Transferring During a Pandemic

The global pandemic has affected our society in more ways to count. It has caused huge strains on our economy, relationships and mental health. Students have been especially affected by this crisis. While incoming college freshmen and high school seniors have been focused on in the news, there is another group of students whose college decision process was jeopardized: Transfer students. 

These students were in the middle of changing colleges, whether that be from a community college or four-year institutions. Anyone that has transferred knows that is not an easy task, yet doing it all remotely is even harder. The first problem was actually picking a school. Like high school seniors, these students may want to tour new colleges or speak in person with current students and staff. That chance got ripped away from them. Getting a good feel for a college just can’t be done online. Luckily some students like myself started the process for Fall 2020 before the outbreak, so we had more time to visit schools if needed. However, for those wanting to transfer for Spring 2021, they will have to rely on online sources. The pandemic has made thousands of students rethink their college plans, and for many, this includes transferring. 

The Lalagirl On Computer Her Campus Media The transition to the new college during these stressful times has also been challenging. Transfer students typically get in-person orientations to get to know the campus and other students. Orientation is a great way to adjust to a new area, so all that being online just wasn’t the same. Colleges did their online orientation in different ways and some did have personal interactions among students, but it was still not the same. I know that my university, and many others, did the best that they could given the circumstances, and I don’t fault them for that. These are unprecedented times after all. The overall experience just felt less welcoming than usual.

Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer In Bed Anna Schultz / Her Campus Finally, getting adjusted to campus can be a real challenge. The initial first weeks of transfers can be very overwhelming and they often experience “transfer shock.” They could feel lonely on campus or confused about new surroundings. These feelings can be even more intense when doing school all virtually. Everyone wants to feel welcomed by their school and that can be hard coming from a screen. 

group of people reading and studying together at a table Photo by Alexis Brown from Unsplash However, transfers should not give up on the semester just yet. Yes, the transfer process right now is difficult but there are ways to make it easier. Here are some of my tips to help you at your new college, even virtually! The first is to try and get involved in virtual clubs. I know my university and many others have done virtual club fairs, so students can get to know the organizations on campus. This is a great place to start to get to know new people and more about your university. The next tip is to reach out if you need help or are overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to email your advisors if you need guidance, that’s their job! At UW-Madison we have a “Transfer Transition Program” that is giving us valuable resources during this time, so see if your university has something similar. Also, make sure to keep a good routine for your classes. Personally, I keep a planner for my classes and assignments but do what works best for you. My final tip is to try and keep a positive mindset. The pandemic is a scary time but we need to keep positive. Find new hobbies you enjoy, watch fun videos or TV shows, call your friends, just make sure to find happiness in your day! The pandemic needs to be taken seriously but it doesn’t have to ruin your experience at your new school.

Alcohol Girl Happy Drinking Alex Frank / Spoon