Transfer Student Offers Advice for School Transition

Photo Courtesy of Bradley Gordon, Flickr Creative Commons

Whether college students transfer to a new school because they did not like their previous school or are finished at a community college, everyone hopes that the switch will be easy. For some transfer college students, it is. Many students fit in right away, meet great people and get involved; but for others, transitioning into a new learning and social environment—like a college or university campus—can be quite intimidating.

“Coming to a four-year school makes me want to get involved with different activities. I expected to join as many things as possible, and finally figure out what my real interests were,” said Meagan Blanco, a recent transfer student from Bergen County Community College. “But when it came time to exploring the school and finding something to do, I got so overwhelmed by everything they had, it kind of put me off from joining. I couldn’t figure out how to juggle the new things I’d be getting involved along with things I was already apart of.” 

Like Blanco suggests, one problem that transfer students may face is becoming active in the school’s community. 

As a recent transfer student myself, this is something I felt last semester after coming to Ramapo. I was excited to join different clubs and organizations, but when it came down to taking on classes, as well as transitioning into the new school, it was much harder to handle than anticipated.

To get past the initial shock and anxiety that came from trying to balance my time during my first semester at Ramapo, I decided to proactively do things to make my transition easier. I analyzed my schedule from classes to work to the free time I was willing to devote to extracurriculars. This way, I was not allowing myself to get too stressed over everything that I wanted to accomplish. I thought back to the activities I would have liked to have been able to participate in at my previous school and inquired about Ramapo’s own services.

It also helped me to branch out and be a part of groups that I would not have joined before my time at this new institution.

One prevalent issue many transfer students face when coming to a new school is making friends. Stephanie Castano, a senior transfer at Ramapo, spoke about transferring to Ramapo last semester and her experience with dorming this year. 

“Although the girls that I dormed with were very welcoming, they had been here since freshman year so they had their groups of friends and activities already set,” said Castano. “Maybe it would have been better to dorm as a freshman early on and get a feel for it with people who were new to it as well.”

Making friends at a later stage in school may be harder because new college students do not have a history with students who attended the institution as freshmen. However, if you are an older student transferring into a new school and finding it difficult to meet new people, think about your interests. Most of the time, junior and senior students are taking classes specifically for their major, so it becomes easier for students to talk to their peers in those classes.

Transfer students are bound to find people with a similar major, and from that point on, you can bond and learn more about each other. It is always more comforting knowing that other students have similar interests to your own, so making the attempt to get to know your classmates is great when coming to a new school.

Getting to know your peers through the classes you take and the clubs you join is one of the best ways to get past that. Using these resources can almost guarantee you a much better experience at your new school.