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transfer schools

It’s not always the ideal way to do college, but sometimes, it’s the only way.

In most cases, if you’re not taking the two-year associate degree route, no one intends to enroll into a four-year university to eventually transfer to another school. Most students attempt to start and end their college careers in the same program. Unfortunately, when life throws its curve balls and certain circumstances arise, it might be time to transfer schools.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of unreasonable rationales for uprooting your academic career for another location. Some of these petty excuses include not getting along with a roommate, disliking professors or having trouble adjusting to the workload. These might seem like substantial reasons to start over somewhere new, but, in reality, you’re bound to confront at least one of these issues at any school.

However, if you’re looking for some sensible signs, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re switching majors or just looking for a different location, here are five possible signs that it’s time for you to transfer schools.

1. Location

Some universities sit between skyscrapers in bustling metropolitan areas, while others reside in remote regions among cornfields. Regardless of your preferences, location definitely matters when it comes to making your college move.

If you grew up in a suburban neighborhood, you might be looking to venture into more rural territory. But, sometimes, a change in scenery can make you realize it’s time to head back home.

For example, if you’re born and raised in the subtropical climate of South Florida, moving to a city like Boston or Chicago might seem like a daunting, yet exciting, undertaking. Some students long for new environments, while others think they should move away to gain a sense of independence or familiarize themselves with other American cultures.

If you’re looking to transfer schools because you’re just not getting used to your current location, remember that there’s nothing wrong with moving back to your hometown or somewhere similar. At least you can say that you tried to earn a different perspective.

2. Switching Majors

Perhaps a student enrolls into a competitive university, looking to major in mathematics. However, after taking their required physical education course, they realize that their new calling is to become an athletic trainer. At this point, a degree in mathematics might not be the best route to take, so it’s probably time to consider finding a major that’ll suit their newfound goals.

Even though the school’s general education gym class introduced the student to a different field of study, it lacks a major that is sufficient for an aspiring athletic trainer. At this point, it’s time to transfer schools.

It’s easy to discover new interests within the first year of college; so, if you’re contemplating changing majors and schools, don’t worry — you’re not alone.

According to the “Beginning College Students Who Change Their Majors Within 3 Years of Enrollment” report by the U.S. Department of Education, roughly 30% of students change their major at least once. Additionally, about 9% of bachelor’s degree students change their majors more than once.

It’s all about finding the right academic program that’ll cater to your career aspirations.

3. Finances

For the most part, college can be ridiculously expensive, and, sometimes, your school’s financial aid department can only do so much to provide you with the necessary funds. In some cases, universities give incoming freshmen more money than they anticipated. Then, come the student’s sophomore year, the money seemingly runs out.

According to an article from The New York Times, “The [student loan] debt can mount during the course of an undergraduate career, thanks to fine print, tough academic requirements on grants, and unanticipated tuition and fee increases.”

In other cases, students might not take their academics as seriously as they should during their first year. If their scholarships are based off their grades, and if their grades are falling short, then the student will receive significantly fewer financial awards.

Deciding to transfer schools due to financial need is not an uncommon or absurd reason. It’s important to research other possibilities that’ll best fit your circumstance. Before transferring, it’s also crucial to recognize that not all scholarships must come from your university. There are many outside grants from name-brand companies, nonprofit organizations and professional associations that students can apply for.

4. Online Degree Plan

Deciding to transfer out of traditional courses to online ones can be a great option for students. Completing a degree online allows students to work on assignments anytime, anywhere.

Most colleges offer online avenues for students, and some even classify themselves as exclusively online institutions. After all, the numbers for distant education enrollments have rapidly increased over the years.

According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, there were roughly 3.1 million students enrolled exclusively in online courses in fall 2017, compared to about 2.9 million in 2016.

Regardless of what the statistics say, some students feel that earning an online degree isn’t as validating to employers as earning a traditional one. What matters most is that the college offering the degree program is legitimate and not a scam.

However, receiving a degree online is sometimes more impressive than going the traditional route. It conveys that the employee can multitask, since they probably took those courses to balance their job, home life and education.

5. Sports

Collegiate sports play a vital role in a university’s prosperity. Winning sports teams increase overall student enrollment, and sporting events, like football or basketball games, generate revenue annually.

However, the true money-makers behind any successful athletic program are the student athletes. Although these students receive athletic scholarships for their talents, they don’t have it easy. Student athletes must balance their academic workload along with their rigorous sports schedules.

They might have a 5 a.m. conditioning session, an individual practice at noon, a weight room workout at 3 p.m. and then team practice at 6 p.m. It’s not as glamorous as ESPN makes it look.

Thus, it’s not unusual to see student athletes transfer schools for a multitude of reasons. According to a study conducted by professors and students from the University of South Alabama, “40 percent of all college student athletes that receive scholarship money either transfer, leave school completely or do not graduate within six years.”

Some of the most notable reasons for transferring include choosing the wrong coach or team, suffering from injuries, losing interest in the sport or seeking more playing time elsewhere.

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