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Should You Transfer to a Different College?

If your college choice is turning out to be less awesome than you expected, you might be considering transferring to another school. However, although transferring can be a great option, it isn't always the right move. Before you commit to such a dramatic change, make sure that it will actually solve your problems.

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By Sarah Wright

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Why Transfer?

There are plenty of great reasons to transfer schools, and plenty of other reasons to move on that are a bit less reasonable. Ultimately, you should transfer when your school isn't working for you any more. That can happen for a variety of reasons, but if those reasons are completely social, you might want to think about sticking it out. If you like everything about your school - its location, your professors, the academic offerings available - except your social life, it might not make sense to take the old 'grass is always greener' approach. You might end up at a new school that's still not that great socially but that doesn't work for you academically, either.

Reasons to Transfer

  • You always intended to go to a different school, and you only applied to the one you're currently attending to improve your chances of acceptance at some institution.
  • The school you're currently attending doesn't offer the discipline you're most interested in studying.
  • You did your research, and there's another school with a specific academic style or program that you're more interested in.
  • Personal issues, like an illness in the family, make it necessary for you to go back home.
  • Your financial aid package isn't as good as you thought it would be, and you'll end up in a massive amount of debt if you spend four years at your current school.

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Reasons to Stay Put

  • Socially, college isn't all it's been cracked up to be. But if you stick it out at your current school, you'll probably be more likely to make friends among the people you already know than if you have to start over again somewhere new.
  • Your boyfriend or girlfriend dumped you and you can't stand the sight of him or her. But you're going to have to learn how to deal with social scenarios like this eventually, or you'll be transferring to a new school/job/city every time a relationship fails.
  • Boredom. Unless you go to a college with 50 students and no activities other than a knitting circle, you probably haven't exhausted all the options for entertainment on and around campus.
  • Everyone around you seems to fit in great, but you feel out of place. It can take a while to find your niche in college, both academically and socially. Some people snap right into place automatically, and others take a little adjustment. An entirely new school might not be the answer to your problems.

If you're apprehensive about your chances of successfully transferring to a better school, don't worry. Transfer students might have better admissions success than you'd think.

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