Okay, so things didn’t exactly work out at your first school.
Maybe the scholarship your original college promised you fell through, or you broke up with the significant other whom you ventured off to college with and you decided you need a fresh start. Maybe you realized you want to study a major that isn’t offered at your current school. Perhaps you simply decided that your university just wasn’t the right fit for you. No matter the reason, you knew it was time for a change and decided to transfer.
You might be anxious about what you’ll be walking into come spring semester. Transferring mid-year can seem daunting, but it’s no harder than anything you went throughyour first semester of college. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get acquainted with your new school!
1. Do some digging
If you’re transferring to this new college, chances are you already have some knowledge of the school and know a little about the area. Nonetheless, do a little more research! Dig around your school’s website for the latest news and updates. Did your new school win any major games last semester? Did the school have any interesting speakers come to campus?
Be sure to brush up on fun events happening around your new college town as well. Is there a 5K you want to participate in? What bands are playing close to campus in the spring? Is there a food tour downtown you might want to check out? These are some talking points that could come up in conversation with your new classmates!
2. Connect with someone on campus
If you’ll be living on campus, get to know your roommate and take the time to say hello to your neighbors.
“Living in the dorms made it a lot easier to meet new people and make friends,” says Joy, a junior who transferred from El Camino Community College in southern California to a school in Washington, D.C. “I had almost automatic friends in my roommates, and their friends became my friends and vice versa.”
If you were in a sorority, see if the same organization is active on your new campus. If so, be sure to reach out to some of the sisters at your new school to see how you can get involved. If you don’t know anyone on campus, see if your school has a Facebook page or an on-campus meet-and-greet event for incoming transfer students.
“Try out some of the transfer activities that the school has planned,” says Farrin, who transferred in the middle of her sophomore year to American University. “[These events] might sound silly, but you never know who you'll meet along the way.”
3. Get involved
Join a few clubs! Clubs are a great way to meet people, and there’s sure to be a club that will meet your interests (trust us on that one). Sure, the fall semester is over, but that doesn’t mean clubs are closed off to welcoming new members.
“Get involved in different activities,” Joy says. “It is hard to get involved and excited about a new school when you have spent a year or two at another college. Taking part in school activities…can really make a difference.”
If you’re not interested in clubs, spend some time volunteering for a philanthropy that has a chapter on campus, like Relay for Life. Don’t hesitate to approach the organization’s leaders and members if they put out a table on the quad.
Farrin researched clubs, organizations and different activities that her new school had to offer, and, although she says she didn’t fully intend to join a sorority at first, she went through recruitment to meet people along the way. She ending up joining Alpha Epsilon Phi and says she could not have asked for a better transfer experience.
“I was welcomed instantly by such an amazing group of women who have become my best friends and shaped my entire experience,” Farrin says. “I recommend trying out Greek life to any transfer student. Everyone is in the same boat as you, trying to find a comfortable place to have fun and make friends.”
4. Put down your cell phone
Instead of texting before class, chat with people around you. Don’t be afraid to tell a classmate that you’re a newcomer, collegiettes! See if he or she has had the professor before, what his or her major is and why he or she is taking the class. You just might find a friend and a study buddy at the same time!
“Meet as many people as possible, take opportunities you wouldn't necessarily do and be open-minded,” Farrin says. “Do everything you can to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.”
5. Above all: don’t stress
Being a new face in a new place might seem overwhelming, but don’t forget that you’re not alone. Chances are there’s another mid-year transfer struggling to find his or her place at this new school as well. If you don’t find your niche in the first few weeks, don’t fret! College is all about letting things happen naturally and building relationships over time.
“It's not an easy thing to switch colleges,” says Taylor, a sophomore who transferred to Trinity Baptist College. “But it is really worth it in the end if you feel like it's the college you should be at. Don't let the little problems you will run into get to you…Once you get past the little problems, I promise it gets way easier.”
Instead of approaching your first semester at your new school worried about the transition, be excited about the fact that you’re starting fresh, making new friends and enjoying new experiences along the way!