Breaking up is hard to do: deciding to transfer colleges

By Lwilliams
06/10/2015
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Sometimes we simply fall for the wrong one. Other times they're only meant to be in our lives for a short time — to help us grow, learn about our strengths and weaknesses, and leave us with the opportunity to move on to something bigger and better. And then there are those that just need a chance to prove they were “the one” all along. Are we getting too sappy? There’s no need to get out the tub of ice cream just yet. We’re not talking about failed relationships — we’re talking about college. How do you know when it’s right to transfer colleges and when you should stay? Be sure to consider these things before writing that “Dear John” letter to your current school.
  1. What are your exact reasons for wanting to transfer?

    This could be one of the most important questions to ask yourself. College can be a big shock to the system, and it can be enough to scare many students away from higher education altogether. Before you panic and think that college isn’t right for you (whether it’s the one you’re at or all of them) — give yourself time to adjust. If after a semester or two you still can’t seem to find your groove at school, begin to search for other possibilities.
  2. What is it that you want out of your college experience?

    Are you looking for academic stimulation, a thriving social scene, strong Greek life, or a small-town feel? Trying to figure out what you want out of your college experience will help you decide if a transfer is the right move. If you feel like your current school can't offer you what you want, search for schools that can. We recommend reading student reviews to get a feel for what prospective schools are really like.
  3. Is the new school really that different or better?

    If you already have another school in mind, what is it that makes that school stand out? How is it different from your current school? Whether you’re going from one college to another, or advancing from a community college to a four-year university, decide if the move is a true improvement and different enough to make the transfer worthwhile. Otherwise, you may end up right where you left off.
  4. Will your current college credits transfer?

    After all, you’ve put in all those class hours and work. Be sure to check if your prospective school offers your major and will accept your college credits. If not, you will need to decide if you’re willing to retake certain courses or possibly extend your studies an extra semester or longer.
  5. What are the financial costs of transferring?

    While it’s important to consider the difference in cost in credit hours, there are some other cost factors you should look into, too. The financial aid options may be different for transfer students. What are you currently getting in financial aid and what can you expect to get at your prospective school? Figuring out your best Return on Education (ROE™) could help you make a more informed decision.
Transferring colleges is a tough decision, but we have great news. There’s no right or wrong answer. Your experience is just that — yours! Your time at college is what you make of it. So, whether you decide to stay or go, throw yourself into the experience wholeheartedly and with a positive attitude. Seek out hobbies, find friends, and push yourself to succeed. While it’s easy to get caught up worrying about the end goal, remember to enjoy the journey, too!

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