College Transfer In and Out

You’ve burnt the midnight oil to enter the college of your dream and, congrats, you are in. But what if something feels wrong? Has the higher school really lived up to your expectations? And if the answer to this is “yes” that is a clear signal to take action. Life rarely goes as planned but there is nothing disastrous about it. Having so many opportunities and so little insights in them often leads to confusion when it comes to choosing an alma-mater. The positive thing about it is that whatever decision you make does not mean it is irreversible. 

Transfer College: What and Why

Transferring a college is a common academic mobility practice used by 38.5% of US students. Since the majority of Education Ministries realize that designing your future around 16-18 is a tough and risky task, they provide undergraduates with a chance to switch a college to another one. And maybe to another one again. The existence of this perspective also serves to decrease the tension that pressures the entrants while making their first solid adult-life decision.

Solid Reasons To Make A Change

Generally, high-school graduates tend to idealize their future academic life. But as the reality is usually far from perfection, there are thousands of broken rose-coloured glasses out there. Yet, being dissatisfied with your dorm room design or feeling lonely or homesick at the beginning are not the true reasons to dive into the transferring process.

  • The first justified reason is academic dissatisfaction. It may happen that the college you’ve chosen doesn’t fit your future target and you’ve found that out only a semester later after tedious lectures and wasted study hours. On the other hand, if you feel that you’ve made the wrong choice in a couple of weeks or months after the beginning of your program, consider waiting a bit longer. Probably it is just the adaptation period being hard on you. 
  • Another reasonable thing is that the school may be weak in the major you decided to go for. In such a case, searching for a better-equipped institution with broader perspectives is just the right thing to do. But again, such points are not usually seen from a close distance, so consider looking around until you are sure that this place is not enough for you.
  • Social factors such as the wrong environment or overwhelming homesickness should be also taken into consideration. Sometimes values and attitudes of the students do not fall in line with yours, and it can’t but affect your studies and general mental state. Homesickness is one of the most common adaptive factors. But if it goes beyond expected and makes you reevaluate your decision to part from the loved ones, maybe torturing yourself isn’t worth it and there is a much appropriate option to go for.
  • Falling in love with another country or realizing better career prospects in a foreign state is also on the list of transferring college reasons. Some countries have deeper experience and stronger programs in certain majors, so why not take advantage of immersing in a new culture with its broad job perspectives.

A Risky Step

Transferring a college is a great alternative yet, it’s not as easy as switching schools. You should keep in mind that you are to face not only the bureaucracy machine trying to get all the transferring papers but also uncertainty if this step is worth taking. So before you rush into it, consider the risks that surround the procedure.

Credit Risk

One of the most unclear things is the transferability of your college credits. It would be disappointing to find out that years of hard work simply won’t count as programs differ significantly from one institution to another. So if in the middle of your bachelor degree you decide to go for economics instead of design, be ready either to catch up with the previous two-year program yourself or enrol in the 1st year. Thus transferring to a similar specialization is much safer. First-graders are also in a better position as their high-school GPA will be taken into account more than their first-year credit points. 

Failed Expectations Risk

You’ve overcome all the college transferring hardships and made it to a new desired alma-mater. You should be utterly satisfied by now. But you are not, for the same reasons you’d left the previous place. Clearly, it means your decision was a rash but optimists would say that is great you’ve earned new valuable experience. On the other hand, the transferring students admission rate varies from one college to another and rarely goes higher than 61% of positive responses. It means that if you failed to enter a school from your dream from the first attempt, you are unlikely to get there by transferring. But miracles do happen. 

Starting Anew Risk

This one may be considered a risk exclusively by those who are not good at establishing new social relations. Diving a second time into a new pool is additional stress to the one you’ve experienced while moving out from the original place. Successful social integration is half a chance, half a thoughtful strategy, as trying to fit into already formed groups is a particularly tough and uncertain job. But if unknown surroundings and new acquaintances make you feel excited and inspired, then go for it. 

College Transferring Strategy 

Almost no important decisions in life (except for love decisions) turn out to be fortunate without being carefully planned. Switching colleges is a multi-step process which requires deep research and strict strategy. 

Analytical Stage

The first step is always about deep thinking and accumulating the information from various sources. Educational websites, college pages, transferring statistics is the required minimum. If you want to have a fuller understanding of what to expect, try to reach students who study at the place you are planning to move. They’re totally unbiased so you may be sure to have accurate insights. Do not avoid talking to your own college professors and advisors, as they also possess valuable information. After you collect enough facts and opinions, it is time to move to a second stage.


Few people enjoy gathering official documents running from one office to another. Yet, this stage is unavoidable. But there is a proven way to make it less hasty and stressful - to start in advance. If the idea of transferring college visits you, make it clear right away and do not put off the thinking process. Because if you do, you may miss the admission dates or simply will be unable to go through the bureaucracy machine in time for the admission deadline. Start the paper collecting as early as possible, check the transferrable credits and contact the prospective school for further detailed information.

Final Decision Making

When you are deep into the transferring idea, having a versatile and full picture of what it is really like, it is easier to look at it from a different perspective and once again decide that you are making the right thing for your future. If you are still into the switch, start the application procedure and wait up till you’re successfully enrolled into the place of your dream. The important thing is to constantly keep in touch with the college advisor, as some changes may take place during the admission.

College Switch Useful Tips 

Having advice on the things you are new to is a valuable asset which helps you clarify the mess going on in your head. So we’ve created a couple of tips for you to avoid some of the common college transferring mistakes and disappointments.

#1 Note Down The Reasons For Transferring

Taking principal life decisions is responsible. The transferring college idea may pop up from nowhere just because you were upset or failed at a test someday. To be sure that your decision is solid, take some time to write your reasons down to see if they are still relevant to you. The point is that if your reasons are not strong enough and they failed to be formulated in your thoughts properly, you won’t be able to write them down. 

#2 Use Your Second Shot To The Fullest

Remember how insecure you were at the beginning. Knowing nothing about college life and the accuracy of your decision. Now you are mature and experienced, clearly more determined and competitive. So do not have the same mistakes again, improve your admission essay, prepare the papers beforehand and enjoy not being a pioneer.

#3 Get Ready For The New

Being optimistic about a new place is essential. But being realistic is also required. Not everything will be covered with rose petals, but there will certainly be things you’d lacked at your previous school. Try to concentrate on the positive side, and don’t stress out if something doesn’t go as planned. 

#4 Give Yourself Time

If you are thinking of an instant and painless college switch, hold on. Even if you decided to stay in the same country, a new institution is a completely new environment and the adaptation period can’t be skipped. Don’t rush yourself trying to multitask and catch up with life, other students have been living at least for a year. Take your time and you’ll fit in there.

#5 Visit Campus

The campus is the academic life epicentre. So before you are enrolled, it is beneficial to get acquainted with the surroundings. Visit the dormitories, attend a couple of classes, take a tour around the building, check out the library, the cafeteria or whatever part you’re interested in. Being a bit acquainted with the campus will save you a good portion of nerve cells when you’re an official student trying to navigate there.

#6 Talk To Both Sides

If you make a decision to become a transfer student, be sure to communicate with both sides involved. Your alma-mater will be glad to assist you with collecting the necessary papers and contacting the receiving institution. The college you are applying for should also be involved as it is the major decision-maker here. 

#7 Enjoy The Process

Does the transferring idea make you feel energetic and motivated? It should, as for what other reason you are planning to go all this way? Searching information about your desired place of studying, chatting with its students, exploring the opportunities your new choice has to offer - all of it must excite you. Set yourself on the positive mental path and feel the change you’ve been brave enough to make.

The Bottom Line

Modern education is progressive, it doesn’t constraint our choices even when we’ve already made one. Transferring college is about a mature decision that should lead to a happier fulfilled future. Whatever causes you may have, don’t be afraid to follow your intuition and take a step beyond your comfort zone. As there maybe something even more comfortable. 


Will my college record transfer?

It depends on your original course/college and the ones you transfer to. The closer they are the more likely your grades to transfer with you. Still it’s very likely that you’ll have to catch up with some studies.

When should I start the applying process and can I transfer mid-year?

Most transfers happen at the beginning of the year. Still it’s possible to transfer mid-year. If you plan for the fall semester, it’s recommended to start application in January. If you plan to transfer mid-year, it’s best to begin applying in October.

Will my GPA transfer?

Your GPA, unlike completed courses, does not transfer to a new institution.

Are colleges allowed to accept only a fixed amount of transfer students per year?

Transfer policies vary greatly depending on the institution of your choice.You better check with the individual university and its policies before starting an applying process.

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