College and university staff members typically work closely with transfer students to make the transition to their new surroundings as seamless as possible. Not only do educational institutions want students to obtain academic success and enjoy their entire college experience, but also look forward to best preparing them for a successful career. However, before a transfer student begins this new path in his or her life, they need to thoroughly explore the options available to them.
Potential Factors to Consider When Transferring
Major or program of interest
If you have a specific program of interest, ensure that you are narrowing your choices to those colleges and universities that offer that program. If the institution does not offer your specific major or program, you will be required to pursue another specialized area of study.
If you want a degree, institutional accreditation is a must. Accreditation provides you quality assurance – the process for determining and ensuring an institution’s standards of quality. Accreditation reviews are conducted to maintain excellence, encouraging innovation and guide improvement. Ask if your institution of interest is accredited and inquire as to the legitimacy of that accrediting agency.
Acceptance of transfer credits
You will generally save money and time if you are able to transfer credits from previous institutions you attended. Many institutions have a limit or specific criteria pertaining to transfer credits. It may be possible to have your transcripts evaluated prior to attending.
Costs – Is there a fee to apply?
How much is the school offering in financial aid? What is the cost of attending? Is this an affordable option?
Are any particular exam scores needed? What documents are required? How and when will I find out if I have been accepted? These are just a few questions students should ask themselves when researching the application process of a particular university.
Amount of time to graduate
It is important to consider how long it will take to complete your degree. If you wish to complete your degree in two years, will you be able to, based on the number of credits that you can transfer in? How many credits will you still have left to complete?
Size of school
The size of a school is an important factor to consider when determining the amount of support that may be available to students. A large school may be well-known, but smaller schools generally offer a more personalized learning environment.
Location of the educational institution
Oftentimes this may be a matter of preference. Do you prefer to attend a school in a big city or small town, close by or a distance from home?
Be comfortable and confident
Each school has its own culture that often cannot be described through pictures and publications. It is important for students to visit all the schools they are considering to determine if they feel it is a place they are comfortable attending class for the next two years and will be empowered to succeed.
Helpful Hints Along the Way
⇒ Determine important factors to you – Of the factors listed above, which are most important to you in determining where you will attend? Prioritize those factors as you narrow in on your institution of choice.
⇒ Apply to and visit every college you are considering – Applying shows a college or university that you are considering attending and they can then begin to provide you with the appropriate support and information you need. It is also a critical part of gaining acceptance to the university or college and can often help students narrow their search.
⇒ Write down a list of pros and cons for each school – This is another tool to help students narrow their college search by determining what they like and dislike about each school. Do some schools have far more pros to offer than others? Are there ones where considerable red flags may exist?
⇒ Talk with your support system – Friends, parents and guidance counselors are all great resources that can provide support and offer advice on this important decision. You may also want to consider talking with current students and alumni of the colleges and universities you are considering.
⇒ Contact your admissions counselor with any questions that arise – Regardless of the college or university you choose, remember that admissions counselors are there to help. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions that arise throughout the college search process.