Transferring schools. If these two words are causing an internal struggle, I’m here to help ease your decision fatigued brain. While transferring schools is a big step and should be carefully considered, I’ve laid out some of the largest reasons to consider and created a simple method for deciding.
The Pros and Cons to Transferring Schools
Let’s not kid ourselves, transferring schools could be awful. There are certainly downsides, including:
- Credits not transferring – There’s no guarantee your new school will accept your current credits. This may cause you to fall a full semester (or more) behind, delaying graduation.
- Increased debt – Between higher tuition rates, moving expenses, and higher living costs, your new college may leave you even more in debt.
- Leaving familiarity – There’s a sense of rightness found in friends and familiar landmarks. Having already left home once, leaving again could lead too feeling a sense of buyer’s remorse.
- Being the new kid – Incoming freshman experience the newness of college as a group, quickly establishing friendship circles that may last a lifetime. Even if you’re a social butterfly, it’s sometimes awkward to work your way into a friendship circle that’s already established.
But there are positive reasons people transfer, including:
- “Upgading” schools – You’re dedicated to your studies, but your college seems focused on weekend recreation. Upgrading to a more challenging school sounds appealing.
- Discovering your passion… is at another school – Finding out your preferred major isn’t available at your college is a crushing blow. It might be worth packing your bags.
- Personal growth – Your school is alright, but it’s feels like high school. You expected to blossom in college and lately it feels like you’re stagnate.
Deciding if Transferring is Best
We established the pros and cons of transferring, but when should you actually move forward with it? Well, I have a patented traffic light system to help you decide.
Green light – Transfer right now
- Your school not only doesn’t offer your desired major, but it also doesn’t have the department which would house your dream major!
- You chose your current school because of it’s prestige. However, it’s quickly racking up your student loan debt beyond what you might be able to repay. In many cases, employers aren’t concerned with how prestigious your college is. It’s time to make a change to a more affordable education.
- You absolutely despise everything about your current school, from the academics to your so called “friends”. Cut your losses early and switch to a more suitable college.
Yellow light – Whoa there cowboy, let’s think about this first
- You haven’t found a peer group or anyone you connect to- Yes, that is bad, but it’s possible you haven’t put yourself out there enough. Try joining a new club, who knows!
- Your school doesn’t have the major you want, but it does have a vaguely similar one – Yes, I know chem and organic-chem aren’t the same thing. However, you may want to contact potential future employers to find out if this really makes a difference in your field. If it doesn’t, this be a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side.”
Red light – Hold off for now
- It’s the first few weeks of school and you hate it – Everyone can feel awkward or even awful the first few weeks. Allow some time for adjusting to your new lifestyle.
- You feel graduation from a more prestigious school will increase your earning potential –
- You really hate a specific class – All students face a challenging class in college. Whether it’s the professor or the content, learning how to overcome obstacles is an essential life lesson.
Transferring schools is a personal choice you should think carefully about before making a decision. It’s a semi-permanent choice that causes drastic changes in your life. Many people will have reasons to sway your decision, but remember it’s always up to the person transferring to chose.