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How to Start Your First Semester as a Transfer Student on the Right Foot

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This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Coming into a new school as a transfer student can be overwhelming. It’s easy to be lost in the crowd after orientation, especially if you go to a big school.

While it can be intimidating going to a new college, there are ways to combat this fear, and I will talk about the best ways to start your first semester as a transfer student off on the right foot. 

#1: Join transfer-oriented social media groups

After paying your enrollment deposit for the university, start researching social media accounts that are transfer-oriented. Whether this is Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other incoming transfer students. This way, you’ll be able to have made a friend or two before orientation and the start of the semester.

If you are looking for housing, whether on or off-campus, you can reach out to the members in the transfer group and find potential roommates. More than likely, they will be in the same position you are and making the first move is all you need to kickstart a friendship.

In addition, these social media groups may post specific events they have done in the past so you can see how the transfer experience is at your college/university.

#2: Start looking up potential clubs/organizations you want to join

Before the semester starts, doing some research on campus life, from clubs, organizations, leadership roles, etc. can help see how you can make an impact on campus.

Most colleges have a website where you see all the clubs and organizations you can join, so looking into those clubs and then eventually joining them once the semester kicks off can help make you feel part of the community.

In addition, looking at ways to get involved in the community, like community-based outreach or doing leadership positions, will provide insight in how you can make a positive impact not only on campus, but within the community.

Doing research beforehand can alleviate that unknown feeling transfer students may have in wondering how they can get involved on campus. 

Do's and Don't of Transfer Applications

#3: Meet with your major advisor early

The earlier you meet with your advisor, the better. As a transfer student, courses can get filled up quickly since by the time you enroll, current students have already signed up for their next semester’s set of courses.

Meeting with your advisor(s) early not only will help you get signed up for your classes’ before orientation, but you can also plan early how to graduate on time. If you are a potential double major, like me, meeting with both of your major advisors early will create a lot less stress when you attend orientation.

#4: Go to orientation

Orientation is not only an opportunity to learn more about the school you’re attending, but also a chance for you to meet other people and make lifelong friends.

Most colleges and universities have a transfer-specific orientation program that is typically shorter than the freshman orientation since transfer students have some college experience.

Orientation is your first opportunity to build connections face-to-face and make friends while exploring a new campus. 

In addition, some colleges orientation programs may involve ways to allow new transfer students to interact with each other. From team building activities, name games, and simply going around and getting to know each other, transfer orientation, in my previous experience, has allowed the orientation leader and other transfer students to get to know each other and learn more about us.

#5: Attend any and/or all welcome week events/club fairs

The best way to feel a part of the university and make friends is to involve yourself in any welcome events the school may have. Some colleges have welcome fairs/festivals to welcome new and returning students to kickstart the new academic year. This is a great way to break the ice, de-stress, and have some fun at the beginning of the semester.

Club fairs and involvement fairs may also occur within the first 2-3 weeks of the semester. It allows for the opportunity to learn about the clubs you may have learned about over the summer or orientation.

My advice is to sign up for as many clubs as you can, but that doesn’t mean you have to commit to all of them. It will keep your options open and allow you to narrow down which ones you really want to join.

Being a transfer student can be stressful, whether you are coming from a community college or a four-year university. Starting over isn’t easy. However, taking the initiative to get yourself out there early and not giving up will go a long way at your new university. 

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Author: Nicholas Enoch

Nicholas is a sophomore International Relations and Professional Writing major currently attending Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. He is a recent graduate from the Community College of Baltimore County where he received multiple full ride awards to colleges across Maryland. When he is not making content for Niche, he is busy learning 4 languages, binge watching TV shows on Hulu, and working out and trying new yoga exercises in his living room.