Deciding to transfer colleges isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, as it can have a significant impact on your academic and financial future.
That said, there’re multiple reasons why that may be the right call in your case. Reasons could include financial, personal, academic, social, or even career reasons.
Whatever the reasons may be, we’ll be exploring answers to questions you may have and also provide guidance to help make the process easier for you.
Reasons For Transferring Colleges
While there may be some unique situations that can result in a student choosing to transfer, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the most common.
Not every student entering college knows the exact major they want to pursue. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), about 30 percent of undergrads changed their major at least once.
Additionally, the NCES also found that 10% of undergrads changed majors more than once. Unfortunately, their respective schools don’t always offer the programs they’re interested in, which results in students transferring to different colleges.
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Students who are unable to enter a 4-year college due to various reasons may choose to enter community colleges. When this happens, some students may transfer from these community colleges to 4-year colleges for better academic programs.
A typical example is a student who couldn’t enroll in a 4-year college degree program due to financial constraints, entering a community college. Any change in their financial situation presents an opportunity to transfer colleges and take up their preferred degree program.
Poor Academic Performance
College education isn’t easy and the fact that you got into a top school does not mean you’ll perform well academically. Students who underperform may resort to transferring in hopes of performing better in a new environment.
While this may prove useful in some cases, changing schools because of poor performance doesn’t usually work out.
The decision to switch institutions might also be heavily influenced by financial concerns. For instance, a student might change colleges to one that is cheaper or one where they’re likely to get some form of financial aid or scholarship.
Additionally, students looking to reduce their overall expenses may even choose to transfer to an area with a lower cost of living.
Unforeseen circumstances can result in a student transferring to another college. Family issues and health issues for instance can significantly impact this decision.
A typical example is a student transferring to a college that is closer in proximity to their sick parent or sibling. This makes it easier for them to take care of their sick relative while also continuing their education.
Not all colleges provide support for internships and other job opportunities. Some schools have stronger connections to internships and job opportunities which can be useful to students.
A typical example is a college with a strong alumni network or a prestigious reputation in a particular field. This reputation can make it easier for graduates to land a good role in the field. Students may decide to transfer to such colleges to benefit from these perks.
How Many Times Can You Transfer Colleges
There’s no limit on the number of times you can change colleges. But you should keep in mind that it could impact your financial aid and academic progress as schools have specific transfer admissions requirements.
So, you should confirm the transfer requirements for the college you want to transfer to, as some have limitations on the number of credits you can transfer over from your current college.
If you’re on a scholarship, you should be aware that some scholarships only last for a fixed number of semesters. So, depending on which class you find yourself in, your financial aid could run out before your graduation.
Things To Keep In Mind When Transferring
If you’ve made up your mind about transferring, you should keep these things in mind.
GPA Will Not Transfer To Your New College
Unless you are transferring within a public college system, the GPA you graduate with will be calculated based on your grades at your new college.
Credit Transfer Policies Are School-Specific
This policy affects the credits they will accept from your previous college. Some colleges accept a limited number of transfer credits and require that you complete a certain number of credits at the transfer college.
Not All Transferable Credits May Count
If the college can’t find a match for a credit in your major classes, they may count it as general education credit. It’s advisable to send your transcripts to the department in charge of your major for evaluation. This will help you understand your transferable credits.
Changing Majors Could Backfire
If many of your transfer credits cannot be applied to your new major, it can take you longer and cost you more money to graduate.
If you plan on living on campus, make sure you research the housing options available at your new college. Some schools may require you to live on campus for a certain period of time.
If you’re already receiving financial aid at your current college, it’s advisable to determine how it will transfer to the new college while keeping in mind the changes in tuition amounts in the new school.
Duration In New College
How long will you be attending the new college before you can graduate? Would you need to repeat a semester and will that impact your expected graduation date? You need to consider all these before you make the final decision to transfer.
Pros And Cons Of Transferring Colleges
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of transferring colleges:
Pros Of Transferring Colleges
Opportunity To Find A Better Fit
Provides the opportunity to locate a university that better suits your academic, social, and personal needs.
Access To Different Resources
Access to different resources and opportunities such as; internships, research opportunities, a stronger alumni network, and more.
Exposure To Different Perspectives/Cultures
You gain exposure to different perspectives, ideas, and cultures, which can broaden your horizons and help you develop a more diverse worldview
Improved Career Prospects
Prestigious schools can with multiple advantages including greater career prospects through access to better job opportunities.
Less Resource Intensive
Depending on your unique situation and the cost of tuition, housing, and other factors, your college education could be less expensive. A typical example is moving in with family and transferring to a college close enough that you don’t need to pay for any additional rent.
If you’re struggling academically or socially in your current college, a new college may provide the new start that you need.
Cons Of Transferring Colleges
Depending on the transfer guidelines in the new college, some credits may not transfer over, potentially setting you back academically and financially.
Disruption To Academic Progress
Transferring may require you to adapt to a new academic schedule, course offerings, and academic requirements, which can delay your academic progress.
If you built a strong social support network in your current school, you would need to start again from scratch in a new school. You would need to make new friends and build new relationships.
You may need to reapply for financial aid, possibly move to a new location, fill out a bunch of documents, and more. It can be draining especially since you may have already gone through this exhausting process when you were entering your current college.
Will Your Financial Aid Transfer To The New College
Financial aid does not automatically transfer when you transfer colleges. It’s advisable to confirm this with the new college’s financial aid office and fill out the necessary forms to reapply.
If your new college participates in the federal student aid programs, you should update your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to include the new college.