Possibly Transferring?

<p>I was thinking about possibly transferring to Boston College after my freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Seeing as how I've been here for a week, I can't say much about my GPA or ECs, but if I'm going in to school with the mindset of transferring, I can predict that they'll be good. I want to leave UIUC because it was never the school I wanted to go to, but I didn't do as well in high school as I should have. I got a 33 on my ACT, a 4 on AP US, a 4 on AP English Lit, a 4 on AP Psychology, and a 5 on AP Calc. Assuming my grades are good and I join some good clubs, what are my odds as a transfer?</p>

<p>Dear meaculpa : Let's put the discussion about transferring anywhere aside for just a few minutes. The Fall term has just started and within the first week, you are already leaving Urbana-Champaign. Let's regroup.</p>

<p>Yes, you are not in the center of the airport action, but why are you there in the first place? If it was just to attend "any college", you need to take a step back and reevaluate entirely what your college selection process encompassed. After you spend some time thinking about it, you will be in a better position to decide whether to stay at UIUC or move to another institution.</p>

<p>Remember that if you are through your first week, you only have fourteen more weeks in the classroom in the Fall Semester and it will go quickly. Do everything you can to integrate with your friends there, enjoy your classes, and become part of the UIUC social scene. Reach out to the orientation groups on campus if you are struggling to initially "fit in" and make friends. Engage in your classroom studies and study groups. Absolutely DO NOT take your meals alone or start hanging around your dorm room just going from class-to-class. Keep trying to build your social network.</p>

<p>If at the end of the Fall term you are still not in a happy place, let's revisit the transfer question. We are here to help you - but I specifically would like to help you settle into a rhythm for the next three months so that the discussion is not about underperforming in High School but exceeding expectations in College. Hopefully this all makes some sense to you.</p>

<p>We are here and we are listening. Please keep writing.</p>

<p>It's not that I don't have friends or things to do, because I do, but call me cheap or shallow or whatever but I want a school with more cachet than UIUC. With most of the kids I've met here, I wonder how they even got in to college in the first place. My college selection process was a poor one because I applied to Northwestern and nowhere else, and didn't get in there. I applied to UIUC, Wisconsin-Madison, and Michigan the day before the deadline. Even though I'd probably rather be at either of those schools than UIUC, I just withdrew my applications after I got in here. I had a very cavalier attitude about applying to colleges, and this is where it got me.</p>

<p>Are you in the Business school or engineering school at Illinois? The kids in those schools must be pretty sharp since it is competitive to get in there. Why now the sudden obsession with BC? Do you think you could have been accepted at BC last year?</p>

<p>Dear meaculpa : Thanks for sharing an honest and heartfelt answer. Yours is a case that really calls out the need to go back to the drawing board to understand what you want from your college career. Given the midwestern focus of your original selection pool of schools, the sudden interest in Boston College probably (well, absolutely) needs some more reflection time. </p>

<p>Can you perhaps share a few of the elements that you are seeking from a college campus that you do not believe you will find at UIUC? Perhaps in your one week's time, you have have run across some of the stronger academic players that gottagonow references?</p>

<p>You're definitely not in the right mind at this time of year to even think about transferring. If you really don't like it there (and don't keep a, "This is bad. Everything here will be bad," attitude), then you can consider transferring.</p>

<p>Well, I like BC because it's in the northeast, it's a beautiful campus, it's higher-ranked than my school, and when people hear that you go there they say, "Oh wow, you must be really smart." UIUC, not so much. I know that's probably not what you should look for in a college, but it's important to me. This might completely invalidate my entire thread, but my girlfriend goes to BC; although I can't stress enough that it's not because of her that I want to transfer. With or without her, I would want to transfer. I'm also considering applying to UofC, Northwestern, and some other similar schools; BC just seems like the most realistic acceptance.</p>

<p>I disagree about the transfer mindset being the wrong one; it may be the only thing that keeps me wanting to do well in school. In high school, I had no such motivation and wound up at a school I never wanted to attend</p>

<p>Dear meaculpa : Let's start looking at some hard numbers that might be of interest to you. In the Fall 2008 freshman class, Boston College accepted 26.2% of applications from first time freshman applicants. The transfer acceptance rate was 9.2%.</p>

<p>In the Fall 2009 numbers, the freshman acceptance rate was 30.1%. Meanwhile, the transfer number was 21.3%.</p>

<p>Several points here worth considering. First, it is harder to get in as a transfer student since the number of slots is fewer (someone needs to leave for a spot to be created and the departure rate is VERY small). Second, the competition and selectivity among the transfer pool is even higher than the regular decision pool in freshman year.</p>

<p>Successful transfer applicants will have something unique that Boston College sees as adding to the campus fabric. As an example, there could be a specific type of research that overlaps with a Boston College department strength. Alternatively, the successful transfer student could be accepted to "steal" top students from cohort schools. </p>

<p>Whatever the reason, there is usually something more than just great academic standing in play for a candidate. So, your responses do talk about the advantages of Boston College - the school knows about its standing. The question is why should they accept you? That is not meant to challenge your academic background. Instead, how would you market yourself to the school?</p>

<p>You have an advantage in that your girlfriend is at the campus (or will be barring the hurricane this weekend!). You might want to consider her application against your own transfer application and think about how you would stack up. The "I want to attend a smart school" strategy is not enough to construct a winning gambit. Leverage the advice that current BC freshmen might be able to afford you. Good luck.</p>

<p>As someone apparently well-versed on the BC application process, could you tell me if there are things I could be doing (certain types of ECs, classes, etc.) apart from the obvious good grades? If I have a 4.0 from UIUC, I'd hope that gives me a leg up relative to people trying to transfer out of community colleges. My girlfriend had the same ACT as I did, but a much better GPA. What surprised me is that she had relatively few ECs, but it's always been her dream school so I won't question her admission lol. </p>

<p>I have almost the entire year ahead of me and I'll do anything I can to get to a school I like better than this one. Talking to my girlfriend today about how excited she was and how she had always wanted to go there only to have it actually happen made me realize how little I want to graduate from this school. I was the only one of my friends who wasn't excited to go to school. I appreciate the help you've given and hopefully the help you'll continue to give during this long, painful, eventually annoying process</p>

<p>Dear meaculpa : You have already hit on the grades aspect and your standing at UIUC will be better than many community college transfers, but the two-year to four-year set is not going to be your competition. There will be candidates from solid four-year institutions like Wake Forest, NYU, and many others that will typically consider a Boston College transfer.</p>

<p>Your first step in this journey is to start learning about BC and perhaps another half-dozen colleges. The idea that your girlfriend is excited about Boston College is because it matches her college desires - those might not match your own. The biggest mistake you can make is to decide on your next college based on the choices made by your girlfriend and your High School buddies. They were excited because they did the right type of research. You are later to realizing that important exercise. Late -- but not too late.</p>

<p>So, you still have not answered the question as to what you are seeking from college. Answering a "better academic" environment is not enough. What are you seeking in terms of majors, location in the country (important for networking), costs, travel logistics for school (remember you will return home for holidays and such), and opportunities? You do not need to have all of the answers tonight, meaculpa. The point is to get you to thinking about what is important to you. Your answers might align with your girlfriend's choices, but I would like to push your thinking a bit harder than taking the easy answer. Hopefully, this does not seem unfair to you. </p>

<p>My guess is that you will file a Boston College transfer application regardless of this introspection phase. However, my hope is that we will be able to expand your thinking.</p>

<p>I'll try to answer your questions one by one</p>

<p>Major: I'm still officially undecided, but I'm leaning towards a major in economics
Location: I don't mind the Midwest, but I would to prefer to be closer to a "real" city than UIUC is. University of Chicago and Northwestern would be examples of that. I also like the Northeast like Boston, DC, etc.
Costs: Really doesn't matter. My education is more or less spoken for
Travel logistics: I'd be fine having to fly home from school, or being able to drive from school. Not a really important factor for me
Opportunities: If I wind up majoring in economics, I'd like to go to a school with some sort of recruiting from banks or something. That will come with more rumination about my major and eventual career choices.</p>

<p>My point in bringing up that my girlfriend and friends were excited about their respective schools wasn't to say that I should go to their schools, it was merely to say that I wasn't excited about mine. I want to like the school that I'm going to, and I'm fairly certain that I'd like any of the schools I mentioned and undoubtedly a few others. BC seems to match my college desires, but a decision to go there wouldn't come lightly. I first need to apply, and then I need to get in. At this point, I have very little confidence in my ability to actually get in to schools. Ideally, I'd be able to choose from multiple acceptances and have an actual choice in where I really want to go to school</p>

<p>Meaculpa:</p>

<p>There is a subtle point you are missing with the advice you've received.</p>

<p>Getting into Boston College as a transfer student is more difficult than being accepted as an entering freshman. Therefore, BC can be, and is, very selective with who it admits for transfers. They will be looking way beyond your grades and SAT/ACT scores.</p>

<p>The primary reason you currently have for wanting to transfer to BC is because you're unhappy with where you are. The advice you are getting is to learn to accept your current situation, and to grow, thrive, and succeed there. Then, and only then, will you be in any position to consider transferring.</p>

<p>Assume for a moment that you worked in the BC admissions committee and you could only accept 10-20% of the many hundreds of transfer applications. Wouldn't you want to say "yes" to applicants who have demonstrated well-rounded success and are "adding value" in their current college environment? That is who your competition will be.</p>

<p>If you really want to strengthen your BC transfer application, you'll need a good two years at your current school to grow from your current "I don't want to be here" state to show how you've grown into a value-added asset - one that will have merit in an application. </p>

<p>Good luck. You can do it but there's no instant magic recipe.</p>

<p>I know that it's very difficult to get in. I realize that I'll probably be stuck here for all four years, but I figured improving my situation was at least worth a try</p>

<p>You aren't stuck. Make the best of the first year at UIUC and see where that takes you. The defeatist attitude isn't going to take you where you want to go.
Are you just looking for something more elite? Or is it something else about your current school that makes you want to leave after only two weeks?</p>

<p>One of the nice things about state schools is that you can pick and choose who you surround yourself with. In other words, you can make a seemingly massive school pretty small fairly quickly. Join academic clubs of interest as they tend to attract academically motivated people. Inquire about Honors societies/programs at schools. Most of all, make the most of your situation. BC wasn't my first choice for college, but now I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. Give it a chance.</p>

<p>The defeatist attitude comes from not getting in to the only school I really wanted to attend. I'll do what I can to make myself an attractive transfer applicant, and I might even grow to like my school in the process. I just want the choice to leave if I find myself so inclined</p>

<p>IMO, you should think about what you really want from a school (why was your first choice your first/only choice) & try to find several schools that might fit the bill. BC may be a good fit, but there may be others you're overlooking. Because the transfer process into BC is even more competitive than the freshman admission process, it would suck to end up in the same position (not getting into the only school you decided you want to attend). Give yourself options this time.</p>

<p>There are definitely other schools, and I realize that getting in as a transfer is more difficult as getting in as a freshman. However, I think I'll be a much better applicant come next spring than I was last winter.</p>

<p>why was your first choice your first/only choice</p>

<p>It was the school I always wanted to go to even before I started really thinking about college</p>