Transferring from one college to another before graduating is neither all good nor is it all bad. It all depends on the reasons to transfer colleges. Students who transfer colleges choose to do so for several different reasons. While students who transfer for the right reasons go on to thrive and succeed in college and later, those who transfer for the wrong reasons find themselves struggling to cope.
So how do you know if you are transferring for the right or wrong reasons? Your answers to these questions will help you understand your “why” and will guide you towards making a decision that is right for you.
Why exactly do I want to transfer?
This is one of the first reasons to transfer colleges and something you should ask yourself about. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult one to answer. You will have to do some soul-searching and be very honest with yourself.
- Are you unhappy with the faculty or the student cohort at your current school?
- Do you find the location of your school boring with not much to do on the weekends?
- Do you find yourself struggling to cope with the program and are you transferring to a program that is less challenging?
- Or maybe the opposite—you are not challenged enough and would like to transfer to a program that is a little more demanding.
Do not think of transferring simply because you feel restless, bored, or vaguely unhappy but not sure why. A new school may not necessarily offer you a solution to your problem. Changing schools is expensive and involves a lot of formalities. You should only consider it if you think it is the only solution.
Have I given my college a fair chance?
Many college freshmen make the decision to transfer midway through their first semester. The truth is it does take time to settle in and the first semester is likely to be the hardest as you get used to this completely new way of life, make new friends, grapple with the hectic schedule, adjust to dorm life and so much more. Once you get past this initial hurdle, college life will begin to get easier. Before long you will find your groove and start enjoying yourself.
Don’t be in a hurry to transfer. Give your college a chance. Stay for at least a semester or two before taking this huge step.
What do I like about my present college? What don’t I like about it?
It may help to keep things in perspective if you make a list of what you like and what you don’t like about your present school. You may be in for a surprise if you find that the things that matter most are on your list of likes and the things you don’t like are really just trivial annoyances.
Do the classes and professors meet my expectations?
One area where you may not want to compromise is academics. After all, your main purpose in going to college is to get an education. If the courses and the professors at your current college are top-notch, do you really want to give that up and take a chance with another school? What if the new college does not come up to the same standard?
If the academic facilities at your current college are excellent and you enjoy your classes, you should look for solutions to the other issues you are having and stay on. On the other hand, after paying such high fees towards tuition, if your classes or professors do not meet your expectations, a transfer may be the best solution.
Will my financial aid transfer? Will I lose any aid in the transfer?
This is another important aspect that you must factor into your decision. Financial aid does not transfer automatically from one college to another. Also, the amount of aid you are eligible for may not be the same. This is because different colleges calculate aid differently even though your EFC or Expected Family Contribution remains the same.
Before you apply for a college transfer, you must find out how it will impact your financial aid. The transfer counselor at your target school is the best person to speak to about this. They will help you understand how much financial aid you qualify for and give you the right advice about what you need to do to maximize your aid options and minimize your losses.
Will my scholarships get affected?
If you have won any scholarships, you will have to read through the terms and conditions in detail. If your scholarship was awarded on the condition that you attend a particular institution or region, it may not transfer.
How much will the transfer cost me? Is it worth it?
The total cost of a transfer will depend on several different factors. Are you moving to another school in the same location or are you moving to another city or another state? Are the tuition fees for the new college higher than your present college? What about the cost of accommodation, food, and other incidentals?
Calculate how much this transfer is going to cost you and think hard about whether it is really worth it. This ties into the earlier points. It is worth it ONLY if the transfer is for the right reasons.
Here’s something to think about, an expensive transfer will ultimately add to your total cost of education, which means you will graduate with even more debt and will potentially spend even more years repaying your loan. Is it worth it?
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