Should You Transfer To A New College?

Elizabeth Witbeck

Many college students consider transferring at some point. In the United States, one-third of college students will transfer to another university. If you are considering making this move, you are not alone.

Some people attend a university, only to arrive and decide it is not the best place for them. While many students transfer during their first year, others transfer during their second, third or even senior years of college.

There are many common issues that students deal with that lead them to want to transfer. I answer some of these below.

“I am not making any friends”

Many people want to transfer during their first year in college because they can’t make any friends. They believe that everybody has friends besides them. It is a difficult position to be in because everybody wants to have friends and people to hang out with. This is a common issue that people have; many people feel like they are lonely and isolated in college.

During your first years in college, every person there is trying to make friends. The thing about making friends is if you want to be a friend, you have to be a friendly person. You have to be willing to go up to people, say hello, and start a conversation. Everybody in college came there as complete strangers; they became friends by starting a conversation.

If you feel uncomfortable meeting people at your current college, you will probably feel the same way at any other college you transfer to. Joining clubs, team sports, and volunteer activities around campus are great ways to meet people with similar interests as you, as well as just saying hello to people in the dining hall, your dormitory, your classes, and around campus.

“I really miss my family”

This is a common issue people face. While some people love the idea of being independent and living on their own, other people aren’t ready for that quite yet. Some people are not emotionally ready to live away from home. These people transfer to a different college closer to home, or attend a community college where they can live at home.

Homesickness occurs with a lot of college students. It is important to remember that college is a new, unusual and frightening situation. It is okay to miss your family. You can talk to your family every day while you are at college, or talk to the professors or counselors at your college about ways to handle homesickness. They are there to help.

“I don’t like my classes. They are too hard. (Or too easy)”

Sometimes you take a bunch of classes during your first year in college and they just aren’t what you expected. Maybe the classes are too difficult and now you are overwhelmed by the coursework and wondering how you are ever going to survive college. Maybe the courses you selected are too easy and now you are bored out of your mind. Try taking new classes, not transferring to a new school. If you don’t like your classes, you can select new ones next quarter or semester. Keep trying different classes until you find ones that are the perfect fit for you.

Be sure to ask other students for reviews about professors and classes. If you want more challenging coursework, ask your professors for an independent study or a research project to work on.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember that most colleges offer an academic advising department to help you with tutoring and the other assistance you need to succeed in college.

“The culture here is a bad fit for me”

College can be a culture shock. Sometimes students go to college and feel like they just don’t fit in with anybody. This can lead students to wanting to transfer to somewhere else where they might feel like they fit in better. It’s important to remember that college is made up of a diverse array of people, and you are certain to find friends who you click with.

College is also an opportunity to try new things, and while it may be a different experience than what you are used to, this is what you came to college for – to have a different experience.

How will you know if you should transfer?
I would suggest giving it at least two years at your current college or university. This will give you an opportunity to make friends, find information about a bunch of clubs and activities and try them out, take many different courses and professors, and understand the campus culture a bit better. After two years, you will be better able to understand the university and how you feel.

Trust your own gut feelings. If you are completely miserable in your current situation, then you should consider transferring if that would make you happier. Remember to take into consideration that some colleges may or may not accept credits from other universities, so you will need to research that when considering transferring.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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