So your first pick wasn’t the right one for you. It might have been the location, the academics, the overall vibe or even just a feeling you had. Either way, it’s never a good decision to stay at a college you don’t feel like you belong at. If your first school wasn’t the right fit, you may consider transferring to another one that will better meet your needs. Lucky for you, we’ve got the inside scoop on switching—from transfer collegiettes themselves! Here are seven pieces of advice for collegiettes considering the switch.
1. Talk with an advisor
There’s no doubt that transferring can be a scary subject, so why not talk to an expert? Set up a meeting with your future advisor to talk about what you need to do to prepare for your transition. Come with some questions you want answered—perhaps about your field of study, whether there's anything you can be doing this summer to get ready for your fall semester and confirming which credits are transferring over with you. Chances are, advisors are going to have some experience with transfer students and know what they should tell you in order to make the most of your experience.
2. Do your research
We know you've already done some in-depth research before making the big decision to transfer, but as you get closer to fall semester at a new school, it's time to delve into the details! The reality is, you might be a little behind compared to students who've already spent a year or more on campus; from social lives to academics, current students will have already established themselves. If you haven't already, plan a trip this summer to visit your new campus to familiarize yourself with the place beyond the general campus tour most prospective students receive.
Most likely, you've already signed up for classes (or will soon). Make sure you're on track to fulfill all the requirements you need to graduate from your new school! Beyond that, look into clubs and organizations on campus, and reach out to the groups' leaders to get more information on how to join, so that you already have extracurricular activities in place before you even start your semester.
3. Live on campus
You might feel like you’ve already gotten your fair share of dorm life (especially if you’re an upperclassman), but you may want to consider signing up for a double on campus at your new school. Tight quarters with strangers may seem a little like you're back in freshman year, but it’s a great way to meet new people and foster relationships.
“Don't be afraid to ask your roommate where things are,” says Braelynne Morrow, who transferred from Saint Lawrence University to Boston University, “and take a tour for yourself to become more familiar with the new school.”
If you’re given the option, definitely consider living on campus, because that's where most of the action happens. Being immersed in the school, its students and the culture will make your experience that much more enriching. This way, you’ll be forced to make new friends and become part of the student body.
4. Get involved
After you’ve scouted out your options, pick a club or two to join! Campus clubs and organizations can be a great place to meet like-minded people.
“Look into everything the school has to offer, even more so than you might have at your previous college,” says Braelynne. Even if you didn’t take part in organizations at your old school—or perhaps especially if you didn’t—doesn’t mean that you won’t be interested in your new college’s clubs either. Each school offers different activities, so be sure to give your new school a chance! You're brand new on campus, so it's especially important to be even more proactive than usual.
5. Stay in touch
Just because you chose to leave your previous school doesn’t mean you should wipe it from your memory! Even if you didn’t have a great experience, recognize the good that came out of your time at your first school—namely, the great friends you made. While it can be heartbreaking to say goodbye to good friends, it’s easier than you think to stay in touch! If you’re feeling out of place or homesick at your new school at first, your friends can be a great resource to go to.
6. Have an open mind
Since you probably didn’t have the best experience the first time around, you may be reluctant when it comes to starting college again. But remember that thinking positively and having an open mind can make your experience all that much better!
“Make sure you stay confident knowing that things will get better,” says Francesca Giordano, who transferred from SUNY Buffalo to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. It might be rough at first, as most big transitions are, but keep in mind that you’ve made your decision for a reason, and things will eventually go uphill.
7. Reflect on your past
We can all learn from our mistakes—so try to take advantage of the situation and make the best of it. Francesca says, “Try to make a list of everything you might have done wrong or felt was wrong at your old school so you can make sure it doesn't happen at the next one!”
Take some time to think about your experience at your previous school. What did you like? What did you dislike? What would you have changed? Unlike most students at your new school, you’ll have had a different perspective before arriving. Try to use your past to your advantage in order to make the most of your next experience!
Transferring can seem daunting, but it’s an important transition to make if you’re not happy at your current school! While the switch might seem a little scary, there are simple ways to make your transfer smooth and seamless. Good luck, collegiettes!