Friday, June 3, 2016

Transfer Student Tips: The Before

As many of you know, I'm going to be a sophomore in college this fall starting at a new school. I will be transferring from the University of Oregon to Chapman University. I thought I'd do a few posts on the process for anyone out there who is thinking about transferring and confused about the process. I know there are people who transfer going into sophomore, junior, and even senior year, but because I am transferring into sophomore year, this will be a bit more from that perspective. There are universal tips though!

Unlike senior year, when there's a plethora of information and it seems like there's a never ending list of places to apply and a never ending hoard of people trying to help, transferring is a bit more minimal. The application part is standard and the same, but there's much less information. You don't have a college counsellor to guide you along, nor are there many statistics on transfer students at many schools. Even now that I've received my admission packets they say "Welcome Class of 2020!" I am, obviously, not the class of 2020. There will be specific transfer checklists but besides that, everything is geared to incoming freshman. This only makes sense, the majority of students do not transfer. The majority do not even apply to transfer, so information is a bit more difficult to find. Below is a list of tips and tricks that will hopefully make the process a bit easier!

1. Don't be scared to reach out
The transfer counsellor at Chapman was one of the biggest helps ever! I asked her so many questions and she was able to answer them all which made the process much easier. When I went to campus for my in person audition, I also talked to my auditor a ton! She was very friendly and happy to communicate with me and my grandma about the school and the program. It's nice to have a friend you can reach out to for help, even if it's just their job!

2. Get your recs together
Honest to goodness I still get anxiety attacks if I think too much about my recommendation letter process. I had to get letters for the Common Application as well as my separate theatre applications so I'm sure my process was a bit more strenuous but seriously I had to jump through some hoops to make it all work. Everything got in by the deadlines but just barely! So have a person you know will write you a good letter and then have backups and ask them ASAP! Give them all the information you have and you'll be good to go.

3. Start early
Everyone is a little bit different, but starting as soon as you think you might want to transfer will help a ton. If you decide not to transfer you can always pull your applications or decline an offer, but you can't go back and apply after the deadline is over. Starting early will save tons of stress and leave your mind at ease knowing you have options.

4. Know what you want
One of my biggest fears is that I will transfer and not like it and will have made a mistake. Obviously that is always a possibility, but to avoid a "mistake" as much as possible, know what you don't like about your current school and know what you are looking for. Is it the people? Your major? The location? The environment? Any reason is justified, just make sure you know why you don't like your current school or why somewhere else is better. Don't just apply to Harvard because it's an Ivy. Apply to Harvard because of their great this or that program or because of their awesome architecture or because you know the people are super nice! Idealistic, but you get it.

5. Write down everything
I have so many lists. So. Many. Lists. But gosh dangit if they didn't help me. Names, emails, addresses, deadlines, everything.

6. Plan, plan, plan
Personally, it is important to me to graduate in four years. Because I plan on double majoring and transferring, this suddenly seemed like an unattainable goal. Still, I wanted to make sure I could graduate as close to on time as possible.

7. College Confidential
It sounds crazy and slightly sleazy because so much of college confidential is just parents gossiping about the schools their child is applying to but some of it is super useful and it's a great community to talk to if you're unsure about some things! Lots of people also start "Such and such university applicants of 2016" or "Such and such university admits of 2016" you get the picture.

8. Keep your grades up
Unfortunately, though freshman year is experimental and we hear about everyone failing at least one class their first semester, we don't get to do that. We don't get to party every night in our freedom from home and slack off and miss class. We're still trying to get in somewhere. So buckle down and get it over with. Your next year will be so much more worth it, I promise.

9. Make a checklist
Because your teachers and administration, your parents are peers are not longer nagging at you about the process, it is all up to you. I was terrified I was going to forget to submit materials. Because of this, I wrote down the address of each admissions department at each school I was applying to for reference as well as all of the materials that each school needed. Luckily, most schools will be on the Common Application, they all were for me, which makes things more condensed and easier to access. If that isn't the case for you, this step is even more important. Put deadlines in your calendar and have an alert to remind you a week or more before they're due. This will be your lifesaver.

10. This is not high school
You don't have to apply to 26 schools like you did in high school. Oh that was just me? Okay let me rephrase that. You don't have to apply to multiple schools like you did in high school. You can apply to just one and completely focus on that application. On the flip side, though most people who only apply to one college know that that's where they want to go, but who knows, maybe you did that too. In that case, maybe apply to a few more colleges. We've been through this before. Do things differently than you did the first time around, fix your mistakes, modify your approaches, and go!

11. Be patient
I know this is nerve wracking. I know for some of us this feels like our last chance, our last out, and that we have to get in somewhere. If this is truly what you want and what you need, you will get in somewhere. Put as much effort and time into these applications as you can and you will succeed. I applied to some ambitious schools, schools I wouldn't have gotten into my senior year, and here I am getting into them.

I hope you liked these! Even if you have no plans on transferring, I hope they offered some insight into the world of a transfer. I'm so honored Chapman and Chapman's School of Performing Arts decided to welcome me into their community and I am so so thankful. I'll be posting a follow up blog post after I start school on tips and tricks as a transfer student starting at a new school, making new friends, and getting into the groove of things as an upperclassman!

No comments:

Post a Comment