Every time I tell someone that I’m a transfer student (it doesn’t happen often anymore, I know my way around campus and the city in general) they act surprised, because while it does happen often, transfers make up a pretty small population at any school. Those who do transfer, normally do so in their junior year or after they have earned their Associate’s Degree from a community college, neither of which describe me. I transferred from one four-year university to another after my freshman year, and here’s why.
I’m the oldest child in my family, and so when I was applying to colleges none of us really knew what it was all about. I applied to a relatively small number of rather elite schools, didn’t spend enough time on my admissions essays, and while my SAT I and II scores were more than acceptable, it wasn’t enough. I was accepted into my backup school, and that was it. So that was where I went, without ever having toured the campus or known anyone there. I also hadn’t really researched their programs relevant to my field of study, and all of these things became reasons I was unhappy.
It was hard to make friends at first, and that’s when thoughts of transferring entered my head. Later, when I made a close group of friends, I stopped considering it seriously, although it stayed at the back of my mind. It was only later, after a few unfortunate experiences and a feeling of displacedness set in that I really started to consider transferring again. A small school didn’t suit me, and although I was never one for Greek life I considered rushing a sorority just for something to do. I started to become depressed, slipping slowly into a relatively dark place that came to a head when I had a breakdown shortly after winter break ended. I applied to two schools to transfer to, both of which were closer to home (my family is my support system, and while I didn’t feel devastatingly homesick, it manifested in different ways) and got accepted into my current school. I knew I would be happy there, since I had visited in the past and fallen in love with the city. I knew I would be challenged, because their psychology program was miles better than my previous one; the program was and is the highest funded in the entire university. I knew that this was a place where I could grow, find myself, and succeed.
And here I am, halfway through my first semester. I’ve had countless new experiences, my GPA is the highest it’s ever been in college. And I’ve never been happier.