7 Tips for Transfer Students

Abigail Wyatt, Southern Utah University / Colleges of Distinction »

Thinking about transferring to a different college or university? If you’re moving because you changed your major, or because your current college just isn’t the right fit, you’ll be entering a different environment than what you’re used to. A change like this requires adjustments. Here are a few tips to help you create a smooth and easy transition.

“The best thing you can do is meet with your advisor early and often,” said Kelly Stephens, Academic Advising Center director at Southern Utah University. “They’ll give you the information specific to your new college that you’ll need to succeed as a transfer student.”

Though every college is a little different, Stephens shared seven general things to keep in mind to create a smooth transfer transition:

1. Meet with advisors ahead of time

Most transfer students wait until the first week of school to talk with an advisor, but by then it’s too late. Plan ahead. Advisors can help you with your class schedule, bring up important information about key classes, and help you stay on track.

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2. Know what credits will transfer

Make sure you understand articulation agreements. Not all classes will transfer smoothly to your intended college, so plan accordingly. Ask your advisor about transfer credit or search for the college’s articulation web page. If you’re worried about classes not transferring, keep a copy of all your course descriptions and syllabi.

3. Understand cost changes

Make sure you understand tuition, fees, and other expenses at your new school. Don’t forget there are scholarships, financial aid, grants, and loans available for many transfer students. If you’re a non-traditional student, note that there are services provided just for you.

4. Visit campus

Visiting a college campus is one of the best ways to find out if it is the right place for you. Most universities offer guided tours. Visit on a day when there is an event so you can meet students and get a feel for student life. Ask current students about majors, clubs, and activities.

5. Attend orientation

Even if you’ve been enrolled in college before, every university operates differently, so be sure to enroll in orientation. You’ll be introduced to valuable resources across campus, shown how to get involved and provided with other important information.

6. Live on campus

Living in on-campus housing can help you feel more connected to campus, make friends faster, and experience diversity. You’ll also live within walking distance of your classes. Sign up for housing sooner than later to reserve your spot.

7. You’ve been admitted, what now?

If you’ve made the decision to transfer, know that you’re not alone. Tens of thousands of students transfer every year for reasons ranging from cost to social life. More than a third of college students transfer at least once, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Abby Smith, an education major from Orem, Utah, regrets not being more involved her first year of college. When she transferred to SUU, she knew she needed to change. “My first week here I joined several clubs and volunteered to help at activities,” she said. “It made a huge difference. SUU has become my second home.”

When you arrive at your new college, find extracurricular activities and clubs to get involved at your new campus. And search around for resources for applying for financial aid, finding housing, paying tuition, and other key items necessary for a smooth transition. Most importantly, be excited about your decision and gear up to have fun.