Good Reasons to Transfer to a New College

Why a Transfer Might Make Sense

About 30% of college students transfer to a different school at some point. Too often students switch schools for a bad reason and find that the grass is not greener ​after the move. Here are a few situations that do justify a change.

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Financial Necessity

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Unfortunately, some students simply can’t afford to stay at their current college. If you're feeling money pressures, be sure to talk to a financial aid officer and your extended family before making a transfer decision. The long-term rewards of a quality bachelor’s degree might outweigh short-term financial inconvenience. Also, realize that a transfer to a less expensive school may not actually save you money.  Learn about the hidden costs of transferring.

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Academic Upgrade

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Are you not feeling challenged at your current school? Have you earned such high grades that you think you can win admission to a significantly better school? If so, a transfer could be a good idea. A more prestigious college may offer better educational and career opportunities. Realize, however, that being the star of the class at lower-ranked school can bring its own rewards.

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Specialized Major

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If you discover in your first year or two of college that you want to be a marine biologist, you might want to transfer to a school near the ocean. Similarly, if nothing will suit you but a career as a prosthetist, you should transfer to one of the few schools in the country that offers such specialized training.

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Family Obligations

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Sometimes family has to take priority over school. If you need to be close to home because of an ailing family member, a transfer to a different school might make sense. Talk to your Dean first -- ​a leave of absence is sometimes a better solution. Also, be careful not to confuse a true family emergency with homesickness or an empty-nest parent who wants you closer to home.

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Social Situation

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Sometimes the culture at a college turns out to be the opposite of what you wanted. Perhaps the seven-day-a-week party scene isn’t for you. Perhaps the opposite is true -- you’d like a more active social life, but your school seems too serious. In some cases like these, a transfer might make sense. After all, college isn’t just about the academics. But don’t be hasty -- make sure the social group you’re looking for doesn’t exist at your current school. Try a change of friends before a change of school.