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Should You Transfer to Another College?

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Transferring colleges makes sense for a lot of students—but for others, it's not the answer. How do you know if it's the right decision for you?

If you've started college, and you're thinking of moving on, take a close look at the reasons behind your dissatisfaction before you decide.

Four Reasons to Consider Transferring

For some students, moving on to another college is the right decision. Here are some situations where transferring might make sense.

  1. You have substantially changed your academic goals by your sophomore year. You'll have time at this point to research potential transfer colleges, and transfer as a junior.
  2. There's been a big change in your financial circumstances. You may find that you and your family can't afford the college, even after appealing to the financial aid office. Transferring to a less expensive college may be a better move than accumulating massive debt.
  3. Your college just doesn't feel right after a semester or more of trying to make it work. Even with your best efforts, you may still feel uncomfortable with your college choice. If you continue to be unhappy, it may be time to find a campus where you can thrive.
  4. Transferring was always your plan. Many students start at a community college or a less expensive four-year college and plan to transfer later.

Four Reasons to Rethink Transferring

Starting college is exciting, but many students feel isolated, out of place, and overwhelmed—and want to transfer as a result. The following situations can often be resolved without changing schools.

  1. You feel lonely or homesick. For many students, it takes a few months to make friends and feel comfortable on campus. So give yourself a semester or two. Join activities, adjust to the academic pace, and find people you can have fun with.
  2. You had a bad experience. Problems such as a low grade or an incompatible roommate can be very frustrating. But these are experiences you could have at any college. Talk to your professors, or an academic or residential advisor, to see if you can improve the situation.
  3. You feel over your head academically—or not challenged enough. It can take time to find your footing with your studies. Try working with your advisor to get help and plot an appropriate academic path, such as working on a research project or getting a tutor.
  4. You are more than halfway through college. Transferring at this point may lead to extra courses and considerable expense if many of your credits won't count toward your major at your transfer college. Consider finishing your degree and looking at graduate school options.

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