Transferring schools often comes with a mixture of emotions, ranging from excitement, to nervousness, to distress. Going through my decision to transfer schools, there were quite a few steps (and obstacles) that I didn’t expect. Here are a few things no one told me about transferring schools:
Transcripts will be a pain
Through the transfer process I had to repeatedly request academic transcripts from my previous schools. Unfortunately, my school recently shifted from personal transcript transactions to online transactions. This was no help when I had to repeatedly pay for the same transcript multiple times to make sure it was sent and received.
…and so will your transfer credits
Most students are familiar with how some credits transfer to your new school. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself to lose some credits towards your intended major. My more difficult business classes that I worked hard in to receive a good grade in were reduced to mere electives when I transferred to another school.
It might take extra time for a degree
Transferring may delay the usual four-year timeframe to graduate, depending on various aspects of your transfer. (For most, it comes down to how many of your credits transfer over toward your degree.) Before you decide to transfer, make sure you know how it may affect your time left to graduate.
There’s scholarships for transfer students
As you have probably discovered, there are scholarships for just about everything. There are also scholarships limited to just transfer students, which can be a convenient perk to explore. Any way you can reduce expenses is a path that should be considered.
You’re more on your own
Your first school probably had many opportunities for freshman to get acclimated to the campus. Don’t expect the same red carpet welcome around your transfer. There will be an orientation at most schools, and then it’s straight to the lion’s den.
You’ll probably get less help from academic advising
I can’t speak for other schools, but, from my personal experience, I did not receive the attention I expected from my academic advisor. The one-on-one attention was not there, which made it difficult to coordinate transfer requirements and schedule classes at my new school. Hope for the best, but expect to receive less help than you did as an incoming freshman.
Back to the financial aid maze
Remember all the paperwork and the hoops you had to jump through before and during your freshman year to find financial aid? Prepare for the same fiasco, especially if you’re transferring from an out-of-state school back to your state, like me. That’s just the price you have to pay to receive the best education at the lowest cost!
It’s freshman year all over again
Once you transfer, you’re in a whole new environment, which means you are going to go through the freshman growing pains all over again. Just like your first time around, starting off knowing nobody on campus can be intimidating. You’ll have to build your relationship with your new school again, but, hopefully, that’ll make the process even more rewarding the second time around.