What They Don't Tell Transfer Students

As a transfer student myself, I can speak to the fact that most transfer students feel lost and unappreciated at the start of the school year. While freshmen students get an in-depth look at the school during orientation, transfer student orientation is often bare-bones, only showing you the most used buildings (why are there so many libraries right next to each other?) and emphasizing the fact that you may not get the grades you’re used to. Since the school year just started, I hope to give some advice to the first-year transfer students who may not know where to begin.


Plan Your Schedule Beforehand

When deciding on classes for the next semester, plan in advance – as advance as you can. Some classes are barred from upperclassmen because they reserve seats for freshmen and sophomores, so they require permission for transfer students. In reality, it may take weeks to obtain permission to get into the class, so be sure to plan ahead of time in case you need to take a trip to advising. Planning your schedule ahead of time also ensures your place in the class since all students have a specific time they can start enrolling each semester. Some classes, especially in professional schools, are especially hard to get into after initial enrollment, so place required classes into your shopping cart first then feel free to look into more interesting electives.


The Writing Center and CAPS

There are dozens of campus resources to help you better yourself and your academics, including the writing center and CAPS, or Counseling and Psychological Services. The writing center is especially helpful if you’ve been coasting through your community college English classes and get a wake-up call from your first UNC-CH paper grade. Talking from experience, I found my writing got lazy before coming to UNC, so I made it a goal to improve. The writing center will provide feedback on your papers before you turn them in to your professor. Think of it as a second chance. CAPS is also helpful for students who find themselves struggling from lack of adjustment to having issues in school. Students get a few free therapy sessions a year, but I recommend using the referral system if you’re serious about finding an affordable therapist. CAPS is more for quick-fix issues or issues that don’t need an in-depth assessment.


Make Friends

It’s extra important as a transfer student to be more outgoing and willing to make friends. If you choose to live off-campus, you won’t have the same opportunity as others to follow your roommate around on campus and find friends through their connections. I know it can be intimidating to talk in class at the beginning of the year because everyone around you seems smarter, but don’t be afraid to connect with the people around you. Non-transfer students already have groups of friends, so you can easily be adopted by groups that have similar interests. Joining a club or organization can also assist you in making friends with the same interests and same goals in mind.


Make the Most out of Your Experience

Speaking of joining an organization, my last piece of advice is to make the most out of your time at Carolina. As an untraditional student, you have less time to enjoy opportunities around you, so make up for it! Take fun classes that interest you, even if it’s outside of your major or minor (if you have the time). Follow the Carolina Bucket List that’s published every year in the Daily Tar Heel. Go to local plays and participate in Franklin Street’s Halloween celebration. Run to Franklin Street every time we beat Duke (but not NC State). These are just a few pastimes we have at Carolina to ignore the stress of academics. Remember, college isn’t just about getting a degree. You’re paying to be here, so make the most of what Carolina and the area have to offer!