Transferring colleges can be as exciting—or overwhelming—as leaving high school for college. As I prepared to take my own steps from community college to a four-year university, I did some reflection. I realized there is significantly less buzz about transfer students as there is for incoming freshmen and that I needed my own checklist to keep me on track.
1. Make sure this is really what you want to do, and create a plan
Why do you want to transfer? Ask yourself that question and make sure you have a really good answer. In addition to that, a plan is necessary. This first step determines exactly how you want things to be. Look at the big picture of your transfer, sketch in the major details, and start to fine-tune those minor ones. Making a back-up plan doesn’t hurt much, either.
2. Get everything ready for your application(s)
You may be looking at this step and thinking, “Well, duh!” What I really mean is: do not procrastinate. Procrastination is your frenemy, especially during the semester when you have an essay, a few readings, and a phone call home due soon, so don’t listen to anything she says. Get everything ready for your application at a steady pace so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute or stressing yourself out.
3. Once you apply, be patient
Oh, how I wish more of my friends would have reminded me of this. I stress a lot over little things, and in the four months it took me to hear back from the college I applied to, all I did was stress. Once you apply, it is one thing to stay on top of your application, but it’s another to check said application every few hours—as I may or may not have done.
4. Maintain your grades and apply for scholarships
This should happen regardless, but it certainly won’t hurt you when you have to send in your final transcript and are possibly strapped for cash. I’m pretty sure the saying “more money, more problems” doesn’t apply to the college student demographic. Besides, scholarships and midterms will keep you busy so you’re not constantly stressing about your transfer application.
5. Weigh your options
Once you get your acceptance(s), you need to think about your options and what will work best for you. It may help to look back at your plan and those major details we talked about five steps ago. I told you that plan was necessary.
6. Send acceptance and confirm enrollment
Wherever you decide to go, you should let that school know as soon as possible, or at least before whatever deadline they may have in place. Once you confirm enrollment, you can work out some more minor details, like housing, orientation, etc.
7. Get all of your affairs together
This is crucial. You need to let people know that you’ll be leaving, whether it’s your friends, parents, or employer, and whether you’ll be 40 minutes or 400 miles away.
8. Get excited!
You may or may not even need to look at this step, but you should be more excited than nervous. Like I said earlier, college is just as exciting for transfer students as it is for incoming freshmen. It’s still a place to make mistakes, learn, and grow, whether you are a freshman or a transfer student.