7 Good Reasons to Transfer Colleges

Posted October 3, 2012

You chose your university with high hopes, but now that you’ve spent some time there, you’re not sure if it’s the place for you. If you’re thinking of changing colleges, you might have your dad’s voice bouncing around your head: "Quitters never win." And while quitting school altogether is usually a bad move, transferring to a different college can sometimes be a smart decision for your happiness and your career. Here are seven good reasons to switch to a new school; if your reasons match up, you’ll probably benefit from the change.

  1. You need to spend less money:

    With a tough economy and many students having to pay their own way through college without a promise of a job afterward, finances play a big role in where you go to college. If you’re considering transferring schools to lighten your future student debt burden, that could be a great decision in the long run. Tuition rates are climbing, so changing from a private to a public school, from an out-of-state school to an in-state school, or from a four-year school to a community college can have a big impact on your wallet. You might even consider a college close to your parents’ so you could live with them and eliminate the costs of renting an apartment or dorm room.

  2. You’re having a hard time making friends:

    It’s a common phenomenon, so don’t feel bad. Sometimes a college’s social scene just isn’t a good fit for everyone. The school could be too small and restrictive or too large and overwhelming. If you’ve put in a year or more at a college and tried various clubs and groups in an attempt to find your place, it might be best for your sanity to just try a new school. While you can perform fine academically without a social circle, you miss out on the full college experience and you may experience loneliness and depression. No one can fault you for making your happiness and mental health a priority in your life.

  3. You figured out what you want to do:

    And your current school doesn’t have a good program for it. When you started college, there’s a good chance you didn’t know what you wanted to study. Even if you thought you knew, you probably didn’t know. It’s common for students to figure out what they really want to major in after taking a couple of semesters of classes, and sometimes your current school may not have a stand-out program (or any program, for that matter) for your desired major. The chance to advance your career and do what you’d really like to do is a great reason to transfer colleges, even if you love your current school.

  4. You want more of a challenge:

    We’ll admit it; some programs at some schools are kind of a joke. They’re relatively easy, may not have great faculty, and might not offer you the opportunities you think you’ll need to get a job later. If you feel like your college has too much of a party atmosphere and your classes aren’t helping you reach your full potential, transferring school is a great way to feel like you’re getting the most for your money. Every tuition dollar will go toward a program that makes you think, learn, and grow in your major.

  5. You want less of a challenge:

    College is a big change from high school, and even the smartest students can get in too deep once they hit university. Maybe you chose one of the toughest academic schools in the country and now realize you’re going to run yourself ragged if you try this pace for another year. Maybe you chose a difficult, work-intensive major and have decided to change to something you’ll enjoy more. Whatever the reason, transferring schools is a better decision than getting overwhelmed and failing. Find a college that suits your needs and go there.

  6. You want a better alumni network:

    While college name recognition and a wide network of alumni are far from everything when it comes to school spirit and finding a job after graduation, they can be important to some people and in some careers. Of course, some industries rely on networking more than others, but fellow alumni can be helpful in your initial job search as well as the next time you’re looking for an opportunity. This reason may not be one that would push you to transfer on its own, but combined with one of the others here, it can reassure you that a change is best for you.

  7. You have family obligations:

    Sometimes family situations change suddenly and you just have to roll with the punches. If you’ve had a loss in the family or they’re experiencing financial troubles, it’s completely acceptable (and even admirable) to change colleges to help them out. You can move to a closer college and be there to support your family, whether emotionally or financially. It may not be an ideal situation but you’ll be glad you did it.

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