Advice, Campus Life, Lifestyle

The ups and downs of becoming a transfer student

As someone who recently transferred to Boston University this Fall, I can say that taking the step to go to college is hard enough —  but add the transfer process on top of that, and your life becomes a whirlwind. While the journey was definitely a long and hard process, I cannot say enough good things about it.

I began my freshman year of college at the University of Miami, a school I thought was a dream of mine. I was so unbelievably excited to be going there that I would count down the days, crossing out each one on my calendar until the time was up and I was on the plane. 

It took me about a month to realize it was not the school I had imagined it to be. Alongside this, I came to understand that I was simply not ready to be in college. I thought I wanted it, but it was mostly because everyone else around me was making the same choice.

Within the first three months, I was constantly flying back and forth between school and home, dreading the sight of my dorm room. It was an extremely low point in my life, and it began consuming me to the point where I had no energy to get out of bed. 

During the semester, I decided I needed to make the most out of my college experience since I knew I was not going to return to the University of Miami. I didn’t think it was for me, but I wanted to keep my options open for possible future applications, so I spent a significant amount of my time focusing on schoolwork and getting good grades. 

By the end of the semester, I was pretty sure I wasn’t coming back, so I moved out and packed up all my stuff and shipped it home — it was hard because I had come to love the friends I had made there. It was a confusing situation since I loved my friends, and they made me happy, but I just didn’t love the school. The whole month of December I went back and forth about whether to defer a semester or completely withdraw from college. 

I decided to notify the University of Miami I was taking the semester off, allowing myself the opportunity to return in the Fall if I wanted to. Many transfer students go from one college in the Fall to another in the Spring, but I made the decision to take a semester off and allow myself to think about what I truly wanted. 


ups and downs of becoming a transfer student
Boston University’s admissions building. Writer Morgan Macphee reflects on the positives and negatives of becoming a transfer student, including the not-so-enjoyable application process. ANH NGUYEN/DFP STAFF

Boredom was most definitely something I was worried about at home while all my friends were at school, but I got lucky in many ways because my best friend was going through the same dilemma. We both felt really lost in what we wanted to do with our lives, but we helped support each other during this really confusing time. 

I decided I wanted to continue my education, so I took classes at my local community college. I ended up loving two of them, which helped me decide on my major. I also began to focus more on health and wellness, which painting helped me achieve. I used this pause in my life to focus on the little things that made me happy, and it allowed me to enjoy my time being home. 

The application process, in my opinion, was not enjoyable. I was applying to schools that had no similarities to my previous institutions. I applied for my freshman year, which meant I had to redo all my essays. I applied to seven schools, unsure of what school I wanted to go to or if I was even ready to go to one.

For each school, I had to re-send emails for academic and professional recommendation letters. I also had to have my high school send out my official transcript to each of the schools. On top of all of this, I needed my teachers at my community college to fill out forms, and discuss with other colleges what courses I was taking, my current grades, and whether school would be in person, hybrid or fully online. There was a lot of paperwork to keep track of and hundreds of phone calls to make. 

While I was filling out each application, I was also visiting the schools, something I had been unable to do with my first round of applications because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot stress the importance of visiting schools before attending because doing so allowed me to fully visualize myself in each specific environment. 

As a result of applying to schools, visiting them and taking classes at home, time flew by and soon enough it was Summer.

And before I knew it, I was at BU.  

My overall experience with transferring was definitely difficult but in the end, it was all worth it. It was an emotional rollercoaster, continuously uncertain, and I often had moments of feeling completely lost. But don’t settle just because you are scared to make the change. 

Being a transfer student is a tremendous accomplishment, and it is something to be proud of. 

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