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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Transferring Colleges

By August 7, 2023September 6th, 2023Transfer Students

To transfer or not to transfer? That’s the question that roughly 37% of college students contemplate before deciding to shoot their shot at a new school. It’s a hard decision to make, and we don’t blame you if you’re unsure what you should do. If you’re seriously considering a transfer, take a moment to reflect on the pros and cons before committing to your choice.

Pros of Transferring College

Finding a Better Academic Fit

Many students choose to transfer colleges because of academics. They might not like their current class size, struggle with the curriculum, lack adequate support from their professors, or just decide to switch majors. Some students specifically attend two-year community colleges with the intent to transfer to a four-year school after general education courses have been fulfilled. Whatever the reason, sometimes it takes a fresh start and new opportunities at another institution to start excelling in the classroom.

Gain Clarity Concerning Your Future

A lot of high school students aren’t sure of their future but still have to declare a major or begin their freshman year of college undecided. A lot can happen within the first two years of college, which is the timeframe in which most students transfer. You likely will have a better idea of what you want out of your future, including what kind of career you want to pursue. That clarity may help you decide to choose one major over another or shift your focus to another aspect of your degree program. With a better understanding of your goals and interests, you can choose to attend a school that better aligns and prepares you for the future you want.

Having Multiple College Experiences

Obviously, attending college has important benefits when it comes to securing a good income and life for yourself. But that’s not the only reason why students choose to participate in higher education. College is often the first time you’ll be living on your own, meeting new people from different walks of life, and finding yourself. The school you attend will undoubtedly have some unique experiences. Choosing to transfer means widening your horizons even further, either at a totally different college or one that is similar to where you attended before.

Enjoy Personal Growth

It takes a lot of awareness and courage to accept that things at your current college aren’t working out for one reason or another. However, knowing you need a change and working towards positive change are two different things. Transferring schools isn’t easy, but it can sometimes be the best thing for you. Making those tough decisions shows a great deal of personal growth, and can set you up for a bright future at your new school.

Increase Your Networking Opportunities

Colleges are one of the best places to expand your connections and network with other students, professors, and faculty. Alumni networks may even lead to job opportunities in the future. One college can be filled with hundreds of potential contacts, which means that attending more than one institution opens you up to double the network.

Cons of Transferring College

Some of Your Credits Might Not Transfer

Most colleges have some kind of transfer limitations, including credits and courses. That’s why so many students choose to transfer either as a freshman or sophomore rather than during upperclassmen years. At Villa Maria College, we accept up to 90 credits for transfers seeking a bachelor’s degree and up to 45 credits for students pursuing an associate degree.

Your Graduation Timeline May Change

It’s not impossible for transfer students to graduate “on time.” That being said, it is more likely they will need an extra semester or two to graduate than non-transfer students. Whether a student has lost out on some of their credits from a previous institution or decided to switch their major, they may need to adjust their graduation expectations.

You Have to Apply to College All Over Again

For most people, applying to college once is enough. Having to do it all over again isn’t much better. This time around, the work you did in high school won’t be relevant. Instead, your grades from college will be considered.

You Could Lose Financial Aid

More than 85% of students need financial aid in order to pay for higher education. Most of that aid comes in the form of new student scholarships, federal aid, and private aid. While some colleges offer transfer scholarships, transfer students sometimes have fewer scholarship and grant opportunities available to them. In some cases, federal aid, like work-study support, may be lost in a transfer. You should speak to the financial aid office at the school you intend to transfer to so you know what your options are and if there will be any financial impact.

You Have to Get Comfortable All Over Again

The switch from high school to college isn’t always the smoothest. The same can be said for college students transferring from one school to another. According to one study, about 60% of transfer students experience a phenomenon known as transfer shock. Aside from academic hurdles, transfer students have to make new friends, meet with new faculty, and adjust to life on a new campus all over again.