How to Beat the Stigma of Transferring Schools (From a Two-Time Transfer Student)
While many students grow up with their career path and college in mind, things don’t always work out as planned. For numerous reasons, students may decide to transfer schools. In fact, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, it’s estimated that one in three college students transfer at least once, yet it’s still considered to be somewhat of a taboo topic. As a two-time college transfer, I’ve noticed a huge stigma surrounding the topic of switching schools. While it may be daunting and you may miss your current friends, transferring can be a rewarding decision if you’re not content with your current education and environment.
I was only 18 years old when I ventured off wide-eyed to the United Kingdom to study in London. I wasn’t fully prepared for the culture shock I experienced. While I loved many aspects of attending a school in the UK, I didn’t fully understand many of the challenges that come with living abroad in a big city, from dorm living to managing a budget to the challenges of being so far from home.
I made the painful decision to transfer, leaving my close college friends behind. While it was a tough decision to make at the time, I genuinely made the best choice for myself and listened to my inner voice advising me to choose a path toward what I really needed. I still keep in touch with my friends and value the time I spent attending school there. I chose what was in my best interest and my friends were understanding of that.
The following year, I enrolled in a school in the States. I made new friends, joined a sorority, and took on leadership roles with a few clubs on campus…yet I still wasn’t fully content. The school proved inadequate for the content and academic learning I needed for my career path, and I didn’t feel fulfilled in my studies. I realized that the degree I was pursuing from the school couldn’t provide what I needed, and the campus environment wasn’t what I had hoped for. Ultimately, it just wasn’t the right fit for me.
Once again, I found myself in the tough position of deciding whether I should stay or go. I had just transferred schools the previous semester, yet I still wasn’t as happy as I could have been. I was also faced with more judgment from some of my family and family friends this time around, and making the decision to transfer again became more difficult. However, I recognized that transferring was what I needed in order to be happy and succeed. I went with my gut instinct and intuition and did what felt right for me, and transferred once again.
And the result?
That second transfer is one of my most courageous and proudest decisions. I’m the happiest I’ve been, at my third school in two years.
My school is the best fit for me, and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.
It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but the destination has been well worth the process. My professors have gone above and beyond to assist transfer students, my peers are eager to learn, and the friends I’ve made thus far have been phenomenal. My new campus is home.
Follow your heart, and if you aren’t loving where you’re at now, that’s completely okay! Other people can provide input and give their opinions, but at the end of the day it’s your decision and you know what’s best for you. Transferring can be somewhat of a tedious process, but it’s very doable and your school will assist you where needed. If you’re considering transferring, be sure to talk to your academic advisor. For many schools in the U.S., the next step would then be to fill out the Common Application as a Transfer. Be sure to re-submit your documents and materials, and pay your application fee for the school(s) you want to apply to.
Before enrolling or applying anywhere else, however, I strongly recommend reaching out to the school’s degree department or registrar to find out which of your credits will (and will not credit) transfer so that you don’t fall further behind for graduation. Learn from my mistake and do this beforehand as it’s much more difficult later on and can impact your decision. Different schools have different major requirements and core classes that are necessary to take in order to earn your degree, and these are not always fulfillable with comparable classes from a previous institution. All that being said, attending college is expensive, and you deserve to be happy at your school.
Remember that there is no set timeline in life; it’s completely acceptable to do things at your own pace and take a step back to re-evaluate when needed. I wish you the best of luck in your transfer, and hope you found this helpful.
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