By Helen Berry
There are many reasons why students decide to transfer colleges; some do it because of homesickness, finances, or just not liking the college they picked. Others do it for more educational opportunities so that they could pursue a different major or a better program. Personally, I fell under the latter. I wanted to pursue a degree that was different from the Business degree I was pursuing; combined with the burnout of not talking to any of my fellow students, I decided to pursue another avenue. I would need to transfer schools, which meant going through the dreaded application process all over again.
The Application Process
In some ways, the application process was just like it was in high school, but different.
Of course, there were the basics, like filling out the application and sending a transcript, but I knew that sending in a transcript wasn’t just sending a transcript (for admission). Sending my transcript meant finding out what the course equivalencies were from my current college to the college I was transferring to, along with which courses wouldn’t count as anything.
After all, I was less than thrilled at the thought of re-taking any courses and falling behind, especially now that I truly understood how rigorous, expensive, and time-consuming college courses could be. When I received the course equivalency report, I was so thankful to see that the majority of my classes would be counted as credit at my new school, keeping me on track for my degree.
Tying Up Loose Ends
After receiving my acceptance, completing the online orientation, and signing up for classes, the last thing to do was tie up loose ends at my old school. This involved sending out a lot of emails and filling out a few forms that notified my current university that I would not be returning the next semester. I was fortunate enough to not have to worry about the housing process, however, if you do it’s important to remember to get that refunded! Don’t forget! My reasoning behind that was so my university would know I didn’t just vanish off the face of the Earth without notice.
The Hardest Part of the Transfer Process
Although the transfer process wasn’t easy (just time-consuming), it was not the hardest part of transferring; it wasn’t even starting over at a new campus and figuring out my new classes. Instead, the hardest part about being a transfer student was leaving my closest friends behind, not knowing when we would see each other again.
Even though I knew this during the process, it didn’t hit me how much they had become a part of my life until I found myself on my new campus without them.
The Good Parts of Being a Transfer Student
As difficult and confusing as being a transfer student was, the experience has made me realize that there are some good parts to being a transfer student, as well.
Being a transfer student has given me the chance to experience how different two colleges can be, even though they may just be a few hours apart. Location, size, culture, and so many other factors go into this and their impact on the student experience was not something I fully realized until I experienced attending two different colleges (and it wasn’t something I could have fully picked up on when on a campus tour).
The two different academic environments have also given me some wonderful opportunities and memories, many of which wouldn’t have been possible if I had just stayed at one college.
Being a transfer student has also given me the chance to take risks and face my fears. After all, transferring is scary, especially since it carries a certain stigma at times.
Plus, it wasn’t only campuses that I was changing, but lifestyles. I went from being an off-campus residential student of Washington State—where I was at home with my parents and my classes were a 35-minute drive away—to living on campus and all my classes were a mere 5-minute walk away.
And as much as it hurt to leave my friends behind, I have gained some new ones in the process. Some friends I made in class and others just by the simple act of holding open an elevator for them on the first day. Now I have friends far away and close by and I hate to think of how different my life would be if our paths had never crossed.
My Experience as a Transfer Student
Although my experience as a transfer student has been overwhelming, the most positive outcome has by far been getting to pursue my dream major. There’s something thrilling about walking into the classroom every day excited to learn, knowing deep down that this is the career I love doing and am going to have for the rest of my life.
There’s no doubt that my journey to get here has had some sacrifices, but I am thankful for each and every one of them. The lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had on my journey have been because I am a transfer student and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.