Changing Schools

Many students, at some point during their college education, change from one school to another.  The process of changing schools, referred to as transferring, happens for many reasons. Some students, like students who transfer from a two year college to a four year university, intend to transfer from the beginning of their college experience and plan accordingly. For other students, transferring is unexpected, based on time, money, location, or numerous other factors. Whether you have planned to transfer from the beginning or are transferring unexpectedly, there are ways to make the process smoother.

Many students transfer colleges at some point during their degree. (Photo by Editor B)

–          Think about the money. In the past, students who have transferred to a new university midway through their degree have found it more difficult to get financial aid from the university. Be sure to spend time reviewing  financial aid options at the new university before enrolling. Financial aid councilors will be helpful during this process. Be sure to consider any federal aid you will be eligible for, state scholarships, school-based financial aid, and personal money you and your family can afford to pay when determining if transferring colleges is financial possible for you.

–          Figure out which credits will transfer. As soon as you’ve enrolled at your new university, spend time figuring out which classes will transfer over to your new degree. The new school should have a copy of your transcripts as part of your application, which will be helpful in determining which classes you’ve already taken. It can also be beneficial, especially if transferring from a private college or a college from another state, to bring copies of old class syllabi. Your academic advisor will assist you in using your transcripts and class syllabi to determine which credits transfer; from there, you will know what classes you need to take to finish your degree.  At many schools, courses that are specifically pertaining to your degree transfer less readily than general education requirements.

–          Get involved. Transfer students can feel isolated and separate from their new college. Both online colleges and traditional schools generally have various groups and clubs that can be joined. When transferring colleges, it is best to get involved in the life of the college as soon as possible. For online students, join any discussion groups or websites that your school offers students; networking with other students can provide unexpected opportunities. For students at traditional colleges, pick a few organizations to get involved with.

–          Find a rhythm. Be ready to create a new pattern for your day after transferring colleges. With new classes, new professors, new organizations, and new expectations, you will need to be ready to change after your transfer. Maybe new study schedules will be necessary to accommodate increased courses, or maybe you will need to allocate more time for groups and organizations you want to be involved in. Be sure to adjust your work schedule, if necessary, as soon as possible.

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