Transferring can be a scary thing. I transferred to a new college going into my sophomore year, and now I am a senior. Before transferring, I was extremely unhappy where I was going to school and had a lot of my own mental struggles I had to deal with. Transferring was terrifying, but it was hands down the best decision I ever made. Navigating being a transfer student was challenging at times, however there are ways to make the transition smoother and ease your anxiety.
1.What to expect your first semester
You need to keep in mind a couple things. The first thing being that your starting all over, and you’re basically a freshman. With that being said, schools often offer events specially for transfer students. Definitely make sure you attend these events because you will talk to and possibly become friends with people who are in the same situation as you are. Going off of that, keep in mind you aren’t alone and you’re not the only person who transferred this semester, so there’s people who are just as nervous as you are. I made sure that I went to plenty of events on campus for transfer students as well as just events that my resident assistants were hosting in the dorms. By doing that I meet plenty of people, some friends stuck and some just became acquaintances, which are both important to have!
2.Be true to yourself.
As a transfer student, its super easy to cling on to anything or anyone that makes you feel less alone on your new journey. It Is important to remember who you are, and make your values transfer with you. One thing that I wish someone told me when I transferred that finding a group of people to hang out with isn’t automatically the same thing as finding a group of real friends who support you and care about you. I personally hung out with the same couple of girls the first semester I transferred, and after the first semester I found my current group of friends who I have become super close to. Things take time, and that’s okay. Real friends are out there and there are plenty of ways to meet them. Just become things come easy that can create a sense of community for you, does not mean it’s the best thing for you.
3. Meet with a transfer counselor
This is arguably one of the most important things to do when considering and transferring schools. Your experience as a transfer student will be a lot smoother if you know what classes are going to transfer over as makes the process of picking your classes way easier. It also gives you a gauge on when you will graduate, and as a whole can ultimately affect your decision of if you even want to transfer or not. A lot of times unfortunately colleges don’t take all of your classes, or just take them as general education courses or electives. For example, if a student is planning on transferring over 30 credits, only 15 of them may apply to their agree. Personally, I met with the transfer counselor and she told me that only 2 of my classes wouldn’t transfer over, and the rest would count as general education courses as well as electives. Another important thing she told me is what community college courses that my school was accredited with would count as what. For instance, she told me exactly what math course to take over the summer from my local community college. Meeting with her eased my anxiety about picking classes and transferring classes as a whole.
If possible, one of the best ways to ease into the transfer life is to dorm. This is one of the things I can’t stress enough. When I initially was planning to transfer, I was going to commute. I live close enough that I would have been able to travel back and forth every day. However, it would have ended up being a lot. I remember my parents telling me that I should just try to dorm, and if I ended up hating it, I could move out after the first semester. Once I had that in mind, they pretty much convinced me. By the beginning of my second semester, I was growing super close with my roommate and she eventually asked if I wanted to live with her again. If I didn’t dorm, I wouldn’t have become with the girls that are ultimately my best friends now. So, if it is possible, you should definitely try dorming. Keep in mind it isn’t permanent and you can always decide that you want to move out for the following semester.
5. Only go home when it’s necessary.
The last thing that I cannot stress enough is to only go home if it’s necessary. When dorming, it’s easy to feel homesick. And chances are if you are an upperclassman, you’ll have your car on campus with you making it easy to go home. However, one of my biggest recommendations is to stick it out and stay at school. The more you go home, the more possible opportunities you will miss to make friends or become closer to the people you are becoming friends with. Not to say you shouldn’t go home randomly a couple times, but you should definitely not make a habit of it. For example, you shouldn’t be going home every single weekend. I knew a transfer student that did that and then she would always say how much she hated the school when in reality, she never gave it a fair shot because she was never there. If you aren’t dorming, I recommend staying on campus as long as possible. Meaning if you have two classes, stay on campus in between those classes. It will give you more opportunities to attend events on campus as well as make new friends.
To be honest, transferring is a scary thing. The thought of starting over, making new friends, and putting yourself out there can be really nerve wracking. But, if you follow these tips it will help you get past the nerves and give you the best experience ever.
Hi Everyone! My name is Emily and I am a current college senior at Ramapo College of New Jersey. I am a Communications major and have a minor in Sociology. Some of my interests are astrology, fashion, celebrities, and holidays!