A typical college experience in my mind was choosing a university, staying for four years, and obtaining a degree. I had quite the opposite experience when I transferred universities not once, but twice!
In the fall of 2014, I packed my bags for an eight hour road trip to my new home, the University of Delaware. Coming from a small town in New York, this massive campus flooded with 20,000 undergraduate students turned out to be a more difficult transition than imagined. At Delaware, my life was totally different: I was no longer figure skating (an activity that took up a majority of my time in high school) and I could not find groups or activities that sparked my interest. I became extremely ill during my time at Delaware and decided to take a medical leave of absence and transfer to a community college in Queensbury, New York.
While at community college, I had some tough decisions to make. I needed to choose if I wanted to go back to the University of Delaware and adjust to the lifestyle there, or transfer and start all over again. The decision was not easy. The transfer application process is much more difficult as your “guidance counselors” from high school are not submitting or communicating with the universities on your behalf. Every day I had to reach out to different organizations and admission offices to send transcripts, recommendation letters, and other materials required by the college. The biggest source of help for me was getting in contact with university staff in the admissions office to ask questions or make sure that all necessary materials were received.
Admission for transfer students comes after the acceptance of the freshman class at a university, which meant I had to wait for what felt like a lifetime. In May 2015, I received admission to Boston University (BU) and found my actual home. Although transferring to community college and then to BU was intimidating and at times tedious, transferring to Boston University was the best decision I ever made.
The first semester as a transfer student is not easy and sometimes it can feel like you are a freshman all over again. When you first arrive on campus the situations you are put in can be out of your comfort zone, but what helped me the most was to introduce myself to everyone and to get involved. I started figure skating again from which I found my core group of friends, but I also joined clubs like the International Affairs Association and held an on-campus job as a teaching assistant in the business school. My best advice for a transfer student is to figure out what you like about a university whether it be the city life, a big football team, a top ranked engineering program, or cultural clubs. The campus life of Boston University is vastly different from that of the University of Delaware as Boston University’s campus located in the heart of downtown Boston, but that is my favorite part about the university! While attending a college with a prestigious name may seem appealing, the university lifestyle is the most important thing you need to like in any college experience. Every university has it’s own unique style and finding a style that fits your personality is going to make for an unforgettable undergraduate experience. Don’t be afraid to change your situation if you are unhappy or are looking for something different. When one door closes, another one will always open. Go Terriers!
An intern at the Fulbright Commission in Brussels, Kendall Grace is a rising senior at Boston University majoring in International Relations with a focus in Security Studies and Foreign Policy. The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the views of the EducationUSA Advising Center or of the U.S. Department of State.