Transfer or stay put?

Some alums discover that their college choice wasn’t their final destination

Advice offered for those wondering, ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’

“It took a little bit, but after a month and a half or so I could tell that nobody stuck around on the weekends and also that my classes were pretty easy,” said Minnehaha alumnus Joel Reinhart, who is transferring from Wesley in Delaware to St. Olaf College. “After talking with older students, I didn’t feel the academic rigor was going to improve as I moved up in class level.”

For various reasons, many students may find that the first college they attend might not be the right fit.

Nationally, about one in three students who enroll in either a four-year or two-year college will probably transfer at some point.

In last year’s graduating class, more than 10 percent of students are transferring. Sometimes, your first choice school just doesn’t end up working out like you planned. Of course you have to give yourself time to adjust for a couple of months, everything won’t be entirely perfect right when you get there.

Whether it’s the location, the people, the classes or the atmosphere in general, sometimes transferring is the best option.

“Typically, I like for students to  give it at least one semester,” said College and Guidance Counselor Richard Harris. “The downside of transferring too early is that you just don’t know enough people. You may just be a little homesick and it just takes some natural time to get adjusted to college.”

One semester gives a student a chance to get involved in student groups on campus, meet new people, talk to academic counselors or get involved in any way possible.

You may find that you really enjoy it after a while, or it may confirm your desire to transfer. Either way, time is a crucial factor in making this huge decision.

“When I was adjusting to the new environment, what really helped was knowing that other kids were feeling the same way,” said alumnus Meera Goswitz who attends Davidson College in North Carolina. “Some of my best friends at Davidson are from all across the country, so it was helpful being able to relate while we were all experiencing something so new.”

When students go off to college, there are bound to be some homesick moments.

Leaving your parents and friends and being forced to step out of your comfort zone can be really scary. Even if you don’t leave the state, you’re going to have moments when you just wish you could be home.

The most important thing is to give yourself time to adjust to this new atmosphere, and try to look at the positives as much as possible.

“I think going out of state was one of the best decisions I made related to the college process,” said Goswitz. “I really enjoy living in a new environment, especially the South. People really do have different lifestyles, I realized that for me, it was important to leave Minnesota and experience something new and have the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people.”

No matter where you are or what school ends up being the right fit for you, you will get as much out of your college experience as you put into it.

It’s hard to know what living on a college campus will be like from a 30-minute tour and various promotional brochures, which is what makes finding the right school so difficult.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to take charge of your education, give yourself enough time to adjust to a new environment and make a decision that you feel is right for you.

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About Meara Cummings

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