The college application process is such a rush — after researching your perfect university, you try to kill it on the SATs and after applying, waiting for your acceptance letters is such a tense time. But, sometimes something unexpected happens — after a summer of prep, you get to college, and just have a weird feeling about the whole thing. While it definitely takes some time to adjust, there are some signs that you should transfer to a new college. While you were initially persuaded by the colorful brochures and the campus visit, you had no clue that you'd end up feeling a little out of place, or even worse, studying with some bottom-of-the-barrel professors.
There's no shame in transferring. Colleges are like a relationship — sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. The difference is, you're not paying a ton of money to continue on with a sub-par boyfriend. College is pretty expensive, and if you start to resent going to classes, you're throwing time and money away when you could end up being much happier elsewhere.
If you're on the fence as to whether you should stay or go, here are a few signs that your tuition money might be better spent elsewhere.
1. You haven't connected with anyone yet.
It's hard to try and form lifelong bonds within the first semester, but you haven't even found someone you'd be willing to grab a slice of pizza with. College is more than the fellow students, but if you've tried really hard to make friends, and just don't click with anyone, it's definitely a sign that perhaps you were meant to go elsewhere. But one thing does need to be mentioned — you really need to give it your all to make connections. If you're naturally an introvert (and there's nothing wrong with that) or set up a shield that doesn't let others in, things won't change at a different college.
2. You're in your room every weekend.
You explored a bit during your first week, but... there wasn't much to explore. For some reason, the campus seemed much more exciting when you took your tour. You feel safest in your dorm room, especially when your roommate is out and about. Your campus should be your home, and you should feel enthusiastic about exploring it, and finding new places to hang out during your downtime. If that seems like a struggle, it's definitely a sign that you're just not in love with the place.
3. You feel uncomfortable approaching your professors.
A great professor can be life-changing. A bad professor? Well, they can make you feel terrible about yourself and your own capabilities. Everyone has a less-than-ideal professor every once in awhile — there's a good chance you didn't see eye-to-eye with a few of your high school teachers, as well. But if you can't find one professor that makes you excited about learning, and inspires you to take the other classes they're offering, it can be really hard to enjoy your studies. Having a full semester of different teachers (and different subjects, if you're taking a bunch of gen-eds) will give you a great sample of the type of people your college usually employs. If they all make you feel uncomfortable, that's a bad sign.
4. You're interested in another major, and it's not available at your current school.
When you sent in your application, you were all about anthropology. And luckily, the college you decided to attend had a fascinating program. But hey, not all 18-year-olds (or uh, 20 and 30-year-olds) are prepared to make the "What do you want to be when you grow up" decision upon application time. Perhaps you took some classes and realized that you hated anthropology. Now what?
While the social aspect of college is incredibly important, obviously the main focus should be your courses. And if your interests align more with a program that another college offers, it definitely makes sense to make the switch.
5. You're not ready to be so long distant.
There's a good chance you're at least around 45 minutes from home — but there's also a good chance that you might be states away. You might need to take a plane to get home. And while it seemed like a good idea at the time (since when you were in high school, you constantly dreamed of being far, far away), it's way harder to manage when it's a reality. If the long distance is just too much, and you find yourself constantly asking your parents to come up and visit to keep you company, you'd benefit way more from a college that's a little bit closer to home. For the record, there's no shame in this — it's not really an "I need my mommy" moment. It's more so a longing for a bit more familiarity.
6. It's just not fun for you.
College is supposed to be both challenging and fun. But if you're not having fun, even in organizations that are supposed to be fun, that's a little worrisome. Again, remember that college is what you make of it. If you're not openly looking for activities that you'd enjoy, they won't miraculously find you. But if you've joined up, tried hard, and still find no joy in college life? This campus just isn't your best match.
7. With this coursework, you're just not giving it your all.
If you find the material boring, you're more than likely going to half-ass it. It's like pulling a Jess Mariano on Gilmore Girls — while you're smart and can definitely handle the coursework, it bores you so much to actually get stuff done and hand it in on time. If you're intelligent and capable (which, duh — of course you are) but find that your grades are taking a nosedive, you might want to get out of there and find classes somewhere else before your college transcript takes a major hit.
8. You look forward to breaks way more than the average student.
Winter break isn't just the time to hang out with family, get some sweet presents, and catch up with your hometown — for you, it's your time to be truly free. College should feel pretty freeing by itself, but if you've been equating college to some sort of prison, you're doing it all wrong.
If you realized that you missed absolutely nothing about college during your break (or even felt like you were in the midst of a breakdown when you realized it was time to go back), you need to know that this feeling isn't totally natural. Look into other colleges, or maybe get some recommendations from your friends who attend different universities, and plan a successful transfer.
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