College Life

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Transfer

When I first left for college, I was 100% convinced that I was going to the best school for me. I thought that as soon as I stepped onto campus, I was going to get that sense of home that everyone else talked about. I never felt that sense of being in the right place, always regretting my decision to attend that school. While some people had fallen in love with my first university, I was always wanting to be somewhere else. It was what taught me the questions to ask yourself before you transfer.

While being 200 miles away from everyone I knew certainly contributed to my feelings of homesickness, my lack of enthusiasm and my desire to be anywhere else were contributing factors as well.  If I had to be there, it was hard to pull me out of my bed and out from behind the locked door to my room. This really helped me make my decision to leave. Not just for my own health but for my future and my grades.

During that time, I had the opportunity to visit another college. It was one that previous visits hadn’t caught my eye, but offered the sense of home I was looking for. That being said deciding to transfer wasn’t easy. I am glad that I chose to make the decision to transfer, but it took a lot of time and energy to finally decide to transfer. Here’s 10 questions to ask yourself before you transfer.

1. What am I looking for in a college, specifically what am I looking for that I am missing here?

Some people go to a school because they have their major, they have free football games, or they offered the best financial aid. Maybe you were willing to let go of some of those demands to make the place the college of your dreams. This could have meant giving up on award-winning food so that you went a college that offered a direct path straight to graduate school. If the current college you’re attending makes you say “Oh well, (insert your demand here) wasn’t really that important to me anyways,” then maybe it’s time to consider finding a school that won’t make you compromise everything you are looking for.

2. What other college would I attend and am I confident that this college is what I am looking for?

One of the first things that you should do if you are considering transferring is try to decide where else you would go. If you have no other colleges in mind, the first step is looking up colleges that actually have everything that you want. It’s important that you fall in love with your new college as soon as you step foot on campus. If you’re terrified at the idea of transferring and possibly regretting it, take those thoughts out of your mind.

Focus on seeing if there is another college that will offer what you want. Find the college of your dreams before making any other decisions. Stop compromising and look up everything there is to look up about a school. Before I decided to transfer, I had already looked up what classes I would need to get my degree. I had asked everyone I knew who went there what I needed to know. I also ate the food which was a big plus in the pros column after having spent months eating less than 1600 calories a day.

3. Is this current college causing me to become unhealthy?

You know what you are like when you are healthy. My life was slipping into a state of being unhealthy. I have never weighed very much, weighing no more than 110 pounds at any point of my life. Yet, I was still losing weight because I wasn’t eating. The dining hall wasn’t open when I wasn’t in class. I had classes when they were serving food and then when I was finally got out of class, the food was put away to get ready for the next meal. When I had been able to eat, the food was barely edible. I had no energy and drank cups of coffee every day. Then, I stopped running because I was worried I was going to get sick. I slept all the time because I was just that tired.

Physical health isn’t the only thing you need to be worried about in college. You need to focus on your mental health as well. Ask yourself if you are depressed or if you are losing all of your motivation to do anything. Finally, you also need to wonder if you should be worried because you are crying pretty much every day because of the stress. These are all questions to ask yourself before you transfer.

4. Is there anyway that my current college will improve to where I will be happy or is it going to stay this way throughout my entire career?

This is a question you asked yourself if you think you are being too harsh on the college. The best way to answer this question is to talk to advisers and professors to see if what you are looking to change can be changed. Not to make food the forefront of college issues, but the food at my school was in no way good for you. Mostly because you couldn’t eat it if you have taste buds. My roommate and I talked to our adviser about it and she kept promising to help us find a solution, especially because my roommate was a vegetarian and had even less options than I did. Unfortunately, she never did and the food never improved. On another occasion when I was starting to think that not even the classes at my school could save it. My thoughts were confirmed when I asked a professor for help before the final and she told me to just Google it. She was not making me feel any better about the school I was at, and made me feel confident that I wasn’t being too hard on the college. There was no hope of change. 

5. Am I homesick or is the college the issue?

I put this in here, because homesickness has a lot of ways of rearing its ugly head. Homesickness sucks, but it goes away. If you have been at college for two weeks, then the problem is simply that you miss home. You haven’t found a way to make this college feel like home yet. Sure you may be happy, but it is not home. Even if you and your roommate are inseparable, that doesn’t make it home. On the other hand, if you have been there half a semester, tried to get involved, and focused on your classes, you still have this feeling of dread every morning when you wake up. Then, the likelihood of this just being homesick has diminished quickly. This question is all a matter of timing. You can’t decide to transfer two weeks in, but you shouldn’t be feeling severely homesick 12 weeks in. This is one of the questions to ask yourself before you transfer.                                                

6. How will transferring affect my future?

This question is important if you are considering graduate school or internships. If the school you are at is not adequately prepping you for the future, then you need to transfer schools. I planned on going to medical school, yet my adviser never understood that. In addition, they were being placed on probation in medical fields and that was something that I couldn’t risk.

If the school that you are at right now is putting your future at risk, then I would 100% recommend that you find somewhere else to go. This is your future. Treasure it, protect it and make sure you reach that future. If you think that transferring is going to cause problems for your future, or make you fall so behind; you may want to consider staying at the school. Questions to ask yourself before you transfer should involve what you want long-term. If graduate school and jobs are big for you and those are at risk, get somewhere that won’t set you up for failure.

7. What does my family think I should do?

I am all for making your own decisions. I am. This, however, is one of those moments where you need a support system and to talk to people who can help you make the best decision. Take their opinion into consideration. If they are telling you to transfer, consider why they might be telling you that. They might see something that you don’t see because you are too close to the issue.

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If they are telling you to consider waiting it out, think about why they might be telling you that. It could be too soon to think about transferring. You have a chance to have other people look at your situation and help you make your decision. Your family have the best answers to the questions to ask yourself before you transfer. They know you, they know what’s best for you and they know what risks you are willing to take. Transferring is not an easy decision to make. Have some people help you and make sure that you surround yourself with people who will support your decision no matter what.

8. Can I afford to transfer schools?

If you are like everyone else, you probably aren’t rolling in a lot of money that you can afford to blow $20,000-$50,000 a year. I imagine that money was probably something that you thought about when deciding where to go to college. If financial aid and money is one of the main things you have to consider with college, make sure that you are prepared for the financial commitment that comes with transferring. Work hard to make sure that you can afford to transfer. If you can’t afford to transfer right now, perhaps you will be able to transfer at another time. Don’t give up because of money.                                                                                       

9. Why did I choose the school I am at?

I include this question because obviously you chose this school for a reason. Consider why you chose this school. Questions to ask yourself before you transfer are endless: Was it just because it was cheap or because when you toured it you fell in love? Maybe it was because it offered your major? Was it because it was known for what you are studying? Did every single person you talk to told you that this was a good school and you believed them? Did the combination of good food, nice dorms, and pleasant school colors?

You need to think about what you liked about the school and then question whether you still like that and whether or not that is enough to make you stay. Is it worth staying because it’s cheap if you are unhappy and your future is at risk? There was a reason you chose it. Maybe that’s the reason you stay or maybe what you thought was good enough wasn’t. Maybe what caused you to choose this school isn’t actually true at all.

10. What will make me happy and healthy and give me the best outlook on life?

Your health is what matters most. If you are in an unhealthy situation, you need to get out. Questions to ask yourself before you transfer are will this cause unhealthy stress and is this what’s best for me? Take care of yourself and do what it takes to make yourself happy and healthy.

Share other questions to ask yourself before you transfer in the comments below!
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Alexis Swingendorf

Indianapolis | Cubs fan | Love to read and run and watch videos of animals on Instagram | addicted to coffee and Reeses cups | always in need of a cat nap | happy and healthy |

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