Transfer from Wesleyan University. Is it worth it?

I was admitted to Wesleyan University in Middletown. I am planning to major in molecular biology and then take graduate studies. However , i don’t feel that Wesleyan University is prestigious, and i feel that i want to transfer to another research university with more interest in STEM subjects and better rank . Is that a good idea?

So you’re about to start in a month ?

As a first year ?

It’s a HORRIBLE idea.

Wonderful school. Go study hard. Do well. Have a great experience. And don’t look back.

How could you even think this is possibly a good idea ?


If I recall from your other thread you are an international student who received excellent financial aid. You are unlikely as a transfer to get the same package.

Wesleyan is a great school. Work hard, do well, make friends.



From another thread:

As a transfer, you are unlikely to get so generous a deal. Plus the entire concept of wanting to transfer before you have even set foot on campus as a student is just unfathomable to me.

Go in with a positive attitude.


You appear to be under a serious misprision about the prestigious, generous school that accepted you. Be prepared to meet some very smart students there, then hang on tight.


Wow - you made other threads and you’re spending nothing to attend one of the MOST PRESTIGIOUS colleges in the US ?

Scratching my head at even the premise you have raised.

People fall over themselves to spend well over $300k to attend one of the nation’s top colleges. You will spend less than $5k if I read your other post correctly ?


I’m beyond shocked. Even moreso than 10 minutes ago when I first read your note.


Wesleyan is a very good university. It is a relatively small school that focuses on undergraduate students, and is a very good one.

One issue is that because Wesleyan is small, you are likely to get to know your professors. If you are a particularly strong student and a reasonable person, then this is likely to help you to get research or internship or coop opportunities. This will be very helpful in terms of improving your education, and helping you to get prepared for a job after graduation, and helping you be well prepared for graduate studies. Because Wesleyan has very few graduate students, in many cases you will not be competing with them for research opportunities.

I have a daughter who graduated a bit more than a year ago from a small university as a biology major. Based on her experience I have become a big fan of small schools. She had been asked to help with research, and this was a major factor after she graduated and started to look for a job (which went very well – she currently has a very good job doing biotech research). Edit to add: She had multiple job interview via ZOOM due to the pandemic, which means that I got to listen in on several of them. What she learned from the research that she did as a university student did come up over and over again in job interviews. This valuable experience appears to have been more important than which specific university she happens to have attended.

Wesleyan is a “top 20” Liberal Arts College. In general Liberal Arts Colleges are not as famous, particularly outside the US, when compared to larger universities. However, LACs are very well known by employers and by the admissions staff at top graduate programs. There are quite a few LACs in the US (certainly way more than 20) where you can get an excellent education.

My understanding is that you are headed to Wesleyan with a very good financial aid package. CONGRATULATIONS! This is a GREAT opportunity! Plan to stay there for the full four years and make the best of your opportunities.

Exactly. You are going to find classes to be academically demanding. You are going to find professors who are very knowledgeable and fellow students who are very strong students. You will want to keep ahead in your studies from day 1 and look forward to a very interesting and very demanding four years when you will learn a great deal.

Once again, congratulations! To me this looks like a great opportunity for you.


Luckily for you, your feeling is incorrect.

You have an enviable opportunity to attend a top university (which actually is strong in STEM) with nearly a full ride. I don’t know where this negativity on your part is coming from, but I would suggest some deep reflection to figure that out, before this “what I have must not be good enough” attitude wreaks some serious havoc in your life.

The admissions process is over; congratulations on an excellent outcome. The only thing limiting what you can achieve with an undergraduate education from Wesleyan is you and what you put into it. Do well there and save the next stage of the prestige hunt for grad school.


You don’t feel…or your parents/relatives/don’t feel? If it’s other people, know that it is fair for people in other countries to not be familiar with Wesleyan- but the fact that they haven’t heard of it doesn’t lessen the reality of how good a university it is. Your goal is to go on & get into a graduate program, yes? You will be able to get into any graduate school in the country from Wes. When you are doing your PhD at (insert name of famous university) you can say “I told you so”.

However, if it’s you that feels that way, well I am working hard to remember that you are an 18 yo who had the self-confidence to roll the dice on one of the hardest gambles out there: a full ride to a US university as an international student, and that the boundaries between self-confidence, hubris and arrogance can be fuzzy.

You have been gifted an education for which most people have to pay $330,000. And now you say, ‘actually, I am so good that sorry, Wes, you aren’t good enough for me’? Your first choice was Haverford (no more “prestigious” or “STEM” or “better rank” than Wes)- and they deferred you. You want to throw it all in and try again before you even start? smh


Us News has Haverford 16, Wes 17. So no difference there.

My personal opinion is Wes has more name recognition - not everyone has heard of Haverford. Most everyone has heard of Wes.


Your feelings are wrong, and it is a terrible idea. To repeat what others have written - you are incredibly lucky in that a top college accepted you with financial aid.

Wesleyan ranks as #20 in the percent of undergraduates who do PhDs. That is out of 2,000 non-profit four year colleges and universities. The differences between the “top” 100 are pretty small (except for Caltech and HMC, but those are not options for you anyway)

I means seriously - what else would you want? Unless you do well in your undergraduate studies, you will not be accepted to any grad school. If you do well at Wesleyan, you will be competitive for every singe grad program in the USA.

My kid is going into her senior year at a Liberal Arts College that is within the same range of “prestige” as Wesleyan, and has been reaching out to potential PhD advisors. Potential advisors from the top programs in the country have been encouraging her to apply to their programs, and consider her to be highly competitive for their programs.

Bottom line - Wesleyan is not only EXTREMELY prestigious, it is a top college for what you want to do, AND it will cost you around 1% of the actual cost of attending. You will be paying $3,600 of the $330,000 that your education costs.

I don’t understand how much better you believe that you will be able to do.

I think that you may be falling in the trap of many international students who do not realize the prestige that top Liberal Arts Colleges have in the USA, and just how well they are regarded by grad schools. Since they are not top targets the way that places like some of the Ivies of state flagship universities are for international students, many international applicants are of the impression that they are not at the level of the regular targets. However, that impression could not be any more wrong. Grad schools love applicants from LACs, and the acceptance rates of LAC graduates to top grad programs is extremely high.

Consider this - students who were at the top of their class in top high schools are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend Wesleyan. That sounds like a place which has a very good reputation, no?


To me this post comes off as:

Ungrateful – One of the top LACs in the US (not your home country) has offered you what is basically a full ride. This is the “holy grail” for so many international as well as domestic students. If you don’t want the spot, tons of people would line up and many would be willing to pay over $300,000 for the privilege of attending Wesleyan. IMO you should feel some level of loyalty toward the college that has agreed to invest its resources into your future.

Misinformed – If you think the odds are good that you will get a better or similar financial deal from a more prestigious college as a transfer student. Most merit aid is given to freshmen. Also, if I read the posts correctly, Haverford (a peer institution) deferred you in the ED round which does not bode well for transferring to a bigger name school.

Misinformed – If you think Wesleyan is not “prestigious.” It is one of the top LACs in the US (even if it is not as well known in your home country).

Misinformed – If you think attending a more prestigious college will solidify your future. You can get wherever you want to go in life from Wesleyan. Your next steps will be determined by what you accomplish at college rather than what college you attend. In addition, as a LAC with smaller classes you should have the opportunity to get to know your professors. This, along with the fact that there are few grad students at Wesleyan to compete with, can lead to research opportunities early in your college career.

In addition - I think it is a terrible idea for anyone to start one college with the intent of transferring out. This will stand in the way of your making meaningful friendships, developing relationships with professors, and getting involved on campus. Then if your transfer doesn’t work out as planned you will be really stuck.

Take a deep breath. You have a remarkable opportunity in front of you at a top LAC that will be filled with smart and interesting people. I hope you will come to appreciate this opportunity and make the most of your college experience. Nobody here can stop you from throwing in a few transfer applications but don’t count on it working out.


Do not step onto campus with one foot out the door. Embrace the opportunities that have been made available to you.

Do not squander your first year here wondering where else you could be. Be grateful and open your mind to all that is available.

Prepare to struggle, but surround yourself with peers who support each other - this is impossible if you are trying to leave before you get there.


My understanding is that you are a high-need, international who was accepted during the RD round. That’s quite an accomplishment! Your odds of being accepted were in the single digits! And you deserve to feel good about yourself. But it’s time to put away the gambling mentality (I know - it is so addictive to continually play the odds.)

You are lucky in other ways you may not even be aware of. For example, I think fit is probably more important than prestige (though Wesleyan has plenty of that, too) and you will find a welcoming place full of strong women many of whom are internationals, too. You will find your peep, IMO.

Plus, I think you will find the surrounding town a diverse place by American standards. You’ll probably be too busy your first year at Wesleyan to take full advantage of it. But there is a mosque within walking distance (I’m assuming from your screenname that you are Muslim), free city transit to nearby towns and restaurants, and opportunities to cook for yourself - if that’s important - as early as sophomore year (there’s a campus grocery store as well as a natural food store a little further away on Main Street.)

So, take a deep breath. You’ve won.


I’m concerned about some of the very basic things about which you seem to be completely unaware. For example, you mention STEM and research, but appear to not know that Wesleyan is among the top two LACs in R&D spending NSF – NCSES Academic Institution Profiles – Rankings by total R&D expenditures, and well ahead of all of the other small colleges you seem to prefer. Research $ aside, Wesleyan is among the very top LACs in several areas of STEM, and is in fact very well known for strength across the hard sciences (though it gets a lot of its press for the social sciences and arts). One highlight would be that Wes has won two Apker physics prizes, and has had at least one finalist, in the research university division of that competition, and it has a wonderful and very productive astro department to compliment its relatively deep and broad physics curricula. Wes is also one of 36 schools (which includes national schools) to have earned a 5 pens designation from Fiske for the quality of its “academics”, as broadly defined in that publication. Most Elite Colleges & Universities for Academics--2020 Fiske Guide To Colleges . There is a lot more to write about Wesleyan, but I suspect it’s not going to be helpful in your case.

Agree with others that you probably need to take a step back and reassess what you think and why you think it. One of my Ds graduated from Wes and is a graduate student in a PhD STEM program at one of the very top research universities on the planet. She’s a very bright woman, and I will pass along to you what she told me during her time there as a physics/astro student-athlete when she experienced her very first “B” grade: “Dad, there are some really, really smart people here. I keep up with them because I work super hard. Some of these people really do just get “it” faster than I do.” And, again, she’s very bright and has the stats to back it up. I saw in another thread that you were looking for schools that will accept a 32 ACT score. Well, though I tend to avoid assessing anybody’s intelligence, much less someone I don’t know, and much less based on one data point, I feel very confident in saying here that you won’t feel like you’re the smartest egg at Wesleyan, because you won’t be. By a long shot… So some humility (and yes, gratitude) might be in order.

But then again, do what you feel like you need to do; on the surface, it seems you may not be a good fit for Wesleyan in any event.


Totally agree with this take @MWolf , but then you have to wonder about the subset of that group who apply nonetheless. Why do they apply? How did they even know to apply? Then again, this particular student didn’t seem to know much about the school to which they applied, so that kind of drives home your point.

IDK, but at the end of the day, this feels like a kid who really isn’t where they want to be. Maybe the next stop will be the magic place and all will be fine. OTOH, I’ve know a lot of kids with that same “around the corner” syndrome, and it seems that they never get to their destination because once they land somewhere [else], there’s a new someplace else.

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I think everyone reading this is pretty much flabbergasted given the circumstances.

OP: Im not sure what your expectations were. You obviously did a great job convincing the school you’d be a great fit. They even gave you generous aid.

Since they probably aren’t aware of your lack of enthusiasm, it’s probably a good idea to detour from this thought process pretty quickly.

If you believe you are better than the school, I dont think you’ll succeed. And if that happens, you probably won’t be able to transfer “somewhere better” anyways.

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Op appears gone

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Not that prestige is important, but Wes is prestigious. It is a member of the Ivy League of the LAC world – NESCAC. You are enrolled at one of the best colleges in America. Grab this bull by the horns and ride it.


We should all remember that OP is young – probably 17 or 18. It is a bit tough to have this many adults disagree with you.

They had a moment of doubt and started this thread.

Perhaps more important is that @zaynamed is such a strong student that they got admitted to a great university with a major scholarship as an international student. This is tough to do and is a great accomplishment.

Salma Ahmed (if that is their real name they should change the account name) should be proud of this accomplishment. To take full advantage of this opportunity they should plan to show up ready to work hard in the fall (and “working hard” is probably how they earned this great opportunity in the first place).