The Pros and Cons of Being a Transfer Student

There are pros and cons to being a transfer student.

Pixabay user luctheo

Transfers are more common than you might think; in fact, it’s estimated that nearly 1/3rd of all college students transfer at least once during their higher education. The National Student Clearing House Research Center found that 37.2% transfer at least once within six years.

As with every decision, there are pros and cons. Each upside and downside should be taken into consideration before making any big decisions, and we’re here to help point out the good, bad, and ugly of being a transfer student.

Pro: Your new school might be a better academic fit

Perhaps your initial school didn’t have the specific program you were interested in, or maybe after a year or so you realized you wanted to study a different major that another school was more well-suited for. Whatever the case, you may find yourself looking towards other colleges or universities for your academic education. After transferring, you could find yourself in a field that is better for you and your future career aspirations.

Con: Not all credits transfer

One of the biggest pains about transferring is that your hard-earned credits don’t always go with you. Your new school might not count the classes of your old one as valid or might have new requirements of their own. No matter the case, it can be incredibly frustrating losing part of a semester’s worth of credits to the big move. This can also force you to retake classes or even stay an extra semester or two to make up for the loss, and ensure you graduate with all the hours you need.

Pro: Your new school might be a better social fit

Some students feel lost at a large school with 30,000 other students attending. Others might feel entrapped by a smaller community and want a bigger campus. A change of size can be just what you need to revamp your education.

Additionally, some students might prefer more urban locales near job opportunities, entertainment hubs, resources, and more. Some might like the peace and relative quiet of more rural colleges. Size or location, a new college might help you find your footing, and help you to graduate.

Con: Later graduation and financial strain

As we said earlier, since not all credits go with you, most transfer students find themselves needing to tack on another semester or two. This means another few rounds of tuition and living costs. Transferring can weigh heavy on the wallet, and call for extra loans to be considered. It also means delaying a first full-time job paycheck with your new degree.


There are as many benefits as there are drawbacks to transferring colleges—it really depends on your particular, individual case. Talk it over with academic advisors and your parents before making any lasting decision, and be sure to do plenty of research on the school you want to transfer to (including reaching out to them) before you go.

If you want to discover your ideal school the first time around, use College Raptor’s free match tool! With it, you can discover colleges that are matched to you, based on your own personalized academic, financial, and social needs.

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