If you are considering switching schools, we encourage you not to make a rushed decision. Many students who transfer colleges think that it will solve all their problems, when in reality it could create a host of new ones.
Keep in mind that many colleges only reserve a certain number of incoming spots each year for transfer students. For instance, if you are trying to transfer into a popular state school, you can bet that competition is going to be tough.
Local community college students are waiting to get accepted to the nearby state school where transfer students from other 4-year colleges are also in queue.
In addition to getting accepted, you’ll need to think about financial aid at your new school. Depending on the school, financial aid may be prioritized for incoming freshman students, meaning transfer students get pushed to the bottom of the list.
We’ve put together a list of reasons that students decide to transfer colleges and some helpful advice for students in each situation:
Students going to a pricey school may consider transferring to an institution that is more affordable for their family.
Perhaps you live far away, and you could save money by choosing a school closer to home. Or maybe you are attending an expensive private school and are looking to transfer into a public school that is more affordable. If you or your family are facing extreme financial hardships, it might be a smart idea to weigh your options. Before you submit your application to a new school, make sure you consider the future financial implications of your decision.
As we said earlier, transfer students sometimes get bumped to the end of the financial aid line at their new school. You should be able to apply as a transfer student and see what financial aid you get from your new school before making a financial decision. If you currently have a scholarship from your school, you will lose that free money by going to another college. If your scholarship is from an external source, you will need to check with the scholarship organization to make sure they will still honor the scholarship at your new college.
If you are attending a good school, and doing extremely well there, make sure you have evaluated all your options before you transfer colleges. If you can tough it out for the next couple of years, your academic record could secure you a good job and income for the future. If you haven’t exhausted all of your options with your financial aid office, don’t make another move until you do. Your financial aid counselor might be able to help you with your financial aid package, or you might not have exercised all of your loan options, like federal and private student loans.
Change of Major or Career
Students who change their major or career path may find that they need to transfer colleges in order to complete their studies.
Change of major is perhaps the most straightforward of reasons to transfer schools. For instance, if you are set on being a doctor and your college doesn’t offer pre-med. Or perhaps you changed your major to Business and have been accepted into a prestigious program at another school. If you are considering a change, but still not sure, it’s perfectly acceptable to apply to your desired schools/programs and make a decision before your transfer school’s enrollment deadline.
Students may face problems adapting to their new environment, especially if the school is far from home.
Many college students go through a period where they call their parents and beg to come home. Even if you think that your college experience is the worst in the world, keep in mind that many college students have trouble adapting to their new environment. It could be that you fell in with the wrong crowd, are having trouble fitting in, or you haven’t been able to make new friends. Transferring schools for social reasons may or may not fix your problem. Once you attend your new school, you might find the same social challenges. It certainly doesn’t hurt to visit other college campuses and see if there is one that suits you better. In the meantime, try to join activities or organizations that you enjoy to meet new people. Get out and do things in your city or town. Even if you do decide to transfer, at least you can say you got the most of your experience.
Community College to 4-Year School
Students often attend a community college to save money, take pre-requisite courses and prepare for a 4-year school.
With the high cost of college today, and overcrowding at many 4-year schools, attending community college has become a popular and frugal option. If you are currently attending community college, we encourage you to keep your college options open. As we discussed earlier, colleges usually reserve a certain number of spots for transfer students. Even if you live in the local college town and have extreme school spirit, it doesn’t mean you are going to get accepted to a particular college. Make sure you don’t slack off during your community college years. Go above and beyond what is required to make sure you get accepted into a 4-year school – get good grades, get involved in school organizations, volunteer, etc. When you are ready to apply to a 4-year school, we encourage you to submit applications to multiple colleges.