When you were a bright-eyed high school student checking out your college options, you probably envisioned yourself at the campus for the typical 4 years, making friends and going to classes and having new experiences. You probably didn’t imagine transferring to a different university in the middle of it, but a new study demonstrates that more than a third of college students transfer at some point in their education.
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released their findings last week, revealing that out of 3.6 million U.S. students in the study, 37 percent transferred at least once by the summer of 2014. The students began in 2008. Much of the transferring was between community colleges and four-year universities, including students at four-year colleges who transferred to community colleges for summer sessions.
The thing about transferring: it’s okay! People’s goals and educational wishes change, circumstances and finances change, and finding a college that reflects those changes shouldn’t be frowned upon. Some people find that they weren’t ready for the hustle and bustle of a big university, and choose to transfer to the more intimate setting of a community college. Other people begin at a community college to save money until they can afford to do their upper-division credits at a four-year college. Some people find that the university they picked didn’t suit them so well after all. And there’s nothing wrong with deciding to make a change that will help advance your goals.
The hardest part of transferring can be figuring out which credits will transfer, and which classes you might have to make up at your new school. The process is often fraught with complexity, said Thomas Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University. Differing requirements between colleges can be confusing for students, he said in an interview with Associated Press (published on Huffington Post).
It’s suggested that you speak to a guidance counselor at your current college, who can often help you figure out the business of transferring. You should also get in contact with someone at your new school - many schools have staff who are devoted solely to supporting transfer students. There are also a number of websites that can help you start the transfer process.