So you’ve made it to college! You’ve gotten into the groove, taken your first exams, held midnight study sessions. You might have even made some friends and good memories. However, sometimes you might realize later on that you might not be in the right place for you.

Maybe your degree program isn’t what you thought it would be. Maybe you don’t particularly like your department’s professors. Or, maybe it’s because you don’t like the school’s vibes now that you live there. Whatever the reason, if you feel like you need to move on, your feelings are valid.

5 Things to Consider Before Transferring Universities

transferring universities

Transferring universities isn’t quite a breeze, however. There are documents to sign and send, credits to transfer, and a lot of communication is necessary. There are even some elements of transferring universities that might not come to mind that are extremely important for a smooth transition. To make sure you’re making the most of your college switch, here are some things you should know.

1. Don’t Transfer without Visiting First

You can’t sign part of your life away without touring where you’ll be living — or at least spending most of your time. It’s necessary to visit the campus you’ll be attending before finalizing your decision. Being able to walk around the place and see all the facilities with your own eyes really makes a difference.

Go ahead and schedule a campus tour before you make any final decisions. Pictures and videos can’t show you everything. Also, you’ll also be able to talk with people on campus, like students and faculty. You might even be able to try food in the dining hall or peruse the library. This way, you’ll get a good feel for the place and know what to expect.

2. Sometimes Classes Don’t Transfer

This one you might not be too happy to hear, but it’s a necessary evil to know. Not all institutions transfer class credits equally. What might be accepted as an ‘Intro to Literature Class’ at one school might not be considered valid at another. This is because each school has different standards for their classes. One class might not contain all the information that another school’s class has, and you’d be required to repeat the subject.

To make sure your hard work is being recognized, you’ll want to talk to an adviser at your potential new school. Find out how many of your credits will transfer and how many will not. Sometimes everything transfers, and you’re off smooth sailing. But when some credits don’t transfer, make sure you weigh the pros and cons. Is making up the credits worth it to you? If not, don’t pick that school.

3. It Might Take a While to Adjust

Especially if you live on campus, going to a new school can take some adjusting. You probably had already settled into your first school, and now you’ll have to do it all again. That can be a scary part of the transfer process, but it can be worth it. Just make sure you’re willing to make that sacrifice before transferring universities.

It’s kind of like being a freshman all over again. You’ll have to navigate new halls, dorms, and different professors. The process might take a little while for you to get comfortable with the new atmosphere, but that happens everywhere. Don’t let this period discourage you, instead use it to remind yourself that this is for the better.

4. Universities Have Different Expectations

It was mentioned above that some institutions don’t always transfer classes due to different requirements for credits. This doesn’t only apply to credits, though. Each college has their own expectations for students and their work. What might have been an A at one school could be a B at another. This is because of different faculty and university standards.

If you’re thinking about transferring from a public to a private university, for example, some things might change. Universities that have higher admission criteria generally also have high educational standards. These professors will probably grade your assignments more harshly. Some universities even have different grading scales. Consider this when choosing where you’ll transfer, otherwise it might come back to punish you later.

5. Extracurriculars Offered Could Be Different

If you like to have social networks outside the classroom, make sure you know the activities offered at your new potential school. They might not have the particular kind of clubs or organizations that you’re interested in. You’ll need to decide if this is a deal breaker or not because it could affect your social life.

Sometimes college students rely on clubs or sports for making friends at school. Making friends in class or in the dormitory halls isn’t always easy, especially as a transfer student. You won’t have the same freshman orientation class to get to know new people. If you value connections, make sure there’s something at your new school that you’ll enjoy.

Remember Change is Sometimes Necessary

You might be on the fence about transferring universities. If you’re questioning staying where you are that intensely, isn’t that a sign in itself? If you’re unhappy where you are or are regretting your degree program, it’s okay to switch things up. Don’t let anyone make you feel like it’s the wrong thing to do if you know it’s right.

Additionally, once you let yourself take that step, remember that every university is different. Like mentioned above, every school has its own requirements, expectations, and atmosphere. The culture on one campus can be extremely different compared to another. Each school has its own opportunities, too. What you can get from one place might not exist at another.

These are all the aspects you’ll have to weigh before choosing where to transfer. Make a pros and cons list, and take your time deciding. Remember it’s up to you, so go where you want. Take that first step toward having the best college experience possible.