still wind up being the wrong fit. Transfer students tend to know precisely what they are looking for in a college and can make an educated decision on which program is best for them, guaranteeing that they will contribute to the learning environment and graduate.
7. Live On-Campus
While many third and fourth year college students make the decision to shift to off-campus living, it’s important that transfer students opt to continue living on-campus. Not only will this help you become oriented with the campus, it will also encourage you to become a part of the community. Making friends and feeling involved are two key factors that will help you settle in and feel comfortable. While you should definitely prioritize your academics, you should also get involved in social activities, especially during the fun part of the year like dressing up for Halloween!
8. Get Involved
There are plenty of on-campus activities that will help transfer students stay active and make new friends. From intramural sports teams to clubs to sororities/fraternities, participating in an extracurricular that you enjoy will keep you busy and engaged on your new campus.
9. Understand the Transfer of Credits
Before you commit to any one school, it’s important to check with academic advisors at your target school(s) about which of your completed credits will transfer. You’ve already dedicated your time and money to completing specific courses so the more that will count toward your new degree, the better. Take this into consideration before deciding which school you’ll attend.
10. Don’t Be Too Cool for Orientation
Before your first day, ask your new school if they offer an orientation for transfer students. Like freshman year orientation, transfer orientation is your opportunity to become acquainted with your new college. Take a campus tour, ask questions about class enrollment, explore housing options, and more. Some of the most popular college towns in the nation like the Denver, CO, area and Tempe, AZ, have limitless things to do for both students and families.
11. Explore Your New College Town
While college and campus life will be your main focuses, it’s likely that the new town you live in has some interesting things to do. Not only will you have the opportunity to meet people outside of your courses, but you’ll also get to show off your new digs when your family comes to visit!
While transferring schools can often feel like starting over, use these tips to pick up where you left off and make the most of your new college. You’ll feel right at home in no time.
– Abigail G.