What It’s Really Like to Transfer Colleges

Transferring schools is one of the best but also one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I had to make a choice between sticking it out at a school where I saw no growth for myself or leaving and starting all over. A fresh start sounded like a nice idea, but it was also terrifying.

There was no guarantee that I would love my new school and not regret leaving. There was no guarantee that I would get any happier if I stayed. However, one of the many things I learned: nothing in life is guaranteed.


I began looking into transferring around October after I told my parents I wasn’t loving my school. They suggested that I look into transferring but try to tough it out— get more involved.  I joined a few clubs, got involved with my floor, yet there was still something missing. When I went home over Christmas break, all my high school friends would get together and tell stories about all the new things they had experienced. I could see how passionate they were for their schools. I found myself sitting there with nothing to add to those conversations because I didn’t like my school. It was at this point that I decided I couldn’t do another year at my school. During the second week back from winter break, I officially decided to transfer.


That decision was probably the hardest out of this process, but a close second was deciding where to go. Part of the reason why I chose the school I went to freshman year was because no school caught my eye. I began the search again as if I were a senior in high school. Back when I was a senior, I always wanted a big school that was close to the city and definitely not a state school. I looked in Boston, North Carolina, Philadelphia and near Washington D.C. When I started researching schools, I started with the state schools, a few schools in New York City and Scranton. My sister was junior at the University of Scranton at the time and my mom suggested I look there. Over my spring break, I visited the U and one other school in PA. I ended up debating the decision for awhile but ended up sending in a deposit to the U and enrolling there for the fall 2016 semester!


Personally, this past year was tough for me because it took awhile for me to accept that sometimes you make a wrong decision and that is okay. When you graduate from high school, it never crosses your mind that you will ever transfer. I left high school expecting to fall in love with my decision, but I was wrong.


The question that I get asked the most is “Why did you transfer?” My family and friends would ask me this constantly. To this day, I cannot pinpoint a specific answer besides I wasn’t happy. I could blame it on the school and say that it was too big or didn’t offer enough clubs, but that would be a lie. It was me. I didn’t mesh well with the school. 


Being a freshman in college is hard, but it is nowhere near as hard it is to be a transfer student. This was the first time I went into a new school knowing almost no one, while everyone else had established friend groups. I am definitely more comfortable at my new school than I was at my old one. However, I’m still adjusting and trying to navigate through relationships. I have come in contact with so many different people/friend groups here that I am trying to establish where I belong.


I never would have been able to go through this process without the support of my friends or family. There is comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. One of my best friends from home also transferred schools, so having someone else go through this process was helpful. Also, coming here and meeting all the transfer students helped, because they knew exactly what you were going through.

The best thing to do if you are considering changing schools is to really consider every option. I crossed certain things off my list right off the get go without giving them a chance. Also, trust your gut. You know yourself better than anyone else, if it doesn’t feel right, find something that does.