Unhappy at College? 10 Tips for Changing Schools

Many college students decide to transfer schools for personal reasons. Even though transferring may be beneficial in the long run, it's important to consider any potential shortcomings. The following ten tips can help you transfer colleges effectively and efficiently.

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10 Tips for Changing Schools

1. Have a Good Reason

There are only two good reasons for transferring schools: You're absolutely unhappy at your current school or you believe you'll get a better education elsewhere. Don't transfer if you're homesick, hate your roommate, don't like your professors or had a bad break up. Remember that transferring schools will require time, money and effort.

2. Choose the Right Time

Picking the best time to switch schools is essential. If you're transferring right after freshman year but you earned poor grades, you may have to wait to transfer - many colleges pay close attention to GPA when weighing acceptance of a transfer student. Some colleges may not have room for transfer students, which may force you to transfer elsewhere or continue attending your current school until your college of choice accepts transfer students.

3. Choose the Right School

Research which colleges meet your academic goals and needs. Do your best to gauge whether academics and faculty meet your criteria - think about location, cost, majors, extracurricular activities and other important elements. Think about how you've felt let down by your current school and whether or not other schools are better in those areas. Visit campuses to gauge where you feel most at home.

4. Consider Your Chances of Getting In

Learn what is required from transfer students at your college of choice. Find out what steps you'll need to take in order to transfer within their timeline. Feel free to ask about a required minimum GPA for transfer students. You can Google the Common Data Set for your college of choice, which is a document that lists the admission criteria, freshman academic profile, campus safety and transfer admissions for any college in the nation.

5. Find Out How Your Credits Will Transfer

Make sure you find out which credits you'll be able to transfer now that you've invested money and time taking those courses. Most general education courses that you've taken in the first two years can be transferred easily. However, it may be difficult to transfer credits from some upper-level courses.

6. Consider Total Expenses

Transferring to a new college can significantly affect the amount of financial aid that you receive. Depending on the difference in tuition between two schools, you may have to pay a lot more when you transfer. Get specifics on how much it will cost to attend a new college. You may want to factor in paying for nontransferable credits you'll have to re-take.

7. Meet With a School Advisor

Most students who change schools have at least some credits that don't transfer to a new college. This can mean delaying graduation. It's important to map out your path to graduation with an adviser at a new institution. Confirm that classes you need will be offered so you can graduate in a reasonable timeframe. You can also ask about prerequisite courses you'll need to take to be accepted into a particular program.

8. Stay Enrolled at Your Current School

The worst thing potential transferees can do is to drop out of school, especially in the middle of a term. Students who quit with the expectation of going to another college lose a lot of time as they wait to re-enroll. It's best to continue earning credits that can eventually be transferred to the new college, which can save you time and money.

9. Improve Your Standing

Don't slack off while waiting to transfer schools. Maintain a good GPA in order to demonstrate your academic commitment to potential colleges. In addition, you may want to ask for letters of recommendations from professors that will speak highly of your academic performance.

10. Seek Advice

The transfer process is fraught with intricacies that may leave you feeling uncertain. When you're not sure how to address a situation, reach out to those who can offer help. You might consult an academic adviser or peers who have transferred during their college careers. The Internet, of course, is another source of information on the transfer process.

Learn what you need to know about transferring credits.

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