Transferring to a new university brings with it a wave of emotions and responsibilities. Each school operates differently, has different procedures, and generally has a culture all it’s own. Navigating through the process of transferring can be a bit overwhelming; however, you can help ease that transition by keeping an eye out for these 10 common mistakes that transfer students sometimes make.

Some of these happen at the beginning of the process and some of these happen as the semester progresses. Do yourself a favor and start out strong by preparing for these potential roadblocks before they become an issue. Transferring is filled with amazing experiences so don’t let these mistakes get in your way.

  1. Underestimate the Transition. Attending a new university brings with it new experiences and new challenges. Realize that your classes might be a different size, your instructors might have different expectations, and your distractions might be harder to resist. Acknowledging the transition and putting structures in place to help you be successful from the beginning are key. Things like scheduling time for studying, taking a slightly smaller course load, and using campus resources are just some examples.
  2. Not Taking Notes During Orientation. Orientation is a great opportunity for students to learn all about their new school, but it is also often a time where you sink into information overload. Taking notes and writing down tips and advice from your advisors gives you the chance to come back and fully absorb the information later.
  3. Put Off Visiting Advising. Your advisors are there to help you so not using them is just a waste of resources. They can help you plan your classes, make sure you understand your requirements, and help you map out your future semesters. They also often know resources on campus that might be beneficial to you.
  4. Wait Until Finals To Ask For Help. If you know you are struggling a bit in a class and wait until days before the final exam to seek out help then there probably isn’t much that can be done. Make use of office hours, seek out free tutoring, and discuss your concerns with advising and professors as soon as you realize there is an issue.
  5. Take On Too Many Obligations. Classes, jobs, student organizations, family responsibilities and more. It is important to find balance between all of your obligations so that you don’t get overwhelmed while you are still learning this new environment. Try to scale back a bit from what you would normally do until you get a feel for how demanding this new environment is going to be.
  6. Avoid Asking Questions. I realize that transferring can be a bit overwhelming, but it is important that you be involved in the process and asking the questions you may have. Make sure you get clarity on anything that is unclear and ask questions that you are unsure about. Advisors won’t know you don’t understand something if you don’t tell them.
  7. Forget To Get Their Transfer Courses Evaluated. The courses you took at your previous institution might not transfer to your new school as the same course. It is important to follow-up with the appropriate office on campus to make sure all of your transfer courses were evaluated and then provide any further information that might be needed to complete this process.
  8. Not Registering On Time For Their Next Semester. I know it can be easy to get really focused on just starting your first semester and navigating all of the new information, but it is also important to plan for your next semester when needed. Take care of any registration blocks, visit advising to plan your next semester’s courses, and look at the schedule of classes to get a plan.
  9. Put Off Choosing a Major. I am all for exploring, and by all means take your time figuring out what you want to do, but it is important to prioritize picking a major sooner rather than later. It is hard to pick the appropriate courses if you don’t know what track you are going down. Even if you don’t officially declare a major, make sure to explore possible options and try to take classes that will move you forward in those areas.
  10. Think They Have All The Answers. I often find transfer students falling into the trap of thinking they already know everything because they have attended college before. You do know more than a first-year student would, but there is also a lot to be learned. How it was done at your old school probably is not how it is going to be done at your new school. There are no universal rules for how a school must function. You need to go into the transfer process willing to learn and ready to accept that things might be different than you were expecting.

Overall, you can avoid many of these mistakes by being engaged in the process and asking for help. Engage your new community, make use of resources, and enjoy the process. Transferring is sure to be a very exciting time in your life, so make sure to take care of things in the right way so you can truly enjoy it.

To learn more about successfully navigating the transfer process and your academic future, click HERE and be sure to check out these College Success Guides.

Written by my collegue…Passionpreneur with a Mission, Kassy Scarcia, founder and leader of Authentically Awakened Coaching. Kassy is a Professional Life and Career Empowerment Coach serving clients who feel stuck, unsure, and uninspired by their current life. LEARN MORE about how Kassy can help you rekindle your joy and ignite your passion. Sign-up for her NEWSLETTER to receive updates, inspirations, and blog posts about you, your life, and your career.


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