Before You Transfer: A Transfer Student's Guide

By Anuli Akanegbu
Each year, most colleges accept a group of students who wish to transfer from other colleges.  While some are from community colleges seeking to go to a four-year school, others are simply from a different campus who transfer for different reasons.

Last year, I transferred to Howard University from Northeastern. While my experiences are unique to me, I do have some advice for my fellow transfer students.

Be sure that you really want to transfer - Transferring credits from school to school can be tough, so make sure that you are serious about it. Don’t transfer because you don’t like a professor, or have trouble making friends. I transferred because I changed programs and my new school offered better opportunities for me in my field (at a more reasonable price.)

Get Involved on Campus - Making friends in a new school can seem daunting, especially when everyone else has already established friendships from freshman year. Get active on campus by joining clubs that suit your interests or by looking out for interesting events on campus. Find out if your school has a club for transfer students, so you can at least hang out with people in similar situations.

Accept You Might Fall Behind - I’ve noticed that transfer students always have the same explanation when asked about their year. “I should be this, but I am this because all my credits didn’t transfer.” At first it was hard for me to accept that I can into my new university as a sophomore rather than a junior. Accept that you may get held back some time due to an inability of your new school to transfer credits.

Fight for Your Credits - Speaking of transfer credits, try to fight to get as many transfer credits as possible. Provide your new institution with course descriptions from your old school, so it will be easier for them to decide whether those credits will transfer. If you took AP classes in high school, rejoice because they tend to come in handy.

Remember, You’re Not a Freshman - During my new student orientation I found myself in a room of mostly transfers. As a transfer student, you tend to get grouped with freshmen a lot because you are all new students, but remember that you already had your freshman year. You may be new to the university, but you are not new to the college experience.

Know Your Financial Aid Information -  Learn how the financial aid office is operated. When are the best times to visit? How many students are eligible for aid? What type of scholarships does the school offer to transfer students?

Research Your New School - Is there a waiting list for housing? What type of neighborhood is the school located in? Is it safe? What opportunities does the location offer for college students? Should you bring a car? Is there parking? For example, my school is located in a thriving city with a high price of living. I wasn’t able to get on-campus housing which worked out in my favor because I found a place close to campus that did not cost much more than a dorm and was actually closer to campus than most of the dorms.

Think forward - At times I reminisced on my time at my old school. The campus, my friends, the city. By focusing too much on what once was, you begin to lose sight of what things are and what they could be if you gave your new school a chance.

Learn from your mistakes - Do you have any regrets from your past college experience? Chose a class you didn’t need? Spent too much time partying and not enough time studying? You are now older and hopefully a bit wiser than you were before. You are starting off fresh, take advantage of it.

Want to learn more about my personal experiences? You can check out my blog, Transfer Diaries.

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1 comment :

  1. GREAT article and awesome tips!! As a transfer student myself, I can totally relate to these and affirm that they are all correct.

    In particular, falling behind is basically a given--it sucks that your credits won't always transfer and you may have to take a class over again (I took intro to psych once in high school, once at my first school, then AGAIN at my 2nd school; talk about overdoing it), so accepting this fact and trying not to get frustrated with it will help you out in the long-run!

    Good stuff :)


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