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How to Decide if Transferring Colleges is Right for You

College student looking at her lap top.

You were accepted into your dream school, you’ve settled into your new dorm, and you’re ready to embark on four incredible years of college. It all sounds amazing, right? Well, the reality is things don’t always go as planned.  

If you’ve found yourself asking “should I transfer colleges?” First, don’t feel bad about it! You’re not alone as, roughly one-third of students switch schools each year. Second, the transfer process isn’t as daunting as it may seem. However, before diving into it, you need to decide if transferring colleges is truly the right move for you. 

Not sure where to begin? No worries! The experts at Collegeboxes, who specialize in college moves, are here to guide you through the entire process. 

Assess Your Current Situation 

Before diving into the transfer process, it’s crucial to evaluate your current college experience. Below are some key factors to consider. If you check one or more of these boxes, it might be worth exploring transferring colleges. 

  • Academic Performance – Take a close look at your GPA, class rankings, and overall academic performance. Are you struggling academically? Or conversely, do you feel challenged enough in your current classes? 
  • Social and Extracurricular Activities – Reflect on your involvement in campus activities, your social life, and the overall atmosphere at your college. Are you enjoying your time on campus, or do you feel disconnected? 
  • Relationships with Professors and Advisors – Consider the quality of your academic support network. Do you have strong relationships with professors and academic advisors who can guide you? Or do you feel like things could be better? 
  • Financial Situation – Examine the cost of attendance and your financial aid options. Can you afford to stay at your current college, or are financial constraints a concern? 

Identify Reasons to Transfer Schools 

Understanding why you want to transfer is also important in making the right decision. There are plenty of common reasons why students transfer colleges, like: 

  • Academic Reasons – Maybe your current college doesn’t have the program or major you’re really into. You might find that your academic goals would be better served somewhere else. 
  • Social Reasons – The vibe on campus, how well you fit in socially, and the quality of the relationships you’ve made can all play a role in your decision to transfer. 
  • Personal Reasons – Think about your personal growth, where you want to be located, or any family circumstances that might be affecting your college experience. Your current college might not be the best fit for your changing life circumstances. 
  • Financial Reasons – If the cost of going to your current college is a huge burden, it might be worth considering transferring to a more affordable option. 
  • Career Goals – Examine whether your current college has the resources and opportunities needed to achieve your career aspirations. 

Does one of these reasons resonate with you? If so, transferring may be the right move! 

Research Potential Transfer Options 

Once you’ve identified the reasons for transferring, it’s time to research potential transfer options. Maybe you already have your next school picked out. But if not, here are some tips for finding the right school and program to better fit your needs.  

Make a List of Schools 

Make a list of schools that perfectly match your goals and preferences. This list should encompass institutions that provide your desired major, campus culture, and other crucial factors that hold significance for you. 

Research Admission Requirements 

Take some time to explore the admission requirements for transfer students at the colleges you have in mind. It’s crucial to make sure you fulfill all the prerequisites for the programs you’re interested in. You should be able to find this information on the school’s website. 

Compare Programs and Campus Life 

Compare the academic programs, extracurricular activities, and overall campus culture of potential schools. Take the time to find colleges that align with your academic and social preferences.  

Consider Location and Size 

Think about the location and size of the colleges on your list. Are you looking for an urban or rural setting? Do you prefer a small or large campus? 

Transferring Credits 

Do you know if all your credits will transfer to your new school? That’s a crucial detail that some students overlook. It would be unfortunate if you went ahead transferring schools and lost some of your progress in the process. Rather than leave it to chance, contact your new school’s advisement office and find out for sure which of your credits transfer. If it’s not many, that might shape your decision.  


Finances play a significant role in the decision-making process. Compare the cost of attendance at your current college and potential transfer options. Also, compare the cost of living in the area. For example, if you’re looking to attend a school in New York City, the cost of living will be much higher than it would be in a more rural area. Be sure that lines up with your financial situation. Don’t forget to include other costs, such as application fees, travel expenses, and more. 

Making the Decision 

After you’ve established your reasoning and researched the transfer process, you can decide where you’re going. Start off with a trusty pros and cons list. Compare staying at your current college versus transferring. You can also create a pros and cons list for different schools. 

This is also a good time to seek guidance from mentors, advisors, and friends who can provide valuable insights into your decision. Reflect on your priorities, values, and aspirations. Consider how the decision to transfer aligns with your personal and academic growth. 

The Application Process 

Applying isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Oftentimes, there are added steps in the process. These usually entail writing an essay in addition to completing the application. You may also have to submit a letter of recommendation and other supporting documents. It’s crucial to thoroughly research the requirements so that you are well-prepared, and make sure to adhere to all deadlines! 

Planning the Move 

So, you know why you want to transfer, you know where you’re going, and you’ve researched the requirements for transferring. Great! Do you know how you’re getting there? It doesn’t matter if you’re transferring to a college that’s across town or across the country, you’ll still need a game plan for getting your stuff packed and moved to your new place. 

Luckily, Collegeboxes can help. Our services include storage and shipping of your belongings. All you have to do is pack. Our professional college movers will pick up your things from your current school and move them either to your new campus housing or drop them off at a nearby secure storage unit. Sign up today to learn more!