True Stories: How Transfer Students Succeeded
Learn about how real students made a smooth transition to their new schools when they transferred.
If you’re thinking about transferring, you might wonder what challenges and surprises lie ahead. The following stories show what real students experienced as they transitioned from one college to another. See what advice and insight they have to offer potential transfer students.
The Community College Transfer
Starting off at a community college is proven to save students money, but is it the best choice for you academically? To find out, consider Benjamin Arnold’s transfer success story.
For Benjamin, starting out at a community college was a way to grow and learn without the pressure of attending a more expensive four-year institution. “While saving some money, I was able to take time to figure out what I really wanted to study and why,” Benjamin told USA TODAY. “I was also able to identify my strengths as a student and improve my weaknesses before I started more rigorous coursework at a university.”
In addition to saving money, USA TODAY points out other possible benefits of attending a community college before transferring to a four-year school. You can bring up your grades if you struggled academically in high school. In addition, many of the class sizes are much smaller than lecture-style courses at large universities.
Benjamin transferred from Napa Valley College to California State University, San Marcos, where he earned a degree in English and went on to become a high school English teacher. “This is what I tell students,” Benjamin says: “If you are 100 percent certain you want to go into a certain major, then by all means go for it, apply for all the grants and scholarships you can and try to afford that university experience. But if you’re not sure quite what you want to do, then you should really look at the community college route.”
These stories are great examples for students who are on the fence about transferring.
The Career-Minded Transfer
Finding a college that’s better suited to your academic and career goals is a great reason to consider transferring. That’s what Samantha Wilson did when, during her freshman year at the University of California, Santa Cruz, she realized that her true passion was journalism. “I knew that I wanted to be a journalist, and I decided that attending a university with a strong journalism program would help me achieve my goal,” she told the New York Times. She decided to transfer to New York University.
Her transition wasn’t smooth sailing at first. “As a new arrival at NYU, I cringed at the thought of having to make new friends, navigate an unfamiliar city and excel in my courses at the same time. It took joining a few student groups and spending a lot of time figuring out what makes me happy to break out of my isolation,” she said.
Despite the initial struggle to reconcile her social life with new and exciting academic offerings, Samantha reported that the challenges were well worth the trouble. As she told the New York Times, “I can tell you that it is far better to take the risk and apply than to sit and wonder what could have been.”
The "Wrong Fit" Transfer
Sometimes students realize that, despite their current college being a fine choice for others, it just isn’t the right fit for them. For Nathan Howard, attending Ohio State University was an eye-opener. “It seemed as if many of my Ohio State professors could care less about my name and whether I even passed the class. For the most part, they wanted to get in, teach, and get out,” he explains.
When Nathan transferred to Cedarville University, his new school was a complete 180 from his first choice. As opposed to Ohio State’s massive enrollment of over 56,000 students, Cedarville is a private Christian college with fewer than 3,500 students. “At Cedarville, every teacher I have knows my name and challenges me to improve myself academically and in my walk with God,” says Nathan. “There aren't many schools that can say that.”
In addition, being at a smaller university with a more intimate campus community removed many of the distractions and issues he experienced at a larger public university. “When I'm here, I don't have to worry about a lot of the problems I used to face in my daily life,” he says. “I'm getting an amazing education, making personal and lasting friendships, and drawing closer to God. What could be more amazing than that?” Nathan is a great success story because he excelled academically and socially as a result of transferring to a college that was a much better fit for him personally.
The stories above are great examples for students who are on the fence about transferring. Consider your own motives and goals when you transfer to find a new college that’s right for you.