A “Starving Student’s” Guide to: Transferring

So, I want to start doing guides on things that college girls deal with. The reason I’m calling it a, “starving student,” guide is because of my mom. Every single time I tell her I’m buying something, she says, “no! You’re a starving student; save your money!” I definitely eat well, but I guess college=broke to my mom (she’s not wrong).

I transferred colleges three times before I finally found somewhere I loved. Like many students, I was ill-prepared for the college application process, especially because I was the first in my family to go through it. I ended up spending my freshman year at Boise State University mostly because they were giving me a great scholarship (which is a draw for a lot of students there). I loved it and made some amazing friends that I still talk to every day. There were some really cool things to do there, but I just didn’t feel like I was thriving. Coming from such a big and diverse area, I felt like I wasn’t pushing myself enough or setting myself up to be the best I could be. I genuinely miss it there and especially miss all my amazing friends, but I was craving more.

Craving more meant doing way less: I transferred to a community college and moved back home. It was awful in a sense, but amazing in another. I loved spending time with my family who I love so much but had a hard time emerging myself back into an environment I was already so comfortable with. I ended up staying at that school for a year… I aimed for one semester, but couldn’t get things together in time. That time was definitely my least favorite school wise. The professors were awful, didn’t care, and I felt there was zero community there. The school is great for a lot of reasons, but just wasn’t what I felt like I needed at the time.

I actually planned on transferring to a school in San Diego because I missed California so much when I was gone. LMU was my high school dream school and another option for me at the time. I ended up choosing SDSU and was fully committed, paid down payments, and even had an apartment picked out. I wasn’t necessarily pushing myself a whole lot by going there but was excited. 

Before committing to San Deigo State, I applied to Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I had always seen myself going to school in New York, but my dad vetoed that pretty early on (within reason). I hadn’t heard from them and figured I just hadn’t gotten into the program and wasn’t really expecting to. Well, I got an email from FIT hours before I was supposed to sign the lease for the SD apartment that I had gotten in! It specifically said, “Congratulations, again, on your acceptance!,” and I was THOROUGHLY confused but so excited. 

Long story short, I toured FIT shortly after and fell in love. The day I got home from NYC, I got a letter from San Diego State deferring my admission because of my communications class (??????). I received this letter a little over a month before school started, so they genuinely would have screwed me over. Needless to say, I was fuming but figured it out and it was apparently an accident? That whole time period was a mess and I am still confused to this day, but I MADE IT HERE! Best of all, I know I’m right where I’m meant to be.

I attend FIT now and am happier than ever. Despite this COVID stuff, I feel like I am in a school environment that I really belong in with people of all different backgrounds. I’m pushing myself and am so happy things worked out the way they did. 

All that to say, if you’re considering transferring colleges, here’s a little guide with experience from yours truly:

+ What are your needs? Think about your needs from your school. For me, I realized going to a school in a small city wasn’t what I needed. Write them down and differentiate between deal-breakers and wants.

+ Lots of pros and cons lists. For things like: pros and cons of leaving, pros and cons of the schools you’re between, pros and cons for everything.

+ Research. I’m going to assume you’ve already done this and that you’re not even reading this one, but in case you haven’t, don’t forget to! Research prices, the area, your major, the students, extracurriculars, your chances of getting in, what you need to do, due dates, etc.

+ Talk to students. I always tried to ask around or talk to students when I was doing campus tours. After being at a university, I knew a lot more of what I was looking for than I did in high school. Asking students questions gives you a better idea of the vibe at the school.

+ Why are you transferring? Is it financial? Personal? Whatever it might be, make sure you’ve spent a really long time thinking. It’s easy to give up on a school especially if it’s your freshman year. Remember that big changes take time to get used to.

+ Transfer credits. When I transferred, I learned about the meaning of residency and that transferring credits can be hard. Residency refers to the amount of credits you have to talk at a college. This is so students don’t transfer to a school, take one class there, and graduate with their diploma from that school. I was lucky to have most of my classes transfer to FIT, but have to take extra classes based on my residency. This is why I added a minor.

+ Things will be different, obviously. You’re going to have to completely restart with your social life and readjust to the school’s way of teaching. I was a little shocked by the three hour classes FIT has when I first transferred.

+ Be firm in your decision. Always be confident in your decisions. You will ultimately be led to the decision you were meant to make, but make sure you’re prepared for it. Don’t do something you could potentially regret.


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