Switching colleges can be a good move, if you prepare accordingly (Photo by Tim Gouw)

5 Things to Consider Before Transferring Colleges

As if the decision wasn’t hard enough the first time around, there are several things to consider before making your next move.

 

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As if the decision wasn’t hard enough the first time around, there are several things to consider before making your next move.

 

For most students, deciding where to further their education was a difficult choice the first time around. Sometimes, after a semester or two, things might not have been anything like you expected.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry; college remorse is common for many students and, as a new semester approaches, transferring colleges might seem like a great option. Before you start packing your bags, here are some things to consider before making the big move.

1. Diversity and Student Life

The diversity within a campus has a large impact on how you learn and can often determine your sense of belonging within a campus. If you’re anything like me, I tend to learn better in an environment that challenges my thinking.

Also, I feel as though I can learn just as much from students as I would a professor. A diverse campus is ideal for students who want to improve their communication skills and increase their sense of cultural awareness, just as you would expect in a workplace.

A diverse student body also determines what type of student organizations colleges have. It’s no secret that getting involved in the campus adds to the overall college experience and can give your resume an extra edge when applying for internships.

Before attending a club fair, remember that college is nothing like the movies and Greek life. Minority organizations and major-specific clubs can all benefit your networking skills while potentially landing you a job after graduation.

Although these might not be the only factors in transferring colleges, it’s crucial to expose yourself to a different experience than your previous college.

Before you rush into the arms of your dream school, remember not to lose your hard work when you transfer your courses (Image via Matt Ragland)

2. Transfer Course Equivalency

Personally, this played a huge factor in my decision of which university to transfer to. To make sure I did not lose any hours that I spent many late nights studying for, I carefully reviewed my potential university’s transfer course articulation.

This became a major obstacle I had to overcome while making my decision; even though all the potential schools I had chosen honored my courses, they did not apply toward my degree plan. For example, while my British literature courses counted toward my liberal arts degree plan at most, some colleges only honored it as an extra elective.

Effective planning in your courses can aid in avoiding this obstacle to ensure you stay on track with your degree plan at the colleges you consider.

Course equivalency can make a big difference to your tuition rates and anticipated graduation date. Before committing to your dream school that seems to check off all the other boxes, make sure your courses will be counted towards your degree plan to make your transfer as beneficial as possible.

3. Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities

Depending on where you live and the college, tuition will vary. Tuition is one of the leading factors in why students consider transferring colleges, and transferring within your home state can save you thousands of dollars a year while still offering the same opportunities.

As unfortunate as it might be, filing for FAFSA doesn’t always provide the financial help students need. Attending a college that offers scholarships exclusively to their own students can cut costs significantly.

Contacting the college of interest to inquire about how much you can potentially qualify for can help ease the search. However, don’t depend solely on the college for scholarships, using websites like Chegg, College Board and Niche have thousands of scholarships available for every college student.

Additionally, some colleges and universities offer tuition plans that can lock you into the tuition rate for your enrollment year. Let’s face it, being a broke college student for four years is already long enough. Therefore, picking a college that offers flexibility not only aids with stress but ensures you can complete your degree at the institution with as little debt as possible.

Scholarship opportunities are plentiful if you know where to look (Image via Ludomil Sawicki)

4. Job Placement

All good things must come to an end, and college is no exception. With as much fun (and stress) college comes with, jobs aren’t as easy to get to college as they might seem. Although the overall experience will have an impact on your success, the college you may consider transferring to has an effect on your chances of obtaining a job upon graduation.

Even though your school might have a good program, do some research on the job placement rate. Universities with high profile alumni and schools with more organizations tend to be ranked higher on lists than smaller colleges and offer a wide pool of connections.

Trust me, I know the future is a scary, but taking this into consideration before transferring colleges will give you further confidence knowing that you will have just as many opportunities after you graduate.

 

Chosing a perfect place to base your college experience might just make it or break it (Image via Stephen Bergin)

5. Location

It’s true what they say: it’s all about location. More often than not, location is a deal breaker when deciding on what college to transfer to. In my decision, the choice between Lubbock, Texas and College Station seemed pretty clear, but distance also played a huge factor.

One of the biggest misconceptions about college is that newfound freedoms are what make leaving hours away from home worth it. However, depending on your personality, home cooked meals and occasional hometown trips to visit your dog (and family of course) can be a necessity for some.

Leaving home is inevitable; without your college town feeling like a home away from home, you’ll be feeling homesick before midterms even have the chance to creep up on you.

No matter what college you choose to transfer to, try to make a pros and cons list of each potential school to compare it to the college you’re currently attending. There might be a reason for the unhappiness you face with your current college, but before you apply to transfer, make sure you don’t end up sacrificing your future.

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