After getting the third “should I transfer colleges,” question this month I figured it’s an important question to cover. Here is one of those questions from a straight A high school student I worked with:
I absolutely hate my college. I feel like it’s just another 24×7 high school in the dorms. Everyone is completely immature (including myself.) I try to keep my studying on track but I just get caught up in everyone around me. Now I’m failing out of a class and doing bad in most of my other ones.
I think I’d do a lot better if I was back living at home and going to UNE. I could live at home and I wouldn’t be surrounded by people slacking off all day. I’d commute and save a little bit of money. I tried going off to college and it just didn’t work for me. Should I transfer colleges?
Now I’m going to go to bed.
Wait… that doesn’t help? Okay… I guess I’ll do a full article.
First thing I need you to know: I’m suspicious of anyone thinking their outside environment is to blame for their situation.
Sure… you’re surrounded by distractions but how much are those distractions to blame? Would you be scoring straight A’s without them? Or… are you just using them as an excuse to not do what you need to do to get straight A’s.
I can’t answer that.
Before you make any decision, consider that.
If you transfer colleges, things won’t necessarily get better because you brought you with you. Maybe it is the school. Maybe it’s you. I guess maybe living with your parents will help you improve your own decisions.
Can you prove to yourself that you’re not to blame? That should be your primary goal if you choose not to transfer. If you’re making poor decisions then no amount of transferring will save you.
If you’re spending plenty of time studying, going to class, and finishing class work then transferring might be a good idea.
Don’t make your decision until you think about this. You can make either decision but know why you need to make the decision at all.
Why I Almost Always Recommend Transferring
If you’re asking if you should transfer then you probably should. (There are bad reasons you could transfer but you virtually never hear students asking if they should transfer to a more expensive college into a lower ROI major to get farther from their family.)
There are hundreds of good reasons to transfer:
- Save money
- Live close to friends
- Live close to family
- Go into a better major
- Getting out of a bad environment
College’s have an incentive to discourage transferring.
They want to keep collecting your money. They will encourage you to stick around.
- you’ll make friends (you will… but you probably already have some)
- they’ll do more for your future then where you transfer to (they probably won’t)
- you’ve got to give it time (if you’re not done being homesick after a full semester then something’s wrong.)
They will tell you all of this because they profit off you sticking around. They want you there. If you don’t want to be there anymore then don’t be there. (You should give it at least a full semester. After that, you know what’s best.)
There is virtually no cost to transferring (if you do it right.) If you end up saving money then those costs are sometimes covered completely. Here is the main thing you need to manage before transferring:
Make sure most of your credits transfer.
They don’t always. Don’t assume. Verify it. If they reject any, make sure to appeal it vigorously. One thing to note: if you can’t convince a credible college to accept your transfer credits then you probably made a good choice transferring.
Be open to picking between multiple colleges. It may be a better idea to pick the one that accepts more of your credits. (Naturally, you have to factor in the rest of your costs too.)
Transferring colleges often comes with a change of majors. If that’s the case then you’re going to have more costs.
(This is why studies saying transfer students take longer to graduate make no sense without further digging. Transferring college doesn’t necessarily cost you more. Changing majors does cost you more. Sometimes that’s a dramatic difference.)
You’ll find lists of good reasons to transfer. Here’s the important point in my mind:
You know transferring will come with pain (Really… I don’t need to list the reasons not transferring is preferred, do I?) but you’re still considering it because there is more pain in you staying at your current college.
Even if you can’t quite define the reason you want to go, if you’ve thought about it any reasonable amount of time then you probably have a good reason. The only exception I’d make to that is if you shouldn’t have gone to college in the first place.
You are the only one that can know if you should transfer colleges. You will make the right decision. Based on my experience, transferring is not a bad idea. The only people that really suffer from transferring are the ones that shouldn’t be going to college in the first place.
What do you think of transferring? Am I crazy? Do I have no clue what I’m talking about? Tell your story in the comments below.
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