Transfer Student Tips
By Kristina Drendel
Every year, freshman in college are able to find a plethora of resources to help them transition into school smoothly. However, transfer students are also undergoing the same process, but they frequently lack the same resources because colleges often forget to help transfers. I know when I transferred from community college to my current school in Chicago, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. Transfer students are often told that it is “harder to be a transfer student” and that many “struggle with making friends.” This false narrative leads to many students staying at schools where they feel unhappy simply because the idea of transferring frightens them more than their current state of unfulfillment. Luckily, I’ve been through the process before and want to share my tips to help alleviate any fears my fellow transfer students may have.
Apply to your program early. Wait, but don’t many transfer programs have rolling admissions which means there is no solid deadline to apply to your program? Although this is true in many cases, people often forget that admission deadlines and financial aid deadlines are typically two different dates. Even if the program you are applying to does not have a set admissions deadline, it is still a good idea to submit your application early to ensure that you qualify for all types of financial aid. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive some form of financial aid.
Don’t write off underclassmen. Oftentimes, transfer students get put into some lower-level courses until they are able to “catch-up” so to speak on their course load. Sometimes you may even end up rooming with underclassmen! This does not mean that you should roll your eyes and groan at having to tolerate freshman, but rather use it as an opportunity to make friends. I transferred in as a junior and some of my closest friends at my school were freshman, and I’m so glad I didn’t write them off for being slightly younger.
Go to the welcome week activities. Most welcome week activities are optional for older students, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend. Everyone hates ice breaker games but the bright side is that everyone feels the same awkwardness you do, and you can always bond over how much you hate your RA’s getting-to-know-you questions.
Check rate my professor. Sometimes you can’t always pick which section of a course you end up in, but when you can this website is a life saver! As a transfer student, you probably don’t know many people in real life who have already taken your courses so this is the next best thing. Ratings are given by students who have already had the professor they are rating and often give advice for students who are taking their course.
And finally, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. This last tip might seem a little cliché, but it could not be more true. Putting yourself out there can be anything from joining clubs, going to school functions or sports events, or even just speaking up in class. The fact of the matter is, college is what you make of it so make the most of your time while you’re there.
Edited by Ashley Ricks