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Transfer from UChicago to Duke

dragonjackdragonjack 2 replies3 threads New Member
Hi,
I'm a current freshman at UChicago. All the rumors about this place are completely true. I feel really alone and miserable. The people here are extremely unapproachable and the professors here are unhelpful. I haven't found many big non-preprofessional RSOs, and the preprofessional RSOs that I am interested in have rigorous application processes that I haven't been able to get through. Some of my classes are also graded on a brutal curve that fosters harsh competition; I want to go to a school that's more collaborative. I don't see any redeeming qualities about this school, and I'm terrified at the thought of spending four years here. However, I worked extremely hard in high school to get here, and I don't want to waste the time and energy I spent to get here. For that reason, I want to transfer to a school that's fun and collaborative, but also relatively prestigious. The best school that fits that description is Duke.

What are my chances of transferring from UChicago to Duke? Will a school like Duke find the reasons I stated above compelling enough to warrant transferring?
11 replies
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Replies to: Transfer from UChicago to Duke

  • milee30milee30 2153 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I'm so sorry you're off to a rough start. Since classes started less than three weeks ago, it might be a bit too soon to draw any final conclusions. Might be worth giving things a little more time before deciding. Although some of the RSOs are competitive entry, there are plenty of others that aren't so finding a few where you can make friends with common interests would help. Your house might also provide people who can support you while you're finding your way.

    You might be able to transfer to another college next year but I suspect "I want a prestigious college that's fun and I'm having no fun here" won't make for the most appealing app. That said, if you were smart enough to get in to UChicago, I'm sure you can come up with more compelling ways to demonstrate you're a good candidate for whichever college you might choose to transfer.

    Until then, hang in there, look for ways to find some friend support. If you're not getting the help you need from your professors (and I'm surprised to hear that), look for other sources - people in your house including the upperclassman can often offer good advice about particular professors or resources. Many of the department heads are also willing to help point students to tutoring and other resources as well.

    You've been there less than a month. Any college is a huge change from high school. Your particular college has a very challenging academic environment. Give yourself a little time to adjust and find your footing before concluding anything.
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  • milee30milee30 2153 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Reading your posting history, it appears that one of your issues may be that you're so concerned with chasing prestige you are ignoring other factors like fit. You may have landed somewhere you don't fit... or not, too soon to tell. But if you keep selecting based on prestige you might find you're jumping from one bad situation to another.

    Spend the year seeing how you can make this work and ignore the prestige stuff for a bit. So you aren't going to get into some of the most prestigious and competitive RSOs as a first year - so what? There are other fun and interesting RSOs and clubs - try some of them and build the skills and relationships you'll need to get into the competitive ones in future years. So you're finding it might be tough to be top of the class at a place where everybody was top of their HS class - welcome to just about every T20 college out there. You've got the brainpower to do this if you choose to or you wouldn't be there. Dig in and use it. You might find you do better than you fear right now.

    Find a few things that will make you happy and hang in there to give them some time to work before giving up and looking for prestige elsewhere before first figuring out who you are and what you can do and want.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5685 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I think that "Chicago is too much work, I want to transfer to an easier school" is not going to impress the admissions staff at any highly ranked rigorous university. Duke is a highly ranked rigorous university.

    Also, I am not sure that I understand from your posts (I did look at two previous ones) what you want in a university. You don't want to transfer and then discover that you are no happier than you were at Chicago.

    "Graded on a brutal curve" is what you get in highly ranked schools. The thing about Duke or Chicago (or MIT, Stanford, Caltech, or any Ivy League school) is that nearly everyone there was in the top 10% of their high school class, and most were significantly higher than this. There are smart people everywhere at both Chicago and Duke. That is part of the fun, but is also much of what makes these schools so demanding. There is an old saying that if you are the #1 top student in your high school, then you might be average at a "top 10" university.

    You have only been a few weeks at Chicago. It is a step up from high school. It is even a step up from a highly ranked private high school. A's will take a lot more work than they did in high school.

    I am not sure what RSO is (I thought it was a cannabis oil product). However, research opportunities will come along. This takes some time.

    In terms of meeting people, this takes time also. You should participate in some clubs and activities. You will meet people like you over time. At a top school like Chicago, people who are "like you" are going to be more common than they were in high school. However, it will still take time to find them.

    If you were accepted to Chicago, that means that the admissions staff at Chicago feel that you can handle the work. However, you are going to need to work very hard to do so. It will pay off big time to (i) show up at every class; (ii) sit near the front; (iii) always pay attention; (iv) keep a good record of what work you need to get done; (v) keep ahead in your homework at all times; (vi) seek out help early if you need it; and (vii) treat everyone with respect whether they deserve it or not. Many, many students sort of cruise through an easy four years in high school, get to a rigorous university (such as Chicago or Duke), and sort of hit a wall. Suddenly they have to learn quickly how to study.

    One last thing, my recollection is that Chicago is on the quarter system. This makes it even more important to stay ahead in your homework. Personally I loved the quarter system, but it takes a bit of getting used to.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2552 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited October 18
    I am sorry that the first quarter has been challenging. Please keep trying and give it some more time.....at least a quarter or two.

    Continue building relationships with professors....go to office hours and be prepared so they know you have done the reading/homework and have put in the effort.

    Join a club or two that is not competitive admission. Invite a roommate or classmate to have a meal, or doing something fun this weekend.

    If you would like to speak with a professional, please don't hesitate to make an appt with a counselor at SCS......they will have some good coping strategies for you which will help whether you stay or ultimately transfer.

    Did you apply to Duke last year as a senior? If you do apply to transfer, you will have to focus on what the potential transfer school offers that your current school doesn't, while not bashing the current school. It can be difficult to get the right content and tone in a transfer essay.

    Good luck and keep us updated.
    edited October 18
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  • PublisherPublisher 8798 replies101 threads Senior Member
    edited October 18
    OP: In answer to your two questions: Insufficient information regarding transfer chances and, while your stated reasons may be sufficient to justify transferring, they are not enough for Duke to accept you as a transfer student.

    What do you want to study ?

    Any potential careers which interest you ?
    edited October 18
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6921 replies60 threads Senior Member
    Piling on the 'you really haven't been there long enough to know whether UChic is your place or not' bandwagon.

    It's a jolt. From your other posts, you went to an academically competitive HS & succeeded admirably, doing better in the college admissions process than (at least at one point) you expected.

    But now, you are no longer a near-the-top of the pile Senior- you are an average unknown in a pack of other students who are as smart and hard working as you are. You are learning new systems, being measured by different metrics, and (at least figuratively) still trying to learn where the bathrooms are. Most likely, you have friends who are posting wonderful images of how great their college experience is going that look like it's so!much!fun! with no rainy days, hard tests, or moments of feeling lonely or daunted- all of which may be unfamiliar turf for you- but is also simply not the whole truth of your friend's experiences.

    This is where you live up to all those things you wrote about how you have challenged yourself in the past and how you want to achieve great things in life. You do the hard work of trying again to find social groups that are happy for you. You double down on working ahead, making sure that you are meeting with Profs, etc., so that you are that student at the right end of the brutal curve. As you do those things, you will make a new world for yourself and, bonus, you get a deep sense of achievement from the inside. There's nothing like hard-won achievements.
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  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 4103 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Give it another quarter and then put in some transfer applicants. Chicago is one of the few schools that in my experience is either a great fit or a horrible fit, and not much in between. I know too many for whom it was the latter who stuck it out when they shouldn’t have. Good luck!
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1464 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Make sure that you are realistic about your transfer chances. They accept around 80 (6%) students. They have DI athletics so some of the transfers are athletes.
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  • John FlopkinsJohn Flopkins 1 replies0 threads New Member
    Transfer to Johns Hopkins instead!!
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  • PublisherPublisher 8798 replies101 threads Senior Member
    In the recent past, Vanderbilt's admission rate for transfers was significantly higher than the admission rate for freshmen.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3532 replies49 threads Senior Member
    My wife went to UChicago and I went to Duke. I wouldn't be so quick to jump ship.

    Lots of competition at Duke, especially in STEM classes. You won't have the core, but there is a distribution requirement at Trinity, which accounts for about half of your total credits. Also for the top clubs, there is a competitive application process as well. And if you do transfer, you might lose some credits, and more importantly financial aid.

    I would suggest to hang in there for a while longer. It will probably get better. The grass is not always greener.
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