Last Updated: Sep 5, 2014
Many students begin college with the intention to transfer to a different school at some point. Often, they’ll start off at a community college or a public university near their parents’ home in order to save money while completing their basic course work or because they haven’t decided on a major just yet. But for other students, the idea of transferring doesn’t occur to them until a year or two into their time at a school they thought they’d call home for a full four years. If that sounds like you, it’s important to realize that transferring doesn’t mean that you’ve failed in some way. On the contrary, it means that you care enough about your education to do what’s best for it.
As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons (“I miss my boyfriend” doesn’t count!), transferring can do wonders to help you achieve your academic, professional, and personal goals. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a look at five of the best reasons to consider transferring to a different college.
1. You want to change majors
Let’s say you’re a biology major and you’re going to a college with a strong biology program. But somewhere between dissecting a rabbit and your failure to fully grasp behavioral neuroscience, you decide that maybe business is what you really want to study. The only problem is that your school doesn’t have a great business program. If you’re serious about changing majors, transferring to a school that’s known for its strength in your new course of study can be an excellent decision.
2. You need a challenge
If you feel like your classes are too easy, your GPA may benefit but your mind and your ability to compete in the job market will not. In fact, a recent New York Times piece discussed two studies that looked at colleges’ ability to prepare students for the “real world,” noting that good grades alone are not indicative of future success. If you aren’t being challenged, you aren’t getting enough out of your education. Transferring to a school with more rigorous academics—particularly in your major—could help you in the long run.
3. Your tuition and living expenses are too high
If the tuition and cost of living at your current school are creating a burden for you, transferring to a less expensive school could help you both now and after you graduate—particularly if you’ve had to take out loans to help cover your costs. Don’t think of it as a defeat: excellent schools come in a wide range of tuition rates, and higher tuition by does not automatically translate into a higher caliber education. For example, transferring from an expensive private university to an equally-respected public university could help you save money without sacrificing the quality of your education or your future job prospects.
4. Your school’s location isn’t ideal
It’s not necessarily a good idea to transfer to a school that’s closer to your friends and family just because you’re homesick—one of the best lessons you can learn in college is how to strike out on your own. But if you’re truly unhappy with your current school’s location, transferring to a school in a different city or state could be a good option. Your future job should also be a consideration, because moving to a city where you hope to start your career could help you make invaluable connections.
5. You feel like you chose the wrong school
It may be difficult to put into words your reasons for wanting to transfer. Maybe you’ve had trouble finding a good circle of friends. Maybe the bulk of your classes are too large and you feel like a little fish in a big pond—or they’re too small and you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl. Perhaps you simply don’t click with the campus culture the way you’d hoped to. Whatever the case, your school just feels wrong. College requires a great deal of time, money, and energy: it’s best to spend yours on a place that you truly love. If your school just does not feel like a good fit, don’t feel bad about exploring your options and transferring elsewhere.
Are you considering transferring to a different college? What are your reasons, and how do you think it will help your education and future career?