5 Tips for Transfer Students

The college experience is invaluable – albeit costly. So what happens if your student is unhappy with her college choice? According to an April 15, 2011 New York Times article, about a third of students transfer from one university to another. If your student fancies herself among them, consider the following tips to help her ease the transition:

Apply to several schools

Just like applying for colleges as seniors in high school, transfer students should keep their options open. Now that your student knows what she doesn’t want in a school or degree program, targeting schools that fit her better should be easier. If enrollment is closed or financial aid is sparse at your student’s top pick, she’ll need backup schools that provide the best fit – academically, financially and socially.

Be mindful of transferring credits

Students transfer schools for a myriad of reasons, but for some students, the change might not be worth it. Make sure your student understands what classes she’s already taken will transfer to the next school, and what prerequisites the next school has that she’ll still need to fulfill. If your student has junior standing at her current school and will come in as a sophomore at the next, ask her if the transfer is worth the time (and money). Transferring schools can be costly, as you watch semesters of classes become irrelevant.

Make housing a priority

Schools have different policies for transfer students; some guarantee on-campus housing, some require on-campus housing and some do neither. Finding the right living situation will help your student feel at home, so encourage her to make that a priority. She can connect with prospective roommates via Facebook, university bulletin boards or the transfer student department at school. Meeting and spending time with her roommates early will help ease the transition.

Be proactive

Your student will remember the insecurities and uncertainties she felt as an incoming freshman the first time around, when everyone else was in the same boat. As a transfer student, she could feel like more of an outsider, because her peers will have settled into the college routine with their group of friends. By visiting the campus before classes start, researching clubs and groups to join and reaching out to prospective roommates, your student will connect easier and sooner.

Attend orientation

While most orientations are geared toward freshmen, don’t let that deter your student from attending as a transfer student. This will be the best way for your student to learn the ropes of the new school and start connecting with other students.

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