Want to transfer, but unsure

Hello everyone,

I currently am studying Spanish, Arabic, and TESL at my current university and hope to be a teacher and professor someday. I have always had a profound interest in language and studied French as an autodidact when I was in middle school, self-studied for the AP exam in high school and got a 5, and now I feel unfulfilled that I am not working towards a professional future in the language. There is no French program at my college.

At the university just a couple hours from me, there is an accelerated BA/MA program in French that I want to enroll in (along with a BA in Spanish and a second MA in Teaching World Languages which will give me high school cert for both languages). I truly believe that this path will make me happy, but it comes at a big cost.

I am a first semester freshman at my current university, but I made a trip there two years ago. The faculty welcomed me in and really recruited me. The former department head became my mentor, a Spanish professor gave me the position of president of Spanish Club, the department head gave me a job in the office of languages, an Arabic professor made me vice president of Arabic Club, and they gave me the opportunity to join the Arabic debate team my first semester.

I just feel so much more passionate about French and so much stronger in regards to proficiency. I realized this while at the Arabic debate and knew it before the semester started. I would lose everything above, but would get to do a BA/MA (which is ideal since I plan to go to graduate school later on anyhow), would get to study French, and would have increased opportunities for research.

Would anyone be willing to provide insight on this?

To clarify, you are currently at a 4 year university that has a Spanish program and an Arabic program but does not offer a French program, and based on your experience self-studying French to AP level you feel that the study and teaching of French is your passion so you want opinions as to whether you should transfer? Why do I feel as though there is more to this story?

What, specifically, is the “tremendous cost” of transferring?

That is correct-- there really is not much more to the story. There is no current French program with teacher certification, so I’d have to go elsewhere. In this case, I’d be following the passion. I know zero faculty at the other institution that has French and would likely not have leadership roles, a job as a student worker in the language department, faculty mentors, but I would have French/passion. I would lose everything at my old university, so that’s the big cost.

On the other hand, I could keep everything I have above at my current university (job, leadership, mentors) but would not have French. I’m doing well in my Arabic class, but I know that my proficiency and passion is higher in French.

Thanks for the update! a couple of follow up questions:

What year are you? Most universities require you to have the equivalent of 2 years at their institution in order to get a degree from them, so you would have 2 years at the new place to develop all of those things.

Is there no French department at all, or just no specific teacher certification program?

Are finances an issue at all?

Finally, other than the academic program options, do you have any strong feelings (for or against) either your current university or the proposed university?

Thanks for your reply! So, I am a first year freshman at my current institution though I came in with 88 hours of AP and dual credit. I got a 5 in AP Latin, French, and Spanish which was 45 hours total and did most of my general education requirements prior to university. So, I’m technically a freshman, but in junior standing.

There is no French program at our university at all. Our last professor of French retired and with it went the French program. While there are study abroad opportunities, these do not lead to a French major or minor.

I don’t have strong feelings for or against either college. I feel happy at my current university because I built connections with faculty for a year prior to going there and I know virtually zero faculty at the university with French.

Financially speaking, there could be a concern here too. If I apply on November 30th, I could still do this next semester and could apply and see what it would look like financially.

To me it sounds like you have a great situation at your current university, except that they can not and will not teach you French.

One option that might be worth thinking about would be to complete your bachelor’s degree where you are. You can then pick up stronger knowledge of French either over the summers or after graduation. There are for example some great French immersion programs over the summer in Canada that are very reasonably priced. I am aware of some in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (which is an officially bilingual province), and Quebec. I am pretty sure that there are also some immersion programs in France. One daughter took a five week program in eastern Canada. They first explain the rules in English, then you speak nothing but French for the next five weeks. They also test your knowledge of French the first day and again at 2 1/2 weeks. Each morning they have French classes, then in the afternoon you participate in various activities that are again done entirely in French. The classes are split by ability ranging from complete beginner (bonjour, Je m’appelle ----) through nearly full fluency. You might want to see whether your current university would accept credit on a program such as this taken over the summer (my daughter did receive academic credit at her university for the course that she took over the summer at a different university).

You might want to double check whether the combination of a bachelor’s at your current university plus proficiency in French through other means will be sufficient to get you into the master’s degree programs that you would be happy with.

Of course the finances and the amount of time to get both a bachelor’s degree plus fluency are things to compare between your various options.

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Would a semester abroad in France be feasible? Would that help meet any of your goals?

Thanks for your reply! Looking at local MA programs in French, it seems that a BA is required or its equivalent. So, if I wanted to do an MA, it seems that I’d have to take courses that are undergraduate level and do not count for graduate credit in preparation for the MA, though this may vary at other universities.

The program they have at the university though would let me do a BA/MA in four years in French.

Study abroad or immersion experiences are good for proficiency, but after checking with my university several weeks ago, this would not count for a major or teacher certification. I had considered doing a self-designed French major, but it fell through since my AP credits and study abroad would not be earned in residence. For this reason, study abroad may help me increase my current level (I am currently intermediate-high) but may not help to achieve certification.

Thanks for your reply though! I’m definitely going to check out those programs as viable options to increase my knowledge in the language. Merci !

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Two places to check out in eastern Canada are Université Ste. Anne in Nova Scotia, and Université de Moncton in New Brunswick. There are also options in Quebec City and in Montreal but I do not know as much about them.

Losing ECs (in areas you’re not as passionate about) vs. the opportunity to study and obtain 2 degrees in French, the language/major you’re most passionate about as well as providing the path towards a possible PhD and teaching/professorship. ECs can be replicated as well as the job, possibly, and your current school doesn’t provide the path you desire most Taking the long view, it doesn’t seem to be a difficult decision to transfer.

I share the same ideas. College 2 has French specific ECS as well as Spanish ones. Because I must apply by the 30th to go next semester (and would have a likely stressful next few weeks transferring everything and getting moved out), who at my university should I speak with and how? Transferring is something I want on account of the subject area and the potential of beginning grad school early, but it is an overwhelming process thinking about how to talk to advisors, department head, professors, and other mentors to whom I have explained my professional goals.

The only transfers I’m familiar with require an application process that would be nigh impossible to meet in 5 days since it’s basically a complete college application process with common app, LORs, essays, transcripts, minimum credits and so forth. In addition many schools have minimum credit requirements to transfer and it’s difficult to do so with only one semester completed or at least underway. However, there are many schools where transferring is more simplified because their acceptance rates are high enough that they don’t require all the bells and whistles, just an application with transcripts from your HS and current college.

If you were accepted to college 2 previously, I’d start by contacting the admissions office to see if they’d still honor that acceptance in which case you would enroll there for next semester and withdraw from your current school at the completion of this current semester. If college 2 requires an actual application with all the supporting documentation you will probably need to apply for Fall 2022.

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Hi! Thanks for your post. I believe that all college 2 requires is transcripts from all previous educational institutions since, although it is the flagship institution, it still has a very high acceptance rate (more than 90%). Last time I heard from them, they were still accepting Spring 2022 applications but encouraged students to submit everything as early as possible.

I’m eager to know how my federal aid, cancelation of meal plan at school 1 and subscription at school 2, as well as getting placed in a new dormitory, will look in the coming weeks if it is still viable to do this.

Should I speak with my advisor? She might make this transfer smoother. I don’t want to offend her with my idea of transferring, though, so I’m really not sure what to say or how. I could introduce this all by email and then have a meeting to talk about more logistics?

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I would not worry about offending your academic advisor. They are not going to take this personally. Your reason to want to transfer is sensible. I think that you should talk to them about this as soon as your can – today if you can arrange it.

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Based on your desire to become a professor, you should consider your current connections’ / mentors’ ability to offer you employment as an instructor, etc.

Would this opportunity be harmed, in your opinion, if I were to pursue French at another university?

If you leave your current school, wouldn’t you lose your connections ?

My approach would be to seek advice from your current supporters (especially the dept. head & the former head of the dept.) about how you can be accommodated while remaining at your present university.

Arabic & Spanish are attractive to employers; not sure about French. Spanish & Portuguese make a great combination in the real world.

My thought is that opportunities to study French should be plentiful. You just need to be creative / resourceful based on your situation.

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Thanks for your post. I see your viewpoint. I may not be able to major in French at my current university, but I can still study it (study abroad, etc.). It may be best to stay on the path with Arabic-- the passion is not there but it will provide job opportunities along with the connections I have.

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Are you unable to pursue Arabic, Spanish or other languages at college 2? Is your long term goal to be a French professor or an Arabic professor? I agree the connections you have are useful but you’ve been at college 1 for less than one semester….are you concerned you won’t be able to foster similar relationships at college 2 over the next 3+ years?