What It’s Like To Be a Transfer Student at SLU

Meet Rachel and Emily! Both seniors, Emily and Rachel share something else in common: they're both transfer students here at SLU. Being a transfer student can be difficult, but it often comes with lots of positive outcomes too! We wanted to know what it is like to be a transfer student, so we asked them to tell us a little bit about their experiences. Here's what they said:

Where did you transfer from and what were your main reasons for changing schools?

Emily: I transferred as a sophomore from College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. I went with some of my best friends from high school, who all really quickly joined sports teams and Greek Life and made a lot of other friends. I wasn't really involved, and since the school has an undergraduate population of 11,000, I found it really hard to make friends and didn't like the lack of community. Also, being so far from home was really hard for me.

Rachel: I transferred as a sophomore from Gettysburg College. I was recruited to Gettysburg to play lacrosse and quickly found that being a member of a sports team of that caliber left me with little time to explore my other interests. Also, Gettysburg was far from my hometown of Hanover, NH, and being close to my family is really important to me. Finally, I didn't feel as though I found a group of friends that I really connected with, and although it was great to be part of a team environment, I felt I could have a more enjoyable, well-rounded college experience elsewhere.

How were the first few months/the first year after transferring to St. Lawrence?

Emily: Not gonna lie, the first couple months here at SLU were hard. I knew people here from high school, but as sophomores they all had their own friend groups already. I lived in a First Year dorm and didn't take a First Year Program like everyone else in my grade had done previously, so I had to really push myself to get involved and meet new people. By the middle of my first semester, I was sure that St. Lawrence was the right place for me but I didn't feel really get that feeling of being ‘at home’ until the end of the year.

Rachel: I agree with Emily, the first few months were tough. But, I made it a point to get as involved as I could right off the bat and that paid off in the long run. I made the lacrosse team, auditioned and the joined the Sinners a cappella group, and decided to rush a sorority all in the first few weeks of school! I met a lot of people very quickly, and that really helped me to feel welcomed and comfortable as I transitioned to SLU.

In all of the time that has passed since you transferred, what has been the best thing and the most difficult thing about being a transfer student at SLU?

Emily: The best thing has definitely been feeling so thankful to be here. Leaving for our fall mid-semester break, I was really sad to be leaving SLU even for a couple days...after my time at Charleston, I never thought I would find that feeling of attachment to a school. The most difficult thing has been making these incredible friends so late in my college career, and not having nearly enough time with them. That, and not being able to reflect on early SLU memories with them.

Rachel: I think the best thing about being a transfer student is that I really learned not to take anything for granted; the friends, the extra curriculars, the classes, the professors, the atmosphere, everything. The most difficult aspect of being a transfer student has been not knowing everyone from the very start. I still meet new people all the time, but it’s tough when my friends or classmates reflect on the experiences from their first year and I was not a part of that.

How has your experience at St. Lawrence thus far been different than your experience at your previous school? Are there academic paths or extra curriculars here that you did not get involved in before transferring?

Emily: St. Lawrence puts such emphasis on the community aspect, which has entirely changed my college experience. Often at larger schools, new students are dropped into the student body and left them to fend for themselves, however, St. Lawrence would never do that! St. Lawrence strives to make every student feel as though they’re at home, which coming from a small boarding school, is something I was used to, and something that, until transferring to SLU, I didn't know I truly needed. Additionally, once I was eligible to rush, I gave Greek life a chance. I joined Tri Delta as a junior, and it’s introduced me to my best friends here at school.

Rachel: Academically, I knew at Gettysburg that I wanted to major in Psychology but had not declared a minor. When I came to SLU, I wanted to continue to pursue Psychology but was intrigued by the Sports Studies and Exercise Science minor, which was not an option at Gettysburg. After taking Sport Psychology, which counted towards both my major and minor, I realized that I have a real passion for that field, and hope to pursue a career in Sport Psychology in the future!

Lastly, what are your best tips or your biggest piece of advice for any girl who is a transfer student (either at St. Lawrence specifically, or just in general)?

Emily: GET INVOLVED! That is the first thing I did when I got here and although I’m not in any of the clubs anymore that I initially joined (oops), it led me to other things that I’m truly interested and invested in. I joined both the University’s Student Social Media Team and Tri Delta sorority, and I became an Orientation Leader (mostly because I love SLU so much and wanted to share that passion with others). Get out of your comfort zone, because as cliche as it sounds, it’s true: nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Rachel: I suggest two things: get involved and follow your own path. Strive to join as much as possible, but get only involved in the programs and clubs that truly interest you; don’t just sign up for things because everyone else is doing so. Following your own path includes keeping an open mind, and that will help you immensely down the road. One of the best decisions that I made was getting involved in different extra curriculars. For example, I only knew one person who was auditioning for the Sinners but I have a passion for singing and stepped out of my comfort zone to become a part of something unfamiliar. Now, between Sinners, lacrosse, and Tri Delta, I have friends in many different groups on campus and it brings great variety into my collegiate life!

(Photos: Emily Hubbard and Rachel Boghosian)