Is the Grass Really Greener on Another Quad?
For many seniors, January 1st brought a welcome end to the college application process. For some college students though, the New Year and the completion of the Fall semester bring thoughts of giving the process another go. Perhaps a "dream school" isn't living up to expectations, or life as an engineering student isn't what you thought it would be.
If you have doubts about the school you are attending, you may want to consider transferring. But, before you subject yourself to another round of grueling applications, evaluate how you really feel and make sure that you want to transfer for the right reasons. Consider the following:
College is very different from high school. While some students flourish, others have a harder time adjusting to this new, less structured environment. If you are finding college overwhelming or are having trouble adjusting your study style, an academic advisor or on-campus learning center can help you manage your coursework.
Also, consider what you are studying. Many students change majors at least once during college. If you are unhappy because of what you are studying, consider if there are other options at your current school that might better fit your interests and goals.
If your school was not your top choice, or you are concerned that your degree will be considered less prestigious, keep in mind that you are in control of your education. College is what you make of it and there are many schools where you can be happy and successful – not just 15. Taking advantage of the opportunities that your school offers, or even creating your own opportunities, will boost your resume and make your degree far more valuable than an education from a school with better name recognition.
"Some of our nation’s political leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs have come out of Ivy League schools, but there are still many more who did not and succeeded," says Dr. Kat. Oprah Winfrey graduated from Tennessee State University; Warren Buffet graduated from the University of Nebraska (where he transferred after two years at the University of Pennsylvania); Steve Jobs attended Reed College and never graduated. Further, of schools with the highest starting salaries, an Ivy League school doesn’t appear until #19 (Penn). Harvard is way down at #37. Whether you go to Harvard or Harvey Mudd, your success does not hinge on the name of the school you attend.
Maybe you miss your family or friends from high school. Perhaps you haven't yet found your niche in this new place and are feeling a bit adrift. It takes time to make new friends, so before you consider transferring, reach out and join new clubs and groups. Whether in the form of a sorority, ultimate Frisbee team, religious group, or the school newspaper, sometimes finding a new group of like-minded individuals reminds you college is a place to make new friends and grow socially.
Look around at the school you are currently attending and makes sure you aren't overlooking any potential opportunities it has to offer. If you've thought about your reasons for transferring, and still think it’s the right decision for you, it’s important to understand how the transfer admissions process differs from the process you underwent in high school. Stay tuned for our tips on how to make the most of the transfer admissions process.
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