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Advice for Transferring to a New College

written by: Ashley Hansen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 5/27/2010

Sometimes, your first choice for college just doesn't work out. Some students are left asking themselves, "When should I transfer out of college?" There are many factors to consider, but in most cases transferring should be completed as soon as possible.

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    Why Should I Transfer?

    The decision to transfer schools should not be taken lightly. However, it is a decision that you should make based on your own feelings. You're the one paying for your education, and you should make sure you get the best experience possible. Whether your school doesn't have the program you want or you just had a bad social experience, there's no shame in changing schools. In some cases, you have no choice. Maybe you decided on a major, but the school you chose initially doesn't have the right program for you. In other cases, you might just not feel like the school is the right fit for you. Maybe you wanted a big school at first, but now you feel lost in the crowd and desire the intimate class sizes at a smaller school. These are all excellent reasons to transfer, and ultimately the decision is yours. If you're unsure about whether you should transfer out of college, ask yourself whether you could have a better experience at another school. If you are sure the answer is yes, then you should begin the transfer process.

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    Transferring Credits

    When it's time to transfer to a new college, your first question may be "When should I transfer out of college?" The answer to the question is simple: soon. As soon as you know you want to change schools, you should begin looking for a new college that better suits your needs. If you're sure you want to change schools but you're not sure which new college you want to attend, you may even want to consider taking a semester off while you decide.

    Why the rush when it comes to transferring? One of the biggest factors is the fact that, if you don't know where you'll be transferring to and what courses they'll accept, you may be paying for credits that don't count for anything at your new school. If you know for sure that your current college isn't working out, you may decide that you don't want to continue paying for credits for another semester if they won't be counted at your next school.

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    Good Timing

    On a similar note, timing can involve more than just what credits you're earning at your current school. You might also want to consider what time of year you'll be entering your new school. In many cases, fall is a great time to start at a new college because a fresh batch of students will also be entering the school for the first time. Even if you aren't technically a freshman, you won't be the only new kid in town. This can make the transfer a lot easier.

    If you're worried about making new friends at your new school, consider living in the dorms or another on-campus residence when you transfer to your new school. This is one of the easiest ways to meet new people at your school. Many of these students will also be new to the school and you can all explore the campus together.

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    How to Choose a New School

    If you've decided when you should transfer out of college, now it's time to pick a new school. Before you begin your search, make a list of the things you didn't like about your old school. Then, try to find schools which avoid the things which didn't meet your satisfaction. A "must-have" list is also helpful if the reason you're switching schools is for a certain program or average class size.

    Once you've narrowed down your options, try to visit a few schools before making your final decision. Talk to students at the school to get an idea of the student experience at that college. Before you make a final decision, gather as much information as possible. Transferring once may already set you back a little on your college plan, so you definitely want to avoid having to transfer twice if your new school is still not the right fit for you. However, when you do make the right choice, you'll be amazed at how quickly your college experience changes and how you can start to enjoy your education experience. Though it may require some hard work, transferring is definitely worth it if you're not currently getting enough out of your education and find yourself constantly wondering, "When should I transfer out of school?" If that's the case, the answer is "Now!"