If you are considering transferring colleges, you are not alone. About one third of college students switch schools before earning their degree, and there are plenty of reasons why students decide to go through the process.
As a college student, you now have a better sense of what you want out of your undergraduate experience and are better equipped to seek out a school that fits your needs and goals. Regardless of whatever brought you to think about transferring, I hope the following advice is helpful:
Take Time to Reflect
If you only very recently went through the process of first-year admissions, make sure to give your first school an honest chance. Your college experience is what you make of it no matter where you go, so strive to give your full effort in your classes, join activities that interest you, and immerse yourself in your community before starting the transfer process. You may surprise yourself!
If you have a period of college under your belt, you now have better clarity about what you desire out of your experience. Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you and why you are transferring. Preferences in academic major or minor offerings? Institution type or size? Campus community or culture? Most importantly, make sure to talk to others you trust as you reflect. No one should go through the transfer process alone!
Do Your Research
Now more than ever, a wealth of information about colleges and the transfer process is available online. Take advantage of virtual information sessions or campus tours, connect with current students at schools that interest you, and reach out to the admissions offices for information on the transfer application process. Be sure to familiarize yourself not only with the application requirements for each school but also their transfer credit policies, as these can differ greatly between institutions.
Put the Pieces Together
Having done your research and reflected on what is important to you in transferring, now is the time to craft your application. Be specific and thoughtful in your essays, and as cliché as it may sound, stay true to yourself. For some general essay advice, check out another uncommon blog post here!
Get started by creating your Coalition Application account, which you can use to complete your profile and transfer application at nearly 100 different colleges from across the country, including UChicago. Make sure to be aware of transfer- and university-specific application requirements and arrange for materials such as transcripts and college reports to be sent in advance of the deadline.
Above all else, continue to stay engaged and make the most of your current college experience, even if you have your eyes set on attending somewhere else next year. As author and poet Mark Nepo once wrote, “There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” Best of luck to you on your transfer journey!