How to Know If You Should Transfer Colleges

It can be disappointing to get to your college and discover it’s not for you. Sometimes this feeling may just last a semester before you settle into your new home. Or you could finish out your first year and find you just sincerely dislike the school, it wasn’t what you expected. The question “Should I transfer colleges?” may come up for you at this point. The answer really depends on your personal goals, needs, and wants from your education.

Should I Transfer Colleges?

There are a few signs that suggest transferring schools.

Flickr user uoeducation

Whether or not you transfer colleges is completely up to you. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly or too quickly. Understanding the reasons behind your desire to transfer can help you make the decision.

Asking yourself some these questions may be a good place to start:

  • Have I given my college a fair chance?
  • What do I like (or dislike) about my present college?
  • Do the classes and professors meet my expectations?
  • Will my financial aid transfer and other scholarships transfer or will I lose any aid in the transfer?

If you decide to transfer, it’s important to understand your next steps so you can make the best decision for your future and education.

Reasons to Transfer Schools

If your new major isn’t offered at your college, you’re not engaged or challenged at your current school, or the college is nothing like you expected, it may be time to transfer. Let’s explore further.

1. You Want to Change Your Major

Occasionally, students start their major courses and decide that their chosen area of study isn’t for them. Other times, they could discover a subject that interests them that they haven’t considered before. This isn’t an issue for many students – they can simply select their new major at their current student.

However, for others who switch majors, the new major may not be offered at their current school or the program may be lackluster compared to other colleges’ programs. For students in this boat, it’s at least time to consider transferring.

2. You Aren’t Engaged in the Classroom or Out

Do you:

  • avoid social activities and events on campus?
  • feel like the courses are easy and not challenging you?
  • find yourself bored more often than not?

If so, it may be time for a change. College is a time for learning, networking, and gaining lifelong friends. If you’re not engaged in the classroom, in clubs, or around campus, you’ll want to look into the environment of your new school.

On the other hand, if the school is too challenging, this could also be a reason to transfer, especially if your grades are falling behind. You should try engaging tutors and talking to your college advisor before you take such a drastic route.

3. You Feel Disappointed with Your College Experience So Far

Even with college tours and plenty of research before selecting schools, it can be possible to choose the wrong “one.” You might get on campus and realize it’s nothing like you saw in the brochures. You may find that reality doesn’t match up with what you imagined.

If you reflect on your experience and you find yourself bitter, angry, or upset, a change may be called for.

As one student put it:

“I got to school and it just wasn’t the home that I thought it was going to be…. I just really struggled being there.”

If that sounds like you, even after you’ve given your college time to grow on you, it might be time to consider transferring.

4. Other Reasons to Transfer

There could be other reasons you have to transfer colleges, including:

  • The classes are too hard. If your grades are falling behind, you might have bitten off more than chew. You should try engaging tutors and talking to your college advisor before you take such a drastic route, however.
  • Your financial aid won’t cover the cost of tuition. If your financial aid doesn’t cover as much as it did the previous year, you may have to switch schools. Talk to your current financial aid department, though, to see your options first.
  • You’re transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college. If you’ve already earned your associate’s degree at a community college and want to earn a bachelor’s degree, a transfer is usually necessary. There are some community colleges that offer bachelor’s though.
  • Other personal reasons. Sometimes, the reasons we want to transfer may be personal or may not fit neatly into one of these boxes.

Reasons Not to Transfer

Short term problems can sometimes taint our view of reality. When it comes to colleges, these cases may make you feel like you need to change schools, but there are often strategies you can take to stay at your current college and enjoy your time there.

1. You’re Not Getting Along with Your Roommate

Almost every college student has either had a nightmare scenario with a roommate or know someone who experienced one (I had a nightmare myself and my friends had their own issues with their roommates!). An issue with a single roommate isn’t cause enough to leave the school altogether.

Instead, talk to your RA and housing office. Getting out of your situation may be as simple as requesting a room change or waiting for the semester to finish. You don’t have to switch colleges just to get away from one person. If you ever feel unsafe, make sure to tell an authority figure at your school immediately.

2. You’re Homesick

Separation from our family and high school friends can be difficult, especially at first. This usually goes away with time and it’s a necessary process for all of us to go through to be able to stand on our own two feet. If you’re struggling with homesickness, try calling your family more often, scheduling video calls, or visiting home over the weekend. Also, getting more engaged with campus activities can help relieve any feelings of loneliness.

3. You Have an Issue with a Professor

Just like roommates, you don’t want to leave an entire school because of one or two people teaching you. Having issues with professors can happen anywhere and transferring is not a guarantee you’re going to love all of your instructors (and they’re going to love you). Knowing how to navigate these more difficult relationships also gives you skills you need in the working world.

So should you transfer colleges? In the end, the decision is up to you. Consider both sides of the coin and really think about what’s best for you and your education going forward.

If you’ve considered your options carefully and decide you do want to make that transfer, read more about How To Transfer Colleges.

Finding the right school whether you’re going to college for the first time or transferring is essential. College Match from College Raptor can do the heavy lifting for you! Check it out for free right here.

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