Approximately one-third of college students transfer to another school at some point during their academic careers, according to U.S.News & World Report. No matter what reason you have for transferring, it can be a difficult transition, with plenty of paperwork, in addition to social and emotional challenges. Here are five tips to make your transition more seamless and less painful:
More and more universities are setting aside scholarship funds specifically for transfer students. Check with your future school’s financial aid office for information. If you had excellent grades at your last school, there may be academic scholarships available to you. If your grades were less than stellar, but you were involved in extracurricular activities or community service at your last school, you may also qualify for leadership scholarships. Keep track of the scholarships for which you apply, noting deadlines and other important dates.
Audit your courses
Credit attrition is often inevitable when transferring colleges, so be prepared to accept some losses. Some universities have reciprocation agreements with community colleges, so look into potential reciprocal programs. Make sure that you save past course descriptions, schedules, grade records, and even syllabi, should you need to plead your case for several course transfers.
Utilize your advisor
Meet with your academic advisor as soon as you can, as he or she will assist you in planning your best course of study. You will want to bring your academic records and syllabi from your last college so your advisor can get a good idea of what you have already covered. You can also get information on local resources and student organizations that you can get involved in.
Become familiar with your new school
Try to visit your new school several times before moving there. Get to know the layout of the school, available student services, dining options, and areas of interest in the local community. The more familiar you become with your new school and community, the smoother your transition will be.
Transferring colleges can be a lonely process. Establish a “peer connection” early on to make the move less daunting. There are many social networking opportunities on the Internet, where many colleges have their own social media groups. Remember, you are not the only transfer student, so there will be other students in similar situations with whom you can connect. Join student organizations, get a part-time campus job, or investigate fraternities and sororities. There will be a group that matches your unique interests, and this is the best way to quickly connect with peers.