The Untold Story about Transfer Students


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Rachel Fretz-Cianci

August 15, 2019

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than a third of college students transfer at least once within six years. Of these, 45 percent end up changing colleges more than once. That is over one million students who are transferring from one institution to another every year. Why are these students choosing to redo the college admissions process over and over?

One of the main reasons is students aren’t finding the right fit the first time. They don’t have someone guiding them in researching majors, careers, or colleges. Often, students choose a college for a particular major, and when they decide to switch majors, they end up transferring to another institution. Students are also neglecting to make sure the college offers the right extracurricular activities for them. In order to obtain a well-rounded experience at college, you need to be involved in other areas of interest to form friendships and feel connected, which brings us to our second reason for students transferring.

With today’s social media, students can stay in touch and be involved in their friends’ and families’ lives back home without ever leaving their dorm room, which can pose a problem as students aren’t allowing themselves to get out and form new friendships. And even with the new friendships, students sometimes transfer after a year or even one semester because they just don’t feel connected. They compare their new friendships with friends they have had in high school, which were cultivated over many years. Students need to get involved right away and give their new friendships the opportunity to become stronger, which takes time.

The third reason students transfer to another college is they weren’t prepared for the academic rigor and college life. One of the highest percentages of transfers are from private college/universities to community college. There is a reason for this. There are certain colleges that function on a much faster pace than others, and if a student isn’t aware of this type of academic rigor, he or she isn’t going to be successful. Then, there are those students who aren’t prepared to handle the structure and freedom of college.They weren’t taught time management skills or how to prioritize activities that would allow them to have a successful college experience.

Third, the financial cost. Often, students end up transferring because they no longer can afford to continue to attend the college they are enrolled in. Financial situations might have changed, such as loss of scholarship due to low GPA, or unexpected family challenges. One key factor is they didn’t calculate in all the other expenses, such as personal spending, other college fees, and having other siblings enrolled in college at the same time.

The untold story is that despite all the reasons students change schools, transfer students end up paying more for their education, as they usually lose credits, which don’t apply to the new major, or have to retake courses, as the other institution doesn’t accept the credits. Students need guidance when preparing for and applying for college so that they don’t end up paying more for their education than they have to.

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