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  • Three college women posing in front of a white brick wall.

    Tips for Transfer Students

    Emilie Conners

    Just a few months after beginning my freshman year of college, I made the decision to transfer schools. Some people transfer early on and others, much later. Regardless of when you do, it can be overwhelming. I know the feeling of relief that comes with finally deciding to transfer, however, I also know the nervous more-like-bees than butterflies feeling in your stomach that you also get when you finally get to that new campus. Here are some tips that I learned from my transfer experience as well as some things that I wish someone would have told me when I transferred. Also, if you are still considering whether or not to transfer, these tips might also help you make that decision (coming from someone who went back and forth for months before deciding).

    Go to the Events

    I know the feeling that may give you, I also dreaded being the new transfer student at campus events – but I promise it’s worth it. It’s so much better to try and know what clubs or groups are a fit (or not a fit for you) rather than wait until senior to realize there’s a group you should have joined much earlier on. Going to these campus/club events will help you meet more people and make connections on campus – the sooner you do this, the sooner you get adjusted to your new environment.

    Reach Out to Acquaintances

    It does really help to know a few students who are already adjusted to campus as you transfer. When I transferred schools, I realized while scrolling on Instagram one day that a girl I worked with at a restaurant while I was in high school went to the school I was transferring to. I hesitated but eventually decided to reach out to her via DM to see if she wanted to get lunch sometime. The very next semester, her and her twin sister became my roommates and my best friends. We still live together today, and I can’t imagine my college experience without them. So, take the shot and reach out even if you feel nervous!

    Don’t Pass Up Opportunities

    Many of the groups I’ve joined and positions I’ve held while at my transfer school are the result of me applying for positions or going to events that I almost didn’t do. Looking back now, I’m so extremely grateful that I decided to take on these opportunities because they’ve contributed so heavily to my experience. Check your school email, talk to your professors and see what ways you can get involved – you will not regret it.

    Transferring can be overwhelming but it’s so worth it in the end. Be sure to put yourself out there and take on opportunities, you never know where they might lead you to. If you’re still considering whether or not to transfer schools, I’d advise you to picture yourself at your current school in the following semester – are you happy? Has anything from your current circumstances changed? (Different roommates, new major, etc.) If not, and if you’re struggling to find reasons to stay, transferring is not a bad idea. Everyone’s college experience is different and no one’s is perfect. Always remember to do what is going to be best for you!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 


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    An ultimate guide for transferring to another college

    Ankita Chittiprolu

    You didn’t get into your dream school when you were a senior in high school… now what? Don’t fret! You still have the option to transfer in! After doing so myself, I discovered 6 things I wish I knew beforehand. If you are thinking about transferring, these will help you get off to a good start!

    1. Carefully research the program and school you are interested in. Look through the curriculum and major requirements. Is it something you still want to pursue? It is important to make sure you will enjoy what you are learning. You should also be cognizant of post-graduation options. Will this major help you to achieve your goals?
    2. Contact an advisor in the school/department. Most advisors have an abundance of information and will give you great tips for transfers! Personally, my advisor told me a rough acceptance rate for the program I was applying into. This was information that was not available anywhere online. Not only did this increase my confidence in getting in, I was more aware of the program after hearing about how classes are run and where more of the graduates of this program/school end up.
    3. Writing your essays for a transfer application takes time. Most schools that you transfer into will ask for personal statements. After writing a rough draft, ask your English major friends or your writing class professor to read through your essay ahead of time. These professors have doctorate degrees in English/Writing and are more than capable of judging your essays. (Tip: Ask them to “destroy” your essay).
    4. Use a credit transfer website to see which courses will transfer. Don’t take classes at your current college if you know they won’t transfer to your desired transfer college. You do not want to retake them. Instead, take an alternative class that will transfer or is for fun. You want to save major-specific classes to take at the desired college you are applying into. The more university- specialized courses may not transfer into equivalent credits. I took Honors General Chemistry and it did not transfer to my desired school, so I had to submit additional material in order to get credit.
    5. Get close with your professors! College professors see thousands of students some days. Go to office hours, send emails, and actively participate in class. In the end, you can ask for recommendations! Most applications would love to see a recommendation from a professor. It will help them get multiple perspectives of you.
    6. Lastly, visit the campus and see if you like the feel. DO NOT simply transfer to a college because of its prestige and “name”. Consider everything in a transfer such as weather, your financial situation, and education quality the school provides. Looking into specific things you enjoy is important. I really like research, so I was looking for a school with well-based research programs for their students. This was one of the main factors that led me to transfer into the University of Michigan. Talk to current students in the major/program you wish to transfer into; they will provide a great perspective of how they feel as current students.

    Take time and research the place you desire to attend. Rushing into decisions will not help in the future!

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    Advice for new students or transfer students

    Alex Mendoza

    Starting a new semester at a new school can be overwhelming for both incoming freshmen and transfer students. New systems and new academic expectations can be tricky to navigate. Click the link below to watch my vlog with great advice to help you get off to a great start of the semester!


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    Pre-Med Students: 3 tips for a successful undergraduate experience

    Mayur Bhakta

    The path to medical school can be grueling. With the added process of transferring from a community college to a four-year institution, it can become further complicated. I would like to share three tips to help pre-med students, especially transfer students, to have a successful undergraduate experience while advancing towards their goal of attending medical school.

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    Community college students: Tips on deciding where to transfer

    Albert Hernandez

    Congratulations! You got accepted to transfer to some of your favorite schools. Your hard work and dedication in high school and community college has separated you from all the other applicants and now all these remarkable universities want to welcome you into their campuses. However, now you face a new issue: how are you supposed to know where to go? You can’t attend two schools in different corners of the country, so you must choose between them. Before we dig in into this topic, let me give some quick advice: Do not select your school only for its name. Now that we are clear in what not to do, here are some elements that might help you make an informed decision. 


    Cost of education has skyrocketed during the last decades drowning many graduates into student loans for years. If you are eligible for financial aid, make sure to take a deep look into your financial package. Analyze how much money each school is offering you in grants, loans, and work study in order to compare them to their cost of attendance. Remember that if you are planning on leaving your current town, you will need to account not only for tuition and fees, but also for food, housing, and transportation. When you are doing this analysis, do not assume that your in-state school is your best option because it seems cheaper. For many of my friends and I, out-of-state institutions offered us a remarkably better package of grants than what our in-state school did.


    Let’s say that you are fortunate enough that your family can afford any institution you want to transfer to or more than one school is offering you a full ride. If you are in this selective group, you might want to consider weather as part of your decision. Let’s say that you are from a northern state and you are considering moving to South Florida. Are you sure you want to live your next couple of years in a never-ending summer? Or what if it is the other way around? If you are originally from Florida and all you have experienced is summer, are you willing to transfer to a state like Michigan or Wisconsin where it can easily snow for five months? You need to be happy where you are at and the weather can play a big part in that. 


    Weather and money aren’t breaking the tie? Base your decision on what will make you happier. I know it can be hard to know what school will actually make you feel more welcomed and happier, but you can start by asking yourself the following questions. If you transfer to either of your choices, will you go alone or is there a friend that might go with you? Transferring with someone you know that can support you and help you in this new transition can make a huge difference. How is the student life at both schools? Make sure to do the appropriate research and see the universities’ traditions. What school resonates more with your own values? Can you visit either school and walk around town? If it is possible, try visiting both schools and pay close attention to their culture. Are they friendly and welcoming? Or do they look exhausted and mean? Being able to see these things can be a good representation of if you think you’ll be happy there and actually like going to school.

    Once again congratulations, not many students have the privilege of saying that they are having trouble picking between two or more amazing institutions that accepted them. I hope these points help you make an appropriate decision. If none of these factors broke the tie, then refer to each school’s ranking. However, just remember that for any employer, their expectations and prestige will be the same for an engineering graduate from Georgia Tech, University of Texas, or University of Michigan; or a politician graduated from Stanford, Harvard, or Georgetown. If you are on the top, one or two positions on the rankings will not matter.


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    Evolving as a ChemE

    Meghan Nguyen

    With time comes change. It is no secret that engineering has a challenging curriculum, especially Chemical Engineering (ChemE). For community college transfers, the transition can be blindsiding compared to expectations, which is exactly what happened for me. Like a rollercoaster, I was in line to begin a new ride of my life, along with other “top-notch” students. But little did I know, the journey ahead of me was going to be different than expected.

    Claiming My New Reality

    Stepping up to a four-year university was an exciting challenge for me. In the beginning, I looked forward to socializing with others who shared my STEMsation passion and occupying my downtime with extracurriculars. Once I realized what I would face, I was overwhelmed with fear and panic. My first round of tests discouraged me into second-guessing my abilities; even altering my ways of learning and studying made no change in my grades. It was like the wind kept pushing me back and I kept enduring the turbulence without time to process or recover what just happened. I went downhill fast. 

    Harnessing My Energy

    A quarter into my first semester, I hit rock-bottom. I noticed I was not my typical self and forgot what my education meant to me. My education seemingly turned into an obligation rather than enjoyment. It took some time before I knew what to do. I realized I had to begin with my mental health. There came a period where I had to let go of my unrealistic expectations and focus on myself—my goals, thoughts, actions, and reflection. Patience and time were key components to my process. For example, the most effective part of taking action was verbally encouraging myself that I need to keep moving forward, repeatedly saying “You got this Meg!” and “You can do it!” After facing numerous loops, something in me had to also change. My ultimate hope was to glide upwards and escalate from there. 

    Elevating My Dedication to My Major

    Despite the twists and turns, I was determined to show others that I was the embodiment of a slingshot effect, pulling myself backwards then shooting towards my target. With my dedication to my goals, I knew I was not going to fall easily. Struggling with one of my most challenging, weed-out courses led me to seek the help of a tutor. Utilizing my professors’ office hours also contributed to my desire to improve my education. Not only did I reach out for more help, but also found myself networking and studying with my peers in the program, especially, Chemical Engineering transfers. Along the ride, I eventually reunited with my grit and felt more like myself than before, ready and looking forward to class instead of dreading it. 

    Maintaining Consistency 

    To reach your goals, the most important elements are staying in the game and continuing to be engaged and committed. While I may have seemed on track, nothing lasts forever unless you create regularity. The only way I could secure myself from being stuck in a stand-still was recognizing that I was always going to be like a sine graph oscillating up and down periodically hitting highs and lows. So, moments when people were not around, it was up to me to utilize other forms of materials for my classes like videos, online academic sources, and textbooks. After refocusing myself to my studies and continuously taking time for my mental and physical health, by the end of the semester, I was filled with the sensation of thrill, excitement, and refreshment. 

    Educating Myself

    My professors always told me that it was up to me to decide my future—nobody was going to do it for me. The biggest lesson from my first semester at a university was taking initiative to get what I wanted from my education. I learned to be a positive coach for myself and that reaching out for help is normal; mentors and friends are constantly jumping on-board to support; and everything will work itself out.

    If you are struggling with school and feeling out of place, know that there is a way out. As long as you are willing to work hard and work on yourself, you can make it through and achieve anything you want.  I realized my potential to strive for bigger and better and not keep my hopes down because my rollercoaster is not coming to an end anytime soon. I choose to continue moving forward in my adventure, for success starts with me.


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    Transfer student transitions: Learning to balance everything under the sun (car)

    Brandt Damman

    Thumbnail Photo: Two members of Solar Car holding a windshield above the newly constructed solar car.  From left to right: Rachel Eckert, Composites Manager & Materials Engineer; Samuel Winter, Aerospace Engineer.


    A new university, a new horizon. Since last spring, I have graduated from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and transferred to Iowa State University (ISU) to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. The overall transition from a two-year college to a four-year university was thankfully uneventful; however, I would soon realize the difference in how I should manage my time and work.

    Getting Involved (Again)

    After transferring, I was unable to continue my previous club activities – as most clubs at DMACC didn’t exist at ISU. I began a quest to find new clubs and hobbies.  I ran into an old colleague who mentioned a club they were in, Solar Car. I attended the following Solar Car team meeting and joined as an electrical member. My primary task was to learn how to read circuit board schematics and aid an older member with designing a battery protection system to monitor the car’s Lithium-Ion batteries. 

    In addition to being involved with Solar Car, I was interviewed and accepted for a part-time IT Technician position on-campus within the Psychology Department. As a technician, I responded to faculty requests regarding problems with their electronic equipment. On top of both positions, I continued full-time school at ISU and began to delve into my coursework, but I failed to realize the predicament I placed myself in.  Not only would I have to choose what I enjoyed most, but I would also learn valuable lessons in time management.

    Timing Trouble

    By midterms, I began to notice my work piling up unproportionally across all three tasks.  As the semester progressed, each task became more demanding with varying expectations. The increasing expectations and workload resulted in several consequences. The two most notable and foremost consequences were my declining homework quality and diminishing amount of sleep.  In an attempt to correct my time management errors, I spent more time working late at night to catch up on homework. This not only resulted in a poorer quality of work, but it also reduced my number of hours of sleep. To top it all off, the more time I committed to work, the less time I was able to spend with my family, even during holiday breaks.

    Despite my attempts to manage all three tasks, I still deviated from my intended goals and needed to cut my losses during the last few weeks of the semester. I reduced my work on Solar Car, cut back my hours at work, and submitted the homework I could produce within the hours I allotted.  This admission helped me regain some sleep and focus for final examinations.

    Keep Moving Forward

    Taking on a job while balancing coursework and car manufacturing was a worthwhile endeavor.  This circumstance brought to light how much I have yet to comprehend regarding time management, but I also learned a great deal about different engineering majors, computer management, and a wide range of topics from my classes.  With the deviation from my goals and a poor management of time and work, I learned a few valuable lessons:

    • One, when scheduling courses and extracurricular activities, ensure that the time scheduled is rarely deviated.
    • Two, schedule everything as early as permittable.
    • Finally, while work comes first, ensure there is plenty of time for rest and relaxation

    I will undoubtedly incorporate these ideas into my schedule next semester and beyond. As the future brings a spectrum of challenges, I will continue Solar Car as an Electrical Systems Manager and remain confident no matter what the future may hold. There will always be something to look forward to as the sun rises.