Students transfer between colleges for a variety of different reasons, but ultimately, your education is just that – YOURS! Finding a path that fits your personal, educational, financial, and career goals are all important factors in considering whether or not to transfer, and where to. When considering transferring, keep these things in mind.
This looks different for every student. Some students know their educational path as soon as they start college, while other students change their minds along the way. As soon as you are considering transferring to another school, be sure to reach out right away. Are you considering multiple different career paths and not sure which degree is right for you? Discuss your options with any potential colleges to see where you’ll have the best options. Admissions counselors can help students like you create a plan that fits their goals and provides a timeline to ensure a smooth transition between schools if you do decide to transfer.
Some students start college at technical schools or trade schools with the intention to transfer to a four-year college after completing an associate degree. If this is your plan, meet with admissions counselors at your potential four-year colleges to find the best way to complete your associate degree while setting you up to align your credits with bachelor’s degree requirements. Nothing is worse than finding out your credits only transfer as elective and don’t apply toward your major!
One of the first questions many transfer students ask is “Will my credits transfer?” – which is a great question! There are many ways to get that question answered, including Transferology, unofficial credit evaluations from your admissions counselor, and connecting with faculty in your program(s) of interest.
Your potential schools’ responsiveness and ability to answer these questions should also give you insight into the colleges. Do you get a response in a timely manner? Are faculty willing to make time to meet with you? If people are difficult to get a hold of as a potential student, the same will likely occur if you enroll.
You’ll also want to ask about the required application materials, timelines for applying, and admission decisions. The biggest mistake that you can make is to assume that these items will be the same from school to school but know that admissions staff are there to help you navigate any differences!
Know Your Resources
In addition to asking questions, knowing your available resources prior to transferring is important! Online transfer equivalency databases (like Transferology) can be a very helpful tool in planning your courses between schools. Other resources like transfer credit evaluations, cost estimates, and financial aid advisors can also help to provide you with the information you need prior to transferring.
You’ll also want to think about the support you’d receive once on campus. Your support system is critical when transferring – it’s often a little bit like starting college over. Is there an orientation process to help you navigate your new school? Will you have a readily accessible advisor to keep you on track? And again, if you aren’t sure where to find the answers to your questions, just ask!
Your journey to your career may not always be linear. Finding the best college fit for yourself is a huge factor in your future successes, so don’t be afraid to seek out a change if things just aren’t working out. Whether you started school with the intention of transferring, or it is an entirely new process to you, know that there are people and resources at every institution who are there to help!
Meagan Roberts is an admissions counselor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She serves transfer students from the Green Bay area, helping them find the best path to their degree. Meagan is passionate about making transferring a smooth and seamless transition for students – no matter their previous collegiate experience.