What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

Here's what to consider: You're giving up the known for the unknown You may not be able to transfer all your credits Amount of financial aid you'll get Friends you'll leave behind Did I weigh all the pros & cons, and is this the best course to take If the ends will be justified by the means, go for it! This can be a life-changing experience, so make the most of it, and always consider the previous sentence.

Scott Herrmann-Keeling
College Counselor

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

Consider how much of the reason for wanting to transfer is you and how much is your school. It's hard to take a good, honest look at yourself and your situation, but if you're considering a transfer, that's what you should do. Ask yourself why you're unhappy and whether there is anything you can do improve your situation at your current institution. Are your primary concerns social? Academic? Something else? Are you having trouble making friends? What will be different at a new school that you can't do at your current one? Are you feeling unchallenged academically? Can you approach professors and/or look into opportunities for research or other outside of the classroom experiences? Be sure the best solution to your problems is elsewhere otherwise you may find yourself in a similar situation with different scenery.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

Before deciding to transfer it's important to find out how many (if any) of your current credits will transfer to your new school. Also, it's important to consider the reasons why you want to transfer and make sure transferring is the best solution. For example, if you're having roommate issues or don't like getting up for 9am classes, chances are these things won't change just because you've transferred schools.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

If you're transferring from a two-year to a four-year college, all of the considerations for choosing a "best fit" college apply. Be sure to choose schools that offer the programs, activities and atmosphere that will enable you to thrive (and be sure you can transfer most if not all of your lower-division coursework). If you're transferring between 4-year colleges, take an honest look at what's motivating you to switch schools. Are you moving to escape a social situation? Did you get discouraged by a bad quarter or semester? Are you feeling pulled away by a family situation or the desire to be with someone far away? Transferring is a time consuming process and will result in big change. You will, essentially, be starting all over again. You will likely find that some of your coursework at your current school won't transfer to your new school. There will definitely be complications. While transferring might be right for you, make sure it's not a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If possible, give it another semester before you make a decision to move, and see how things look in a few months' time.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

No college is perfect. Be careful not to idolize your new school and demonize your current one. You don’t have to hate a school to leave and your new school will never live-up. Even with solid reasons and reasonable expectations, transferring is harder than just doing the application. I speak from experience having transfered to Rice my junior year. It is hard to learn a new place with new people, traditions, requirements, and standards. It is difficult to leave friends and mentors from your old school. Transferring is a bit like getting a divorce – you wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but in some cases it is the best option. It just isn’t quick or easy.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

Before transferring it is important to check whether credits will be accepted and coursework will be counted at the next institution. In some situations this will be a seamless process, while in other circumstances you may have to lobby a little harder, on your behalf. Make sure that you have a valid reason, all of your paperwork in hand, and initiate a conversation with a transfer counselor before withdrawing prematurely. Be prepared to take summer courses to graduate "on time", or find yourself on the 5-6 year plan because of time lost in credits lost.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

What should students consider before making the decision to transfer?

If you are at a four year college and unhappy, please think carefully before deciding to transfer. Being a freshman is tough. Did you find the right balance of classes? Did you try to join some interesting activities? Did you find a way to exercise? If you are doing everything you can, and you are limited academically, socially, or just plain unhappy, then yes consider transferring. If not, give the college a chance. The earlier you transfer, the more colleges will rely on high school and test scores. The later you later you transfer--sophomore year--the more colleges will rely on your college experiences--so do well academically, use your summers, get involved on and off campus. Transferring is complex, and you need to track all requirements for the colleges to which you hope to transfer. See our transfer tips: getmetocollege.org/transfer