My dad doesn’t want me to transfer universities, but my mom does. I’m stuck

Hi there.

I’m really struggling right now.

None of my college admission process has been easy. I’m fact, it’s been super tough on both me and my family.

It all started when I, stupidly, got my heart set on a university my junior year. I applied to a ton of colleges during my senior year, but I could only envision myself going to this one school. Long story short; I got in, it was expensive (it’s an international school), it was a stressful decision, my mom didn’t want me to go, my dad did, I ended up going there.

My mom is helping me out a TON with money. She’s agreed to pay for the brunt of my tuition and most of my housing costs. My parents are divorced and my dad makes a great deal less money than my mom. He hasn’t been able to help me out as much, which I understand completely, but it makes my situation more difficult.

My mom and I came to an agreement on the university because I was entering in a specialized major, and it was very important to me. Turns out, when I enrolled in the classes, I HATED it. It wasn’t for me at all. So I applied for a transfer of faculties and was hoping to begin my new degree search next fall.

I felt great at the school, even though it is quite large. I made a wonderful group of friends and love the campus.

When I left for winter break, I fully expected it to be a normal break from school. I knew I was going to have to take a loan out for this second term, but I had accepted it.

Unfortunately, my school has decided to conduct classes online until February 7th, but luckily tuition has been moved so it is due then.

However, now my mom has been discussing how she doesn’t think this school is worth it. She doesn’t want me to continue and would rather have me switch to a smaller liberal arts school in the United States. She thinks I would thrive better there.

I understand where this fear is coming from. I failed my first class ever my first term. I got two A’s, one A-, and an F. I was devastated. It’s never happened to me before. It was a math class that I don’t even need for my new major, but still. It will be on my transcript forever.

However, there were circumstances surrounding this grade. It was a 50% final, and I don’t think I put enough emphasis on that. It was 100% my fault. Also, the class average was 57%, and there was absolutely no curve to the class at all. It was odd. But I take full responsibility.

Regardless, I think this worries her a lot. She doesn’t want me to take out a loan for a school that I don’t thrive in, and with COVID, she doesn’t think it’s worth it to continue here for another term.

I’m heartbroken over this. So is my dad. He keeps saying I should stay, invest in my future, as it is a very good school. He and I visited it together almost 5 years ago, that’s where I fell in love with it.

I have no idea what to do. My mom is very adamant that I should apply to liberal arts universities in the US so I can explore my options for major, as I really don’t necessarily know what I want to go into. Which I understand there, but I don’t want to let my dad down, as this was a special place for us.

At the same time, I respect my mom’s opinion so much. And I hate that she has to keep spending money on me.

I’m devastated. None of my friends from high school are even considering transferring. I feel like such a loser. It hurts a lot.

I just want to be settled somewhere. I miss the life I built at my current university (as I’m at home now for online school.) I cry a lot thinking about if I had to leave it all behind.

I just want to make everyone happy, and in the process of doing that, I don’t know what makes me happy anymore.

For the time being, my school said they would update everyone on the week of January 24th on if school is staying online for longer. We’re putting off making our final decision until we hear that.

Anyways, any suggestions? Anyone struggling with something similar? I just feel so lost right now. I change my mind on what to do every 30 seconds. It hasn’t been good for my mental health.

Should I apply to transfer schools to see what I get? This F has all but ruined my life. My GPA is tanked, as I only have 12 credits. I don’t know if transfer schools would even take me.

I hope everyone is doing well. I appreciate all the advice!

Calm down. One F is not going to ruin your life.

You don’t say what country you are in, or what you were studying or are going to study. Those factors are actually relevant.

Has your Dad said that he would feel let down, or is this your projection? Life is full of special places and special memories, but you have to live it going forward, not backwards.

She who pays the piper gets some say in calling the tune- BUT: how much of an issue is the money thing? How much of a loan do you need to take? Who will pay for the degree in the US?

Most of your post is about the angst of being caught in the middle between your parents. Put all of that aside and put the facts out on the table:

IF you stay where you are, how long will it take to finish the degree, and how much debt will you have?

IF you agree to transfer to a US LAC- same questions.

Is your Dad paying for any of your college?

What are the rules of the university that you are in on 1) re-sitting failed exams / classes and 2) degree classifications? In many countries GPA is not a thing- you graduate with a general class of degree, in which case a poor grade in first year won’t even show up on your final degree.

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It is difficult to give useful advice without knowing more. It would be useful to know what university you are attending, what sort of school you want to transfer to, what country you are from, and what your budget is.

However, it sounds like your current university is not affordable. That alone is a good reason to transfer.

What class did you fail? What is your intended new major? The fact that your other classes were mostly A’s or A-'s should help. It sounds as if you might have been taking a math class that you were not ready for.

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As someone who (long ago) had to transfer colleges because my single mom was paying the bulk and I was not thriving, I understand how you feel. Transferring turned out well for me, as it does for many kids (including one of my own). Now that I have 1 in college and another going next year, I also understand where your mom is coming from. It’s a lot of $ to spend on online classes, and with Covid adding so much uncertainty, I get wanting to get the most for your $ and wanting you to maybe be closer to home.

Re: my son’s xfer, he did his freshman year last year online except for 1 month where he went to live on campus, but ultimately left because the Covid situation and restrictions were not managed well by the school. When he came home in late February of spring semester, I suggested putting 2-3 xfer apps out there so that come May, if he didn’t want to go back in the fall, he would have choices. He did so, and ultimately he did transfer. He’s now thriving. He initially couldn’t picture himself anywhere other than his original school, and now he feels the same about where he is. There is more than one place where you can be happy for sure.

Since your mom is paying the bill, what harm could there be in putting a few apps out there? Are there a handful of schools you could envision applying to right now, and are you able to possibly visit them before you return to school for this semester? It seems fair to me to look into it for your mom so that you can have a more informed view of the big picture and make a decision from there later in the semester.

Also, One F will not ruin your life. If you’re not a math/STEM major, try to move on from it.

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Don’t tie your F to your transfer. Transferring does not make you nor anyone else a loser.

My son transferred in the middle of his freshman year and his grades were fine. He went to a new school with a stronger program in the major he ultimately elected to pursue, which was a better fit.

Look at the gazillions of transfers that occur in college sports in the US. Lots of people transfer. Just because your friends have not does not make you a loser.

Also, if this is not affordable without loans, it tells me that it is a strain on your mom financially. She is probably being a bit gentle about that fact because she doesn’t want to crap on your dreams and the school you fell in love with, but she may well have a shortened retirement or restricted lifestyle in retirement to make this dream possible for you. Your dad helped put the dream in your head, but is not paying a price for it, it sounds like.

And now that you are not pursuing the originally planned program, you are asking your mom to keep paying a premium to subsidize your friendships and the sentiment you have attached to the name of your current school.

At least that is how I see the facts. Put aside the emotions about first-year friends, grades, and childhood trips with dad. Being practical about your and your mom’s future finances weighs heavily in favor of transferring. Will your future self want you to make this decision based on your feelings or finances? Consider how you will feel about those finances in ten years when you have a significant debt burden and your aging mom is feeling the pinch, too.

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Are you a U.S. citizen currently studying at a college abroad?