Transferring to Another College: Reasons To Leave Or Stay (page 3)

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

I Have a Family Emergency

Chalk this one up as a "maybe," because you do actually have some options in such a case. We hope you'll never face the circumstance where you need to consider transferring due to a family emergency, but we know that it sometimes happens. If a family member is terminally ill but you otherwise like the experience you've been having in college, consider asking the administration for a semester or year's leave of absence to go home and attend to your family during its time of crisis. Chances are, your attention will be divided anyway, and spending time memorizing equations when your dad is dying is not something you'll care much about.

If the situation is more protracted, however, as in the case of a more debilitating illness that will require more long term but less intense participation on your part, moving to a campus closer to home may be the best option. Before you make a decision, talk things over with your family and your dean of student affairs, who may be able to offer you additional options or solutions.

I Can't Make Ends Meet

Your inability to fund your college education in your present circumstances should rarely have to be the impetus for a transfer. If you find yourself in such circumstances, you should first consult your college or university's financial aid office to see what changes might be made to your financial aid package. Bringing your situation to the attention of the financial aid officials at your school is often all that's necessary to bring about the change in circumstances that will make your remaining at school a possibility.

Even if this initial step does not solve your problem, though, you need not give up. Work your way up the chain of command. Talk to your dean of students to see if he or she can offer any suggestions. If you still get nowhere after that effort, make an appointment and take your case to the college president. How many people do you think take that extraordinary step?

If despite all these efforts you still come up empty and cannot make ends meet, then, and only then, a transfer for financial reasons might be in the offing.

I Think It's a Bad Fit - After a Full Year of Effort

Sometimes it's not the unavailability of a major, the departure of key professors, or financial issues that derail you. Sometimes it really is a question of fit.

If you've given it a year and you can articulate specific and legitimate reasons why your college or university is a bad fit for you - and you have identified one or more schools that you know would be a better fit - then go head with the transfer.

Campus Confidential Mentors and Uber-Mentors:

Campus Confidential contains the collective advice of a a diverse group of people who have traveled the road to college. Some are recent college graduates who can counsel you on the college experience as it is today. Other are a few years removed from their college days and can provide a longer view of the decisions you will need to make before, during, and after college. Here is a little bit about the mentors and uber-mentors in these articles.

Dan Bissell – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Portland, Oregon

B.A. Middlebury College cum laude, 1993. Major: Geology

M. D. University of Colorado School of Medicine, Adler Scholar, 2002


Tom Teh Chiu – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Brooklyn, New York

B. A. Yale University, 1993. Major: double major in Chemistry and Music

M. M. Juilliard School, 1995

M Juilliard School, 2001

Jim Bright – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

B. A. Duke University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1997. Major: History


Amanda Cramer – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Paso Robles, California

B.A. Cornell University Phi Beta Kappa, 1993. Major: Mathematics

Graduate study in food science – Enology, University of California at Davis 1997-2000


Zoe Robbins – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Gouldsboro, Maine

B.A. (1) Wellesley College magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1997. Major: Economics

B.A. (2) University of Pennsylvania, 2001. Major: Nursing


Carolyn Koegler – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Hopkinton, New Hampshire

B. A. Tufts University, cum laude, 1993. Double major: History and Spanish


Erik Norton – Campus Confidential Uber-Mentor

Boston, Massachusetts

B. A. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993. Major: Mathematics


Lyndsee Dickson – Campus Confidential Mentor

Concord, New Hampshire

B.A. New York University, cum laude, 2004. Major: East Asian studies


Kevin Donovan – Campus Confidential Mentor

Somerville, Massachusetts

B.A. Boston College, honors in the major, 1993. Major: English, Minor: Creative Writing


Tiffany Chan – Campus Confidential Mentor

Concord, New Hampshire

B.S. New York University, 2005. Major: Communication Science


Erica Eubanks – Campus Confidential Mentor

Memphis, Tennessee

B.A. Tennessee State University, National Deans List, 2003. Major: Criminal Justice


Dave Irwin – Campus Confidential Mentor

Carlisle, Massachusetts

B.A. Middlebury College departmental honors, 2004. Major: American Civilization, Minor: Education


Chase Johnson – Campus Confidential Mentor

London, England

B. A. Duke University, with Phi Alpha Theta distinction in history, 2005. Major: History


Aaron Paskalis – Campus Confidential Mentor

Magnolia, Massachusetts

West Point Military Academy, then transferred to UMass Amherst

B. A. University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2005. Major: Legal studies


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