As a transfer student, you face a unique situation in that your college experience is broken into two parts: you have to apply to college twice, make new friends twice, and get used to new academic challenges twice. Some students find this situation to be incredibly beneficial; they can focus on all of their general education classes while attending a community college, which allows them more flexibility to work and save money. Others may find the transition to a four-year university extra challenging. And others still will have started at a four-year university and discover, for one reason or another, that they need to make a change. Whatever your situation is, there are a few things you should do this summer to make sure your upcoming transfer experience is a positive one.
1. Visit campus
Many students decide to transfer to a local four-year university for reasons of convenience, and most community college students will transfer to an in-state university, making it relatively easy to visit their new campus. It's essential for students to spend a fair amount of time on their new campus so they feel comfortable and at home by the time they arrive. Students who took the traditional route will have already been on campus for a while and will know their way around. Many transfer students feel isolated because they're brand-new even though they're at an advanced level, but this feeling can be combated through regular visits and social contact before the first day of classes. And while you're visiting, if you get the chance, ask a lot of questions!
Related: Transfer Student Survival Guide
2. Meet with an academic counselor
The majority of colleges and universities will require transfer students to meet with an academic counselor in person before the first day of school in the fall. But if not, you should still make an appointment ASAP. This is a chance for transfers to learn what's going to happen in their academic life before they get thrown into a new situation. Students who figure out what's going on early have a better chance of graduating on time, picking the right classes, adjusting to the unexpected, and making changes where necessary.
3. Get in touch with other transfer students
These days, it's relatively easy to get in touch with other transfer students on social media or other digital platforms. It's beneficial for transfers to get together, in person or online, and discuss their experiences. Transferring can be hard, and it's nice to talk to people who understand what you're going through. Every transfer student is in the same boat, even if they're not going to be in the same major. Being around other people who truly understand what a transfer student deals with will make the transition a lot easier and less stressful.
4. Create a graduation strategy
Community college transfers have an advantage in that they've already navigated a two-year college and successfully transferred to a four-year university. This takes a lot of planning and time management. Juniors should continue to make graduation a priority by having a strategy before they even pick their classes. There are all sorts of loopholes to graduating sooner and a whole lot of bumps in the road that can delay graduation. Choosing the right courses could mean the difference between graduating on time or a year late.
5. Plan to join at least one club or organization
A lot of transfer students feel like they don't have time to join a student club, or they just want to get settled in with their academic tasks before they commit to anything else. However, transfers face a unique social situation in that they’re new students but not in their first year. You can see what student clubs and extracurricular activities are offered on your new university's website, and you should also plan to attend the campus activities fair to learn how to get involved at your new school. You don't have to make a big commitment to any particular organization, but belonging to at least one social club can help you adjust to your new campus and enjoy a well-rounded college experience.
While you should also be enjoying your summer, there's a lot to be done before you head off to your new college next semester. Be sure to balance your summer adventures with productivity so you set yourself up for success going into the upcoming academic year in a new educational environment.
Find even more tips on acclimating to your new campus in our Transfer Students section.