College Tips - Transferring
So you're thinking about transferring colleges - you are not alone! Many students start off at a college they think is perfect for them and realize a month or so in that it might not be exactly what they were looking for. Others may start their college journey at community college or a college that was not their top choice, with the intention of transferring their sophomore or junior year. Some students might need to transfer due to situations out of their control, be they financial, personal or even academic. Regardless of the reasons behind the transfer, the process does not need to add stress to your world. Let's talk about a few things to make this process smoother for you.
Love this question! Ask yourself why you are considering the transfer. If the school you currently attend does not offer a program you are interested in, or you are simply unhappy with where you are, these are legitimate reasons to switch schools. If you did not get into your top choice college and want to give it another go after working hard to prove yourself wherever you ended up, go for it! If you simply want to transfer to a larger college with name recognition, reconsider. It takes a lot of work to transfer schools. You are basically going through the college application process all over again. Transferring for a name might not be worth your time. So do some reflecting over the why and decide if transferring is really the route you want to take.
Make sure you know exactly what you need to prepare for your transfer application. Those students applying to transfer sophomore year of college will likely still need to provide high school transcripts and information. If this is you, you have not been in college long enough for it to provide a substantial record of your accomplishments and academic prowess, which is why high school documents still matter. For those students applying to transfer junior year, typically from a community college, your college grades should suffice. Just as with your first college application, you should select who you wish to write your recommendations well in advance to give them ample time to reflect on what they want to say about you. Recommendations from college professors, regardless of when you plan to transfer, are beneficial as they are the ones who interact with you daily.
Do your test scores matter? This also depends on when you are applying to transfer. If you've been in college for a full year or two, these test scores won't necessarily hold as much bearing as they might should you be looking to transfer sophomore year. The most important factor that many colleges are looking at when reviewing transfer apps is how well college is managed. Your courses and grades matter. Let me say that again, in a different way. How you perform academically in college holds a lot of weight when transferring. The team wants to see that you are able to tackle college level courses successfully, so make your work count.
Not quite, but I caught your attention, didn't I? While not always as substantial as first-year applicants, scholarships are available to transfer students so be sure to do your research. Some schools actually set aside specific funds for transfer students. For many students transferring from community colleges to a four-year institution, there are specific scholarships available. Some of these are in-state school scholarships, others are offered by large foundations such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. You can also look into various merit scholarships, depending on what program you are looking into, as well as financial aid through FAFSA.
Once you select a school and transfer, plan to be involved. It is likely that many of the students in your class will have known each other from the start, but that should not deter you from making your way into the group. Find a club or activity that interests you, join a study group, participate in dorm activities. Find your groove and place in your new school community. Trust me, it will make the transition all that much smoother and help you feel at home sooner. Also make sure to research your new schools orientation program. Oftentimes, schools will offer specific transfer student orientation, providing the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about campus, as well as make connections with current students and transfers just like you!
Ask yourself what you are looking for in a school and why transferring seems like the best option. If you decide to move forward with the transfer process, treat it as though you are applying to colleges for the first time. Be sure the application process is not an after-thought or one you rush through just to get it done. Take your time, have a plan and execute it accordingly.
As always, we are here to help! If you have any questions or want someone to look over your applications, do not hesitate to reach out. Best of luck and happy transferring!