I never expected to be a transfer student, but I don’t think most people do. Before I stepped foot onto Loyola’s campus, without even registering for classes yet, I knew that I didn’t want to go to school there. Perhaps it was my mindset that set me up for failure, but it wasn’t what I imagined college life would be. I wanted to live on campus and be fully immersed in the experience. Commuting felt like I was on a glorified high school field trip, and at the end of the day, my illusion of independence was dissolved.
But, after three semesters and many tears, here I am as a student at UIUC! It really is the opposite of Loyola in every way, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Transferring is very difficult and I think I learned a lot about myself in the process. Here are some tips to make sure transferring is the right thing for you.
1. Make Sure Leaving Is Really What You Want
It’s easy to imagine that the grass is greener on the other side and if you leave your current school, suddenly your life will become the idealized version you had in your head. In the end, you’re still going to school and your personality won’t change fundamentally just because you’re in a different location. School is still school. But your happiness should be your priority. If you find yourself not caring about anything, starting to slack on schoolwork, not socializing or getting involved in extracurriculars, transferring might be the right choice.
2. Figure Out What You Don’t Like About Your Current School
Determine what you don’t like about your current school and then work off of that. I found it really helpful to make a pros and cons list between Loyola and the schools I was applying to. For me personally, I was too close to home and the campus, despite being in Chicago, felt very empty and it was hard to get involved when I was commuting. Everyone will have different reasons and it’s important to do some soul-searching to find what you don’t like. You don’t want to end up at a school that has the same issues as the one you just left.
3. You Really Don’t Have As Many Resources Available
But that’s okay! You applied to college once before, so you’re basically a pro at this! Your counselor at your current university will be more than willing to help you because at the end of the day, they want you to get the most out of your education. Try to reach out to advisors and other transfers at the school you want to go to because they may be able to offer advice to make the whole process easier. This is a chance for you to fix any mistakes you made on your first applications, as well as highlight how you’ve grown since the last time you applied.
4. You’ll Miss Your Old School, No Matter What
I’ve been at UIUC for a month and I already miss the view of Lake Michigan, the rose milk tea that I got on campus every week and walking to class with my friends everyday. But I have to remember all those good things didn’t overshadow the reasons I wanted to leave in the first place. We have a tendency to idealize what has already passed, but I’m confident that I made the right decision to switch schools.
If you’re thinking of transferring schools, good luck! You’ll do great no matter where your path takes you!