You may be just starting out in college for the first time or you may be a second-year college student. Both these years are transitional years, and some students feel they have made a bad college choice. There is always the option of transferring to another college after the first semester, after the third semester, or during the summer between semesters. However, make sure the reasons for your going through the transfer process outweigh reasons for staying at the college you are enrolled in.
Here are some reasons students transfer that do not make a transfer worth their while:
- Young love – Sometimes a serious relationship is a good reason to transfer because the geographical distance is difficult, but here are two questions to ask yourself before transferring. College is only about 33 weeks a year. Can you creatively devise ways to make the relationship work during the summer, vacation times, or on weekends? The second question is, if your relationship ends, will you still be happy at the school to which you transferred?
- Classes are too hard – Most colleges’ work load will be higher and more stringent than high school classes. Will the school you transfer too be easier, really? And, are harder classes a good challenge for you to meet. If you seek out tutoring help and help from your professors, as well as take part in study groups and study harder, you may find satisfaction in staying where you are in the end.
- You don’t get along with your roommate – Nothing is more miserable than sharing a little space with someone who is impossible. You want a divorce, right? But, is transferring overkill for this situation? You can speak with your residence assistant to ask for a change of roommates. If that fails, you always have the next year.
- You don’t like your professors – This can be a problem, but is there any school that has only perfect professors. You are likely to meet a professor you don’t care for at any school. If you stay at your present school, can you learn some strategies for dealing with your professor and use those strategies in your future life, and for next semester, can you talk to upper classmen to try to avoid less-than-good professors in the future—all without transferring?
- You’re homesick – Homesickness is hard. Separation can be a real issue for anyone. However, you are trying to learn to separate and become independent. Maybe this is the time to do so before marriage enters your life or a career takes you to a different location. Try speaking with someone at the campus Counseling Center before applying for a transfer closer to home.
Below are some good reasons to make a transfer:
- You are not challenged academically – If you are bored or feel you are not getting the education you are paying for, it may be a good time to consider a college that offers harder curricula and more competition. You are paying for a degree that is worth something. You will want to make sure you are getting that degree.
- To major in a specialty – At first you may not know what major you are interested in. Once you decide, it may be a specialty area that necessitates a change. For marine science you may need to be near an ocean, or the college you are now attending may not offer the major you are interested in. It is worth a transfer to seek out the right setting and courses for the major you target.
- Social incompatibility – Maybe you have found out the school you are in is a party school and this culture is affecting your grades, or maybe you need a more active social life. To find a school community that fits with you and allows you to thrive is a good reason to change colleges. First, though, make sure the school you next apply to has the environment you want.
- Family Responsibilities – Family can come ahead of school when there are emergencies and sickness. Being closer to home could allow you to meet those obligations and still continue school. But, for short -term family obligations, be sure to check with your academic dean first. You might be able to arrange a leave of absence for a semester or a year that will accommodate you and your family without having to transfer.
- Financial Necessity – Financial pressure or change in your family’s financial status may, indeed, create a need for you to transfer. You should, of course, look into financial aid at the Financial Aid Center on your campus before deciding to transfer, but a public school, for example, may offer a quality degree for less money. Be sure, too, to find out if the credits you have earned transfer. If not, you are taking on more costs that might make your transfer of no real financial benefit.
Transferring colleges is a disruption and will cause you to suffer through another tough transition. Hopefully, looking at good and bad reasons will help you sort through your own thinking before making this decision.