Every year, over a third of American college students transfer universities. Students transfer for a plethora of different reasons, including wanting to go to a place that offers more financial aid to a place that has a more inclusive and vibrant student life.
I am a transfer student and my experience of starting afresh at a new university was both exhilarating and terrifying. But after talking to other transfer students, I realized that I was far from alone when it comes to having mixed emotions.
1. “Will my credits transfer?”
I have spent at least ten hours on the phone with admissions trying to figure this out.
2. “What classes do I need to take?”
Will some courses that I took at my last university fulfill certain requirements? The world will never know.
3. “Everybody already knows each other.”
Joe, Stacey and Bob already bonded by crying over Calculus I freshman year.
4. “When will I graduate?”
I just want my degree! Also, university is expensive and I can’t be in school forever.
5. “Did I make the right decision by starting over?”
Between course requirements, socializing and getting used to a new place – I am overwhelmed!
6. “I need to find where people get cheap food.”
Can someone hook me up with some recommendations? I don’t want to eat only ramen.
7. “Is this event actually mandatory?”
I want to take a nap. All these transfer orientation events are tiring.
8. “Somewhat concerned that I’ll have to leave this place too.”
I want to find a place where I belong! What if this isn’t it?
9. “Should I get college merch for my family?”
I already spent so much money buying sweatshirts and mugs at my last university.
10. “Is it too late to join clubs to get leadership positions?”
I gotta build up that resume!
11. “I feel like a freshman again.”
I don’t know what is happening! I feel like a baby.
12. “Should I lie about why I actually transferred?”
Debating about whether I should tell people I just didn’t like my last school or give them a multiple page essay on how bad my experience was.
13. “I miss my friends.”
One of the few things that I miss about my last school is the friends that I made.
14. “Where in the world are my classes?”
This map is extremely unhelpful, and everyone is walking by me when I ask for directions.
15. “I should find other transfer students and befriend them.”
Bonding over transfer student experiences can actually be helpful.
16. How does student health insurance actually work here?
I’m sick and need to find a doctor.
17. What do people do for fun here?
Should I go to house parties? Football games? Visit the therapy dog? I’m not sure.
18. “I actually know what I want to study now.”
Trial and error at my last university are helping me figure out what my desired academic focus is.
19. “Some people here are really cool.”
I miss my old friends, but I’ve also made new ones.
20. “I made the right decision by coming here.”
My new university isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to continuing my education.
Being a transfer student is definitely a unique experience, and a path that I did not expect to take when I started at my first university. Despite the stress and confusion, I’m glad that I transferred.