By Marisa Sorenson
8 steps to a smooth transfer process
College searches are hard.
You’ve finally settled on one, and you’re all excited and nervous as you start your first day. After a semester or two passes, you might realize that you want to change your major to something that your college doesn’t offer.
Or maybe you just don’t feel like you belong there anymore. “Should I transfer colleges?” you ask your friends, your family, and the Internet.
Ultimately, the final decision is yours. But before you decide, you probably want to know how to transfer colleges. Follow these 8 steps to have a smooth transfer.
Need help evaluating your decision? Download a Transfer Decision Worksheet.
Here’s your 8-step guide to a smooth college transfer
- Narrow down your choices
Search for a college that has your planned major, desired campus environment, and class size. For example, if your current college is located in a rural setting and you want more nearby attractions, consider an urban school. (Not sure about an urban college? Read our article on Why you should go to college downtown.) Or if your class size is around 10 students to 1 teacher, but you prefer a larger class size, search for colleges with a 25 students to 1 teacher ratio.
- Talk to people you trust
Talk to your parents, your roommate who you’ve been through ups and downs with, or someone you look up to for their wisdom. If that’s the neighborhood dog walker, go talk to them. Find people with wisdom and advice to help you find the right school to transfer to. You want this transfer to be your first, only and last one.
- Meet with your academic advisor
Your academic advisor has access to a plethora of information at their fingertips. They will help you figure out which credits (if any) will transfer and what you would have to do to complete the transfer process. If you have two or three schools you’re undecided about, they will be able to supply extra resources for your final decision.
- Visit the school(s) in question
Would you buy an engagement ring or a wedding dress without seeing it first? Most times, the answer is no. The same idea applies to transferring colleges. Try to go and visit the campus, meet a few professors and students from your prospective major, and get a better idea of what you’re going to experience.
- Figure out your financial package
Transfer students still get financial aid, and there are special scholarships available to transfer students. Before applying, you won’t know the specific financial package you’ll have, but a ballpark number is always helpful as you figure out how much you’ll need to invest in your future.
After you’ve finished all the steps above, and feel confident, send in all the materials needed for an application. Each college has different admissions requirements, so it is up to you to make sure you meet all of them. If you need help with the application, an academic advisor or the student services office should be able to help.
- Attend orientation
Orientation is only for freshmen, not transfers, you say? Nope! Other transfer students attend orientation, providing the perfect opportunity for you to make new connections that can develop into long-lasting friendships. Orientation also gives you time to scope out the campus and figure out where your classes are, and where the cafeteria is.
- Enjoy your new college!
After the decision is made, the transfer process is complete, and you are all settled into your new place, enjoy your new college. Buckle down and work hard to finish your degree, but remember that some fun every once in a while is important too. Good luck!