4 Tips for Potential Transfer Students

I remember thinking in high school that I would never transfer schools during college—I had nothing against transfer students, per se, but as an introvert I just wanted to make friends, adjust to a new city, and then stay there. By the end of my first semester in college, however, I was fully committed to transferring. I had a lot of reasons, but the biggest included that the town was too isolated, the university itself was relatively small, and I switched career paths, so the college no longer had an amazing program for what I wanted to study.

Since I had enough credit hours, I was able to transfer to UGA after my freshman year and it was absolutely the best decision for me. I am still friends with people I met my freshman year and I know that they loved the college I transferred from—it just wasn’t for me! If you’re trying to decide if you should transfer, here are some things to keep in mind as you consider your options.

  1. 1. Talk to people who knew you before college!

    It could be a high school bestie, a family member, or a favorite teacher, but it’s so important to get perspectives from people who know who you were before college! It’s normal for people to change as they grow in college, but they should be able to tell you if they’ve noticed anything really off about you since you started. If you only talk to people who you met in college, they’re likely going to be biased toward your school—which isn’t automatically a bad thing, but it can cloud judgement sometimes. Your desire to transfer shouldn't be a secret that you keep from your college friends, either!

  2. 2. Separate things that can be changed from things that can’t.

    Some problems aren't permanent, even if they are super frustrating in the moment. For example, if your main problem with college is that you have a horrible roommate, try and think about what would happen if suddenly your roommate situation vastly improved. You’d get plenty of sleep, be able to study in your room and avoid the crowded library… you get the idea! If you realize that you like everything else about the school except for the one problem that’s bleeding into other areas of your life, it might be worth sticking it out until that problem can be fixed (for the previous example, it would mean getting a new roommate!). If it’s something that can’t be fixed, such as the location of the school, you can use your current school as a guideline for looking for a new one—maybe you still like being in a mid-size university, you just want it to be in a bigger city. There are so many universities to choose from!

  3. 3. Continue to be involved at your current university.

    Even if you’re pretty sure you’re going to transfer, it’ll only make your time there worse if you stop doing things that you enjoy. It can be tempting to stop participating in events and trying to make new friends if you know you’ll be leaving, but it’s so important to take advantage of the people and experiences that are only available at your current college. Your mental health will be so much better if you have some bright spots in your life, whether it’s a weekly club meeting or free improv shows—college campuses are full of things to do!

  4. 4. Don’t feel bad about yourself because you’re thinking of transferring.

    You’re not “betraying” anyone—you’re doing what’s best for you. I feel like a stereotype exists in more “prestigious” colleges that transfer students are people who wanted to get in as freshmen but couldn’t, and this just isn't the case. It’s a huge generalization, but yes, some people are devastated when they’re rejected by their dream school so they transfer as soon as they can—and that’s okay! Some people go to their dream school and realize it’s more of a nightmare so they choose to transfer—and that’s okay too! There are countless valid reasons to transfer. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the most of your college experience. If transferring is the best move for you, then go for it!

Transferring colleges can be a stressful process, but you won't regret it if you've really thought through your decision. There's no shame in making sure that the college you're at is truly where you want to be! If you do transfer, make sure to look up resources that your school has for transfer students like UGA's Office of Transfer Services!