College isn’t always the picture-perfect, amazing time you were told it would be. There are tough times, whether it’s with the workload you have, a general feeling of homesickness, or difficulty relating to your peers. Generally, the bad times are fleeting—but if you’re finding that the bad times are outweighing the good, it might be worth considering if it is the school you are at that is making you unhappy. Here are some signs that you may want to transfer colleges.
1. You aren’t succeeding academically
It is very likely that the work you are doing in college will be at a higher level of difficulty than the work you were completing in high school. However, if you did well in high school and you find yourself continuously struggling—even after searching for help—your school may not be right for you. Your schoolwork should be challenging, but it shouldn’t feel impossible. Most importantly, you should be able to find the right kinds of resources on your campus that can help you in these tough situations, and if your school doesn’t have those, that might be a problem. Before making a decision on transferring, make sure you’ve found all possible avenues of help that are available to you. Find a local tutor to assist you with difficult classes, meet with a TA, or consider finding a different major. If these solutions aren’t helping, transferring could be a smart decision.
2. You aren’t being challenged academically
On the other hand, if you are finding your schoolwork tediously easy and are struggling to find work that challenges you, you may be at the wrong school. While it is perfectly fine to excel in college, you should feel some sense of challenge. The point of college is to expand your knowledge, work hard, and push yourself, all to prepare yourself for real-world experiences. If you aren’t getting this, consider looking into other schools that offer those needed challenges.
3. You want to change majors…but your school doesn’t have it
Sometimes, you realize that your major isn’t for you. No one is expecting you to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are only 18 years old. When you do make the informed decision to change your major, you may find yourself in the circumstance where your school does not offer a track for your new choice of program. If you are certain of what you would like to do and your school doesn’t offer it, you should consider finding a school or location that does offer that program.
4. You don’t feel a connection to your peers
During your freshman year, connecting to peers can be difficult. You still have your high school friends, you are around people who have different backgrounds and experiences than you, and you are experiencing a lot of changes. However, once you find your footing and experiment with different student activities and organizations, you should be able to find a group of students you can relate to on some level. After all, a large part of college is social growth. If you feel that you are not growing socially, and if you feel like you would have more of an opportunity to grow somewhere else, that could be an indication that you would be more successful at a different school.
5. You were accepted to transfer to your dream school
Sometimes you end up attending a school that was your second, third, or even last choice. If your heart is set on your number one school and you are finding it hard to adjust to your current school because of this, you should try reapplying to your dream school after a year of academics. If you get in, and if you still feel the same way, consider transferring.
Before ruling out your college as a whole, consider what it is that is making you unhappy. Perhaps your major isn’t the right career path for you and your outlook will change with different classes. Maybe your friend group isn’t made of people who make you feel at your best, in which case you should work on expanding through different student organizations. Perhaps you are just feeling a very typical freshman year homesickness, which will pass. But if you’ve given it time, tried to change your surrounding as much as possible, and are still feeling like your school isn’t the place for you, it is okay to consider other options.
Written by Brittany Phillips. Brittany is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.