Deciding which institution to transfer to can be every bit as challenging as finding the right college to start at. If you are
considering or planning to transfer colleges, be sure to consider the
•;Policies and standards: Will your courses transfer? Can you transfer mid-year? What deadlines are you facing?
•;Housing: Can you live on-campus? If not, is there affordable
housing near campus?
•;Academic system and environment: Does the institution follow
semesters or quarters? Do you like the level of competitiveness?
Are there opportunities to work (and socialize) with your classmates?
•;Support systems: How does the institution support transfer students? What type of access will you have to tutors, counselors,
financial aid officers, etc.?
•;Social activities: Is there an ACS student chapter? Are there other
activities you would enjoy?
transfer students. McBride agrees, crediting his first
institution, Texarkana College, with preparing him for
the transition. He says that the high expectations of
his professors, the academic rigor of the courses, and
an emphasis on good study habits helped prepare
him to succeed.
do your research to determine whether your
courses will transfer to your new institution. not all
institutions will give you credit for the college-level
courses you have taken. find out which courses will
transfer, and also which required courses you will still
need to fulfill at the new institution.
you will also want to visit the campus. spend the
night, if you can. Get a feel for the campus and make
sure it is a good fit for you. consider whether you
like the other students and the neighborhood, and
even the weather. Know the housing situation. How
plentiful is on- and off-campus housing for incoming
transfer students? Whitney discovered that visiting
her new campus helped her become familiar with
the layout before classes started.
courtesy of erine o’connor
Whitney and McBride found talking with professors to be invaluable in learning the in’s and out’s
of the new administration, finding the courses they
needed, and preparing for the new campus culture.
connecting with professors, McBride says, “not only
opens your mind to new ideas, it opens up doors for
your career down the road.” in the short term, it can
help you identify courses and undergraduate research
opportunities you may want to pursue; in the long
term, such connections can become the first step in a
mentor relationship that can help shape your professional career.
McBride also highly recommends hanging on to
the notes and materials that you accumulated at
your first institution. “you never know when that
old organic chemistry test on alcohols might come in
handy. it is sort of like having your own personal study group on
campus, where you can reference anything you need from your
Vetterly, McBride, Whitney, and o’connor all agree that the
benefits of college transfer have compensated for the challenges.
all are excited by the opportunities at their new institutions and
are considering post-graduate degrees. “the more you achieve,”
McBride says, “the less difficult it seems to get to the next level.
soon enough, you might find yourself a leader in a new and
innovative field — all because you were excited about it.” iC
Meanwhile, although erine
o’connor had no trouble adjusting
to the social scene, the exams at
The College of New Jersey in Ewing
were a revelation for her. “the
work load has not bothered me,
because my professor for organic
chemistry i and ii at my commu-
nity college really prepared me,”
she says. However, she adds, “the
tests are very difficult.”
While a new campus presents
a wide variety of new opportunities,
Vetterly cautions transferring students against
trying to do everything at once. in particular, she
says, “don’t try to cram all your classes into one
Preparing to transfer
are you planning to transfer? if so, study
hard. according to the national association for
college admission counseling, most colleges
assign “considerable importance” to post-second-
ary grades when considering whether to accept
Blake J. aronson is a senior
education associate in the ACS
Education Division’s Office of