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How To Be Successful As A Transfer Student

As transfer students play a bigger and bigger role on college and university campuses across the world, many in higher education are scrambling to find better ways to help them succeed. Let's take a closer look at five ways transfer students can make themselves more successful.

Sep 3, 2018
  • Education
  • Student Tips
How To Be Successful As A Transfer Student

As transfer students play a bigger and bigger role on college and university campuses across the world, many in higher education are scrambling to find better ways to help them succeed.

According to the New York Times, transfer students comprise about 38 percent of the undergraduate population, and they always help secure a university's revenue by replacing students who leave in their first two years.

Why the shift? In part, the job market appeals to high school students more than college. Many college-ready high school graduates opt to take a year or two and earn some money first, before starting their undergraduate education.

The New York Times reports that despite the significant number of transfer students in higher education, they have been mostly "invisible."

They are not included in federal graduation rates for colleges and universities, and there is no federal accountability system in place that requires any of their information.

As more traditional colleges and universities compete with online programs, their interest in attracting --and nurturing -- their transfer student population becomes more important.

Let's take a closer look at a few tips for success for transfer students.

1. Attend college fairs

Students looking to transfer should attend college fairs, but showing up is not enough.

Do your homework. It matters where you go.

You cannot just pick a college out of the blue and decide to transfer. Go to college fairs, talk to representatives, and get a sense of what each campus is about.

Even better: get contact information for advisers and counselors from every admissions office that attends and send a personalized, follow-up thank you email. If you are interested, express it. If you are not, stay away.

You will be surprised how quickly you will generate an impression -- positive or negative -- by attending.

Don't just go to one, either. Go to many.

2. Do your research on what you want to study in your new college

Different schools have different credit and unit acceptance policies depending on what you want to study and what you want to transfer.

Before you make any decisions, contact the department where you want to major and or minor and ask to speak with a transfer adviser. If you transfer in with fewer credits than you were expecting, that means more time -- and more tuition.

You are at a bit of a disadvantage when you transfer because you have less time to learn how to navigate the often complicated transfer system at your institution.

The key is to transfer to a program that has advisers who take their time with you, can answer your questions and has the capability to help you navigate the maze.

3. Make sure you understand the financial aspects of your transfer

It is critical that you understand your new tuition, fees, and other expenses, as well as scholarships, financial aid, grants and loans available.

Also find out ahead of time (see #2) exactly how many credits you need so you can anticipate what you will need to pay for.

If you do not ask, you will not necessarily know. A good adviser can help you connect with the financial services office at your school.

4. Get a mentor

We have discussed the benefits of a mentor before and we'll tell you again: get one.

Transfer students have a higher chance of success with a mentor. It could be your advisor or someone completely different.

A great mentor will help you connect with your new campus, help you find the right resources, and put you in situations where you will do well.

Be the best you can be and find someone who has the skills, ability, and time to mentor you on this journey.

5. Get involved on campus

In addition to a fantastic mentor and advisor, your next best resource is the network you create.

You cannot create a network if you do not put yourself out there. That said, be picky.

Connect with other transfer students, for sure, and decide which groups and organizations match with your interests. Attend events where you might meet fellow students with similar interests. Ask questions. Join social media groups, and, most importantly, attend those transfer support groups.

Student involvement doesn't have to be all-consuming. A few events, a lecture or two, and maybe a transfer movie night could do the trick.

Be selective and strategic. Get yourself out there.

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