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Dislike College? You Have Options!

Question: I am a freshman in college right now. I chose the school I am attending because I wanted to go to a big school in another part of the country for a new experience. I thought I would love this school, but it turns out that I am really unhappy here. Is it possible for me to transfer this year or do I have to wait until next year? Should I go to community college first? I really don’t want to stay here any longer than I need to.


Answer: People often believe that college is made up of four magical and blissful years. The reality is that school is hard and adjusting to a new environment can be even harder.  So my first piece of advice to you is that what you are feeling is something that most college students feel at some point during their freshman year. For many, that feeling goes away usually after the December break. Before you make the decision to leave school, try to pinpoint what you wish was different:


1- Are you homesick and miss your family and the lifestyle you had last year?

2- How are the academics? Do you feel that your classes are challenging and interesting? Is your course load to difficult or too easy? Are the classes too big and impersonal?

3- Do you feel like you have made some solid friendships?

4- Have you started to get involved in some extracurricular activities or organizations on campus?


Building relationships can be the hardest thing to do in a new environment but also the one act that can help you feel like you are part of a community. Try to get to know your professors, classmates, roommates, and dorm mates. Get involved in activities you love or want to explore. The easiest way to connect with others is through shared interests.


If you are absolutely positively sure that you cannot stay at this school, there are certainly options. Few schools give the option of a Sophomore Transfer. This means that you apply to transfer this year to then begin in the Fall of your Sophomore Year. In these cases, the colleges will likely want to see your high school transcripts and test scores since you will only have one semester or quarter of college grades to show. Other schools only give the option of Junior Transfers. This means that you apply in the Fall or Spring of your sophomore year and begin at the new school in Fall of your Junior year.  This would mean that you would need to either stay on campus at your current school for the next year and a half or transfer to a community college for that time.


And there is one slightly riskier option. You can decide to drop your current courses. If you do that, you can then apply as a freshman applicant. In this case, you should contact the school you would like to attend and ask for an admissions officer’s best advice. If it is a school you were previously admitted to, that is a good sign but definitely not a guarantee that you will get in this year. Do not rely on where you were accepted previously since admissions changes every year. The risk involved here is that if you drop your courses and you are not admitted as a freshman, you will likely want to transfer two years down the road. The courses you are taking now can help you to fulfill some of the transfer requirements. Dropping the courses mean that you will need to retake them. 


Think hard about why you want to leave your school. If you are willing to ride it out for the remainder of the year, you will have given yourself the best opportunity to get adjusted. If there is some deeper issue happening and you need to get out, research your options. You are not stuck at any one school. But you want to be wise about your move. Bouncing from one school to another may set off some red flags. Making one move can signal maturity. Making two or more may mean that you are inflexible.


Remember that college is going to be filled with ups and downs no matter which school you attend.


All the best, 

Team Insight 

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