Transferring to Another College: Reasons To Leave Or Stay

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Transferring to another college or university is no easy task. At your target schools, your class has been previously selected, and unless the attrition rate is significant, there typically isn't a whole lot of space in the class for extra students coming in from the outside. Recognize that transferring will require you to go through a modified admissions process, complete with applications, essays, interviews, and a whole lot of bureaucracy as you try to transfer credits and your financial aid package.

So how do you determine whether transferring to another school is a wise choice or whether you ought to stay put, redoubling your efforts and making things work out where you are?

Read on.

The Five Most Popular Bad Reasons To Transfer

Let's look first at some of the bad reasons to transfer.

I Had a Bad First Semester

Yeah, and as you've already seen, so does about 50 percent of the college population out there. There is a lot of adjustment associated with going off to college, packing up and moving to a new place, living with a new roommate, and being more or less completely responsible for your own life and academic progress. First semester typically confronts freshman with an astounding array of difficult choices"about alcohol, drugs, sex and sexual identity, friends, life, and, oh yeah"all that academic stuff too, such as what classes to take, what to major in, and when and how much to study.

Having a tough first semester is no reason to transfer to another school.

I Miss My Boyfriend [Girlfriend] from Home

Time to echo the familiar refrain again: if it was meant to be, it will wait - and to be honest and blunt, chances are, it wasn't meant to be. Almost every college campus has someone who transferred in from somewhere else to be closer to a boyfriend or girlfriend who then almost inevitably dumps him or her within a year of the transfer. You want to talk about putting pressure on a relationship?

That's pressure.

Most relationships are not ready for this kind of pressure during freshman or sophomore year of college. Yeah, yeah . . . we know you think you're different and that you and your significant other are more mature and have really thought this out and all that.

I Hate My Roommate(s)

Yes, this can make for a tough year - but it is still not a reason to transfer. First, do everything you can to work things out. Remember that the roommate relationship is a two-way street and that you have part of the responsibility to make things work out.

If you've done all you can on that front and things just can't be worked out, then take your complaints to the next level. Maybe your roommates truly do suck. If they do, spend a lot of time out of the room studying in the library, hanging out with friends from outside your dorm, or throwing your energy into an extracurricular activity, athletics, or something else.

I Haven't Found Any Friends Here

How hard have you tried? And what have you actually done to find a group of people with similar interests? Have you talked to people in your classes and in the departmental office of your subjects of greatest interest or your intended major?

Have you joined an extracurricular activity or two that reflect your interests? Have you reached out to the other people participating in those activities? Have you engaged in some form of athletic activity - be it at the varsity, junior varsity, club, or intramural level - and tried hanging out with those people? What about a religious or spiritual group, where people will be likely to embrace you? Have you explored Greek life on campus?

Some people fall in with a good group of friends right off the bat. For others it takes time and integration into the campus culture to find a good group of people with similar interests. Once again, getting halfway through freshman year is not enough of an experience to determine that there is no one on campus with similar interests.

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