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? It can be difficult transferring colleges, especially if you’re unsure of what you want to study. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier on yourself, though. First, research the school you’re interested in and make sure it has the program you want to study. Secondly, reach out to friends or family who may have gone through the process before. Finally, make sure you’re prepared for the financial aspect of transferring colleges. It can be difficult to make the transition, but if you do your research and plan ahead, it can be a successful experience. Consider these 5 questions further before deciding to transfer colleges. What are your exact reasons for wanting to transfer? There are a variety of reasons why someone might want to transfer colleges. Maybe you’re not happy with your current school, you’re not challenged academically, or you’re looking for a change of scenery. College can be a big shock to the system. And, it can scare many students away from higher education altogether. Before you panic and think that college isn’t right for you — 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. Once you’ve decided that transferring is the right choice for you, the next step is to figure out which school you want to transfer to. What is it that you want out of your college experience? Do you want a smaller school or a bigger one? A school in the city or the country? One with a strong athletics program or one with a diverse student body? Are you looking for academic stimulation, a thriving social scene or a strong Greek life? Once you know what you’re looking for, research colleges that fit that criteria. You should also consider the type of program you want to study. Make sure the school you’re interested in has the right program for you. For example, if you want to study engineering, you’ll want to make sure the school has a strong engineering program. 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. Reading student reviews may help you get a feel for what prospective schools are really like. 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? When you’re looking at colleges to transfer to, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. A school may look good on paper, but is it really that different or better than your current school? When you visit campus, pay attention to your gut feeling. Do you feel like you belong there? 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. Will your current college credits transfer? This is a common concern for students who are thinking about transferring colleges. If you are transferring from a community college to a 4 year state college, typically most credits will transfer, but it’s important to do your research to make sure. Check to see if your prospective school has an articulation agreement with your current school. This means that they’ve agreed to accept credits from your school. If your credits will not transfer, you will need to decide if you’re willing to retake certain courses or possibly extend your studies an extra semester or longer. Another option is to consider taking summer courses at your prospective school while you’re still enrolled at your current school. This can help you get ahead and make the transition a little smoother. What are the financial costs of transferring? The cost of transferring colleges can be a big factor in your decision. If you’re currently receiving financial aid, find out how much aid you would be eligible for at your prospective school. The financial aid options may be different for transfer students. For example, some schools may not offer scholarships specifically for transfer students. You may have to apply for general financial aid or loans. Before you make your final decision, sit down and calculate the estimated cost of tuition, room and board, and other fees. This will help you figure out if transferring is within your budget. So… is it hard transferring colleges? It can be. 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. Just make sure you’ve read the things to consider before transferring school and the guide to transferring college. 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!