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Top 10 Tips for Transfer Students

Hi there, it’s me, your local transfer student, here to guide you through all the craziness of starting your life at a new school. As a student who has attended three different colleges and one year of out-of-state internship, I think it’s safe to say I have mastered the art of transferring schools. Transferring into a new environment can be overwhelming. You’re forced to quickly adjust to new professors, new friends, possibly even a new “home.” These ten transfer tips will help make your transition run smoother and leave you feeling confident in your new school. 

1. Three clubs

 This is a rule I was given as an incoming transfer student at TCNJ and am now passing down the totem pole. The three clubs should incorporate one club that supports your passion, one club that is academic based/major oriented, and one club that terrifies you. School clubs are there to bring people together as well as help you grow. With the rule of three, you’re meeting people with similar interests, growing your resume, and challenging your fears or “limitations.” Joining clubs will also give you an opportunity to explore your campus and become more familiar with areas you may have missed before. 

2. Be open

BE FLEXIBLE! It is ten times better to be a super (or super super super) senior than a graduate who absolutely hates their major. Don’t come in with such a firm plan for getting in and out that you ignore any signs pointing you in another career direction. Take classes you may have missed out on at your previous school and remember to say yes to every type of opportunity. 

3. Office hours

 Office hours are completely underrated. A professor’s office hours are free one-on-one networking sessions. If you’re looking for an internship, ask your professor. If you’re unsure about graduate school, ask your professor. If you want to learn more about how to get started on a personal project, ask your professor. Take advantage of your professors experiences and learn from them. 

4. Advising 

Trying to figure out which of your credits counts for which of your requirements can be a nightmare. Sitting with an advisor can let you know where you are in your education journey and how far you have to go. Your advisor can also break down how to add/drop courses and pay your bills. If you find you’re not meshing well with your advisor, don’t be afraid to talk to the department chair for your major or even the dean about switching. If you can’t switch advisors but still feel a lack of connection with him or her, ask a professor to help you out with advising tasks during their office hours. 

5. Important dates 

All it takes is a quick google for your schools academic calendar. Mark down dates for add/drop periods, involvement fairs, holidays, etc so you don’t miss them and find yourself stuck in a class that you’re not learning from or showing up to class on a day you could have stayed home. 

6. Options 

With specific majors, you may only be allowed to override on course credits once or need a specific GPA to classify for honors programs. You don’t want to plan without researching all of your options first. You may even find some shortcuts such as crosscounting classes or pairing a specific major with a specific minor. 

7. Career Center

One thing college offers that post grad life doesn’t, is FREE career resources. The word “career” seems to scare people away but know that you can visit the career center with absolutely no idea of what you want to do and that they are there to help you figure it out. The career center can assist you in upgrading your resume/portfolio, offers professional workshops, speak with you about student employment, and help make your life easier in plenty of other ways. 

8. Wellness workshops

Most, if not all, schools offer wellness workshops. Adjusting to a new school is always going to be stressful and wellness workshops/events may help ease some of that stress. Mental health is a huge part of being a functioning student (and person) so remember to take care of yourself above all else. 

9. Rent your books 

Chegg and Amazon will be your best friends when it comes to renting books. You can find books that would normally sell for over one hundred dollars for around just $35 when you rent them. Renting is also a good idea when you know you won’t be referring back to a book once the semester is over and you don’t want to have to worry about reselling it. 

10. Go to events 

Don’t be afraid to go to events alone in the beginning. College is full of hundreds of people looking to meet others and if you make that extra effort to show up and talk to even just one person you’ll find yourself making friends in no time. 

Finding my “home” school took a few years but now that I am here and have utilized all of these tips, I can safely say being a transfer student helped me grow in a lot of ways. Use these tips and be proactive and you too can have an amazing college experience as a transfer student. 

Gianna Pulitano is a senior at TCNJ. She majors in Interactive Multimedia with a minor in Communication Studies. Gianna is a founding member and Vice President of TCNJ's NYWICI (New York Women in Communications Inc.) Squad as well as the Public Relations and Media Director for Lion's Television. She loves telling stories through video and photography and is looking forward to growing her writing skills with HCTCNJ.
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