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The Journey of Being a Transfer Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

College is one of the most exciting times of a young woman’s life. We get to discover new freedoms, make new friends, and study the subjects we love in order to build careers we’ll love. Not to mention finally decorating our dorms, armed with our trusted Pinterest boards. So after I found that the school I had originally committed to wasn’t fulfilling my wildest collegiate dreams, I realized that I needed to make some big changes to my college career. I attended a private university in Long Island’s Nassau County for my first semester and within two weeks, I knew I had made a mistake. I hated how small it was, how bad the food was, and how far from home I was. Long Island was beautiful, but it wasn’t for me. At a point, I was scared that college as a whole just wasn’t for me. But living by a few simple rules definitely helped me transition smoothly.

The sooner you start, the better

By my first visit back home in NJ after two weeks of being at school, I knew I wanted to transfer out. The school just wasn’t for me. When I got back, I spent a few hours researching schools that interested me. I knew I wanted to go to an NJ public school, be an hour or less away from home, and be able to get to and from school easily with public transportation. The fact I was transferring mid-year narrowed the list further, but TCNJ turned out to be my absolute perfect match.

Gather all of your required (and optional!) materials

While transferring, your prospective school will give you a list of mandatory things to send, such as SAT scores, high school and college transcripts, along with optional items like recommendation letters and maybe your resume. Send EVERYTHING you can! Contact your favorite high school teachers and explain your situation to them, and ask them to write you a recommendation letter, or ask them to tweak one they already wrote for you. Also try to get recommendations from a professor or two so your prospective school can hear about how you’re doing in college. And if you have any family who attended your prospective school, make sure to include information about them so you can qualify to be a legacy! Luckily, I was interested in my father’s alma mater, which boosted my chances of being accepted.

Women budgeting/writing things on paper
Fresh Connection via Unsplash

Enjoy it while you’re there

Let’s face it: attending a school you hate while waiting for your transfer admission decision is nerve wracking. You feel trapped and have the constant worry, “What if I don’t get out of here?” It was really hard for me to walk around campus at some points, nervous that I would have to spend another long semester there. It was even harder to not spend the days in my dorm watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself. But I knew that would make things worse. I often studied and went to eat with friends, and even got a seasonal job at the nearby mall to keep myself busy. But I still made sure to do well, and actually even ended up on the Dean’s List with a 3.7. Even if you plan on leaving your current school, make sure you make the most out of your time there.


The day I got my acceptance notification, I was ecstatic. I called my boyfriend, my sister, my parents, and I posted on Facebook. When you work on a transfer application, you add a lot of long hours, hard work, and stress to your life. Enjoy yourself and celebrate your huge accomplishment. Your family and loved ones who supported you through your journey will be just as excited as you. Lastly, make sure you visit the school bookstore or its website so you can stock up on new school swag!

Know you’re not alone

At my old school, if I felt one thing, it was alone. When I knew I wanted to transfer, I was discouraged to make new friends, because I knew I would just leave them. My roommate and all of the people I interacted with daily loved the school, so I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t. But when I got to TCNJ’s transfer orientation, I heard so many stories just like mine. I wasn’t alone at all. When you spend days working on yet another college application after thinking you’d never need to fill out another one, you may feel hopeless. Just know that so many other people are going through the same thing. And know that your loved ones will support you through every step of your journey as you build your future, so call them often and update them on your application process. Once you’re finally at your transfer orientation, taking in everything your new school has to offer, you will realize how the journey there was worth everything.


Although she began her college career as a nursing major at Long Island's Adelphi University, Paige is now happily finding her way at TCNJ with a major in business marketing. After graduation, she would like to get a job in social media marketing.
President of HCTCNJ, Panhellenic Delegate for AXiD, Communications Major with Marketing/Management Minors!