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Fitting In as a Transfer Student at Your New College

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Advice for adjusting to college is abundant for new incoming freshmen. Articles, pamphlets, blogs, and entire books have been written on the topic. Most colleges and universities even hold week-long orientations every fall to help the students familiarize themselves with the campus and make new friends in the process.

But if you are a college transfer student switching from one school to another or a freshman that is starting college in January rather than August, you may feel like a fish out of water. For transfer students, it often feels like everyone else knows everything and everybody, causing feelings of frustration and loneliness.

Transfer Students Find it Tough to Connect with Others

Even the President of the United States felt out of sorts as a transfer student, claims US News and World Report. “We didn’t know people, and we were living off campus [which made it hard to connect with Columbia students]” Phil Boerner, who shared an apartment with Barack Obama during their first semester at Columbia University in New York City, reminisced to the publication.

If it seems like you’re the only transfer student on campus, chances are high that you’re not. According to the 2008 National Study of Student Engagement (NSSE), more than 40 percent of the 190,000 college seniors surveyed were transfer students. Unfortunately, the NSSE also found that transfer students are usually less engaged their peers.

Advice for Transfer Students: 7 Tips and Tricks

There’s much more to college than sitting through lectures and going to labs. If you want to get active on campus despite your transfer student status, here are several tips and tricks to take into consideration:

1. Live on campus if possible. Living on campus will put you right in the center of it all! You will most likely have a roommate or suite mates, giving you the opportunity to meet people easily. Having someone to hang out with and talk to can be a big morale booster during this somewhat difficult time.

2. Explore the campus and surrounding areas. Familiarize yourself with your new college. Once you know where all of your classes meet, find out where all of the libraries, dining facilities, and bookstores are located. Drop by the student center or activities office—there’s sure to be something going on!

3. Introduce yourself to your professors. Unless you speak up and introduce yourself, you may be just another face in the crowd.

4. Get to class early and start chatting. Introduce yourself to another early bird and strike up a conversation. Ask them what their major is, where they are from, and how they like the college. Most people like to talk about themselves, and you may wind up making a new friend!

5. Ask others for advice. Ask another student how they handled stress during their first semester.

6. Join a club or student organization.If you want to succeed as a transfer student at your new college, get involved on campus. Joining a group will help you meet people that share your interests. Intramural sports teams, fraternities and sororities, and clubs are all great ways to meet people outside of class and the dorms.

7. Meet with your advisor or counselor. Advisors and counselors can offer a wealth of information regarding your major, class schedule, and the college in general. Be sure to meet with yours as soon as possible.

Considering a College Transfer?

Are you a community college student that is planning on pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university? Are you a college freshman that is unhappy with your current college and ready to find a new school? StateUniversity.com can help! Search colleges and universities by state, college rankings, or use our University Research and Comparison Tool to compare up to four schools simultaneously.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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