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should i transfer? if so, where?

ktstransferktstransfer 0 replies1 threads New Member
I'm a freshman about to enter my second semester at a large state school where I received a full ride. I was waitlisted at my top choice schools senior year (Bowdoin, Vassar, Amherst, etc.). I had a couple of acceptances at other schools, but decided to attend the state school due to the full ride (tuition, room and board, food, money for books, everything).

I had a rough first semester. On paper, everything is good. I have a job working with the university photographer which I will probably keep for the next three years (if i stay). My boyfriend of over a year attends this school. I love my roommate and I've had really great professors so far. And obviously, I'm going to graduate debt-free.

However, I'm not happy. The school is so much bigger than what I wanted and I feel like I don't belong here. I'm not really into parties, and the school is in a very rural area so there's not much to do. I've had trouble making friends or finding people that are interested in the same things I am. Ultimately, I just feel like this school isn't for me, despite my best efforts to try to get involve (I've joined clubs, have a job, go to events, etc.).

I'm going to send in some transfer applications just to see if I have any other options. However, I'm not sure if it's worth transferring, and I don't even know where I want to go. Considering applying to Barnard, Brown, and Hamilton (my grandpa taught there and my dad and uncle attended) but not really sure where else (and don't know how much of a chance I have for those schools)...

Ended first semester with a 4.0 GPA. Graduated high school #2 in my class, 1540 SAT, lots of EC + a job. Will be applying for financial aid.

Would love any advice on my situation or schools where I should consider applying. I want a school with a strong English problem, smaller than my current school (ideally <10,000), close to a city. More of a liberal, artsy feel than my current school. Do you think it will get better at my current school if I just keep trying to put more effort in?
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Replies to: should i transfer? if so, where?

  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    edited January 17
    For ideas for colleges to consider, these articles, though oriented partly toward creative writing programs, also describe literature department offerings in general across a range of schools:

    https://contently.net/2014/11/06/resources/tools/training/10-best-colleges-creative-writers/

    https://www.flavorwire.com/409437/the-25-most-literary-colleges-in-america

    If you depend on cities for entertainment, then Barnard, in particular, or Brown would make sense for you. I also recommend that you reapply to Vassar.
    edited January 17
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  • 1volleyer1volleyer 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Similarly, I have a question about transfer. Is it a good strategy to attend a school for the 1st year (on full merit scholarship), then transfer to one's top choice schools (Ivies, top liberal arts schools, and top 15 schools nationally) in the second year? Will this work? What are the risks? Thanks!
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  • nyctolatoctnyctolatoct 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi, I'm sorry you're not happy with your current school. As a transfer student myself who's gone through a similar experience, I would say definitely try to make a change if you know in your gut it's not right. Just having some more options can make you feel better so applying to some other schools is definitely great! Maybe look at some more of the NESCACS if you want to stay in the Northeast? Also maybe try to apply again for some schools you were waitlisted at, as transfer acceptance rates can sometimes be a lot nicer :) Best of luck!!
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6006 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I will admit that from your post I do not see a reason to transfer.

    One very important issue here is your budget. It is a HUGE advantage to graduate from university with no debt. Recent university grads very frequently barely make enough money to live on. If you also have debt, then you are likely to graduate and either need some help from your parents, or you may need to live with your parents in order to save enough money to just get by. Living with parents of course would severely limit where you can get a job after graduation.

    One thing about large universities is that they have a very wide range of people. There are people like you there. If you are quiet and do not like loud parties, then it might be a bit more difficult finding people like you, but they are there. One idea is to get involved in clubs and activities that are of interest to you. There might be an outing club or a games or chess club. These clubs will have people who are different from the people that you find at parties. If you try one club and don't like it, then try another club. If you still don't like it, try a third. Get involved in inter-mural athletics. Your people are there somewhere.

    You mentioned Bowdoin and Amherst College, which happen to be two schools that we considered. For us the NPC results were "unfortunate" for both schools. These are very good colleges. However, they are in small towns. I love Brunswick, but it is not clear to me that there is all that much for a college student to do there that you couldn't do in your current location. Amherst is also a small town, although there is at least U.Mass nearby but I don't see how this will create more to do than there is at your current school.

    One thing that put me off a bit at Bowdoin was the mention of how they are "prestigious". At least in my family we are into being top students and getting straight A's. We are into getting things done. We are not into being stuffy about it. I suppose that the small New England LACs have to talk about "prestige" because how else would they justify their cost. However, you can get a great education at a very wide range of universities. The people that I have met who have literally changed the world never ever talked about "prestige". They were too busy getting their job done. Some of these graduated from MIT or Stanford. Some graduated from U.Mass Amherst or Rutgers or one of the IIT's or Toronto. They all work together and no one cares where anyone got their degrees. They care what people are capable of accomplishing.

    One thing that can help you do well after graduation is to get involved in research activities and/or internships and/or coop programs while you are an undergraduate student. At a top ranked school the competition for these will be intense. If you are at a school where you are able to stand out as one of the top students, this can help you to get these opportunities.

    To me you are looking at two large risks if you transfer. One is that you will run up debt that you will have to pay off in the future. The other is that you will transfer somewhere and discover that you do not like it. You also will be competing for research opportunities with students who have been at the school a year longer than you have, and who therefore already know their professors. To me an approach which is more likely to work is to work hard to get the most of your education where you are.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9929 replies538 threads Senior Member
    I’m not seeing a big issue here. You attend for free, have a BF there, like your roommate, have a cool job that you intend to keep, and you like your professors. You’ve been there for one semester, and you are not fully immersed in college life yet. You need to give it time. Your people are there. You just need to find them. Please read this: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/2016222-to-those-who-feel-lonely-homesick-friendless-think-they-chose-the-wrong-school-etc-p1.html
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