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The Transfer Process: A Student’s Perspective

By Neil Goldsmith
College Student

If you’re anything like me, chances are you probably spent many hours of your junior and senior years researching, visiting, and daydreaming about the perfect place to go to college. Finding that one special school takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of time and energy. But what happens when that dream school you researched so thoroughly turns out to be a real life nightmare? Transferring to another school may be the solution—although not one to be taken lightly.

The Decision to Transfer

After I spent one semester at college I knew it was time to transfer. Actually, I knew it was time to transfer within a month after arriving on campus. I did not seem to click with people I had met, felt limited by the small campus I lived on, and was disappointed with the distinct lack of a strong and active Jewish community on campus. I tried to get involved in as many activities as I could, participating in intramural sports, Mock Trial, and Hillel to name a few. I even switched dorms halfway through the semester in the hope that I would find other students that were more like me. Unfortunately, none of this worked, and every failed venture reaffirmed my feeling that this school was not for me. I just could not see myself being there for another three and a half years. I knew I had to get out, so I started pondering my options.

Picking a New School

In shopping around for a new school, I knew I had to first pinpoint the qualities that were lacking from my current school and look for those qualities in a new school. I wanted more fun things to do on the weekends, so a campus in a big city was a must. My current school was extremely lacking in school spirit, so I also my new school to have a rich athletic tradition. As mentioned earlier, I wanted my new school to have a strong Jewish presence. I recognized that transferring at the semester would be very difficult to do if I did not already have friends in place at my new school, so that factored into my decision as well. I ended up choosing a school closer to home that many of my high school friends attended. These friends were a big help in the process. In many conversations with them throughout the semester, they all told me how much they loved their school, and how much fun I would have there. Although the application process, getting credits transferred, setting up housing, searching for financial aid, and attending orientation was a bit of a hassle, the end result was well worth it.

Making the Transfer a Success

Looking back on the entire process, I can safely say I have no regrets and feel that I made the right decision. It was a little difficult, however, to change schools in the middle of the year. No matter how well you know the people or the school you are transferring to, you are most likely going to feel out of the loop for those first few months. I chose to live in a freshman dorm where most of my friends lived, but it still was not perfect. The people I met were friendly, but they already had their own social groups to hang out in. I found that the best strategy for finding my niche was hanging out with each of my friends’ groups, and determining which social group I had the most fun in and felt the most comfortable around. I would also suggest getting involved on campus. Most extracurricular groups are happy to have new members in the middle of the year, and are extremely welcoming to new students. The new scene might have been intimidating and unfamiliar at first, but soon I was proud to call my new school home.

The decision to transfer schools is a difficult one, but one that may need to be made. Along the way I received much criticism, positive and negative, from both my family and friends. Everyone had their own opinion on the matter, and everyone thought they knew what was best for me. While I listened to their advice, I knew that I needed to make the decision since it was my life and my happiness at stake. If you are thinking about transferring, I recommend that you think long and hard about your decision and weigh all the pros and cons of your options. Transferring is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it has been a great decision for me.