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 in Interior Design (a.k.a. Interior Architecture), a program not offered by the college I was attending. Since 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 in other ways, it was different.
Of course, there were the basics, like filling out the application and sending out a transcript. But I knew that sending in a transcript wasn’t just sending out a transcript (for admission). It meant finding out what my courses would transfer over as, and which ones wouldn’t count as anything.
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 a majority of my classes would continue to 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 even filling out a few forms–notifying the university that I would not be returning the next semester. This was to help things like my housing get cancelled (which meant a refunded deposit) and for the university to know that I didn’t just vanish off the face of the Earth without notice.
The Hardest Part of the Transfer Process
Even though the transfer application process and typing up loose ends weren’t easy (just time-consuming), they weren’t the hardest part of the transfer process.
The hardest part about being a transfer student wasn’t starting over at a new campus, not knowing a single person or how to get around. It wasn’t trying to figure out my new classes and campus policies. 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 processes, 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 hard and confusing as being a transfer student has been, 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 a student’s experience wasn’t something I fully realized until experiencing two different colleges, and it wasn’t something I could fully pick up on a campus tour.
The two different academic environments have 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, becoming a transfer student is scary, especially since it carries around a certain stigma at times.
Plus, it wasn’t only campuses that I was changing, but lifestyles. I went from being a residential student, where I lived in my own suite and my classes were just a mere 5 minute walk away, to being a commuter student, where getting to the classroom could take up to an hour, depending on traffic and the availability of parking.
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 and will continue to have them until I earn my degree. But I’m 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’m a transfer student, and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.