Do not underestimate how different a new college will be. Each college has its own personality and its own way of doing things. You may be emotionally and academically disoriented until you get used to your new environment. The best way to avoid transfer shock is to understand your personal issues related to transfer and to develop a plan to minimize those effects. The following suggestions may help you to cope effectively when you transfer.
The BEST way to know if you like a college is to visit the campus! Each campus has its own personality and uniqueness and the only way to experience the school is to visit.
Find out the size, location, the academic majors, and the student life at the colleges you are interested in attending. The more information you have the more comfortable you will feel about your choices.
Apply to at least two colleges – particularly if one of your choices is a private college. You never know what the applicant pool will be like and your GPA will be a factor, so don’t assume you will be accepted. A back-up plan ensures that you won’t have to panic at the last minute if you are not accepted to your first choice.
Almost every four-year college has a transfer student orientation program. By attending this program, you will learn about the infrastructure of the college as well as meet key people who will help you adjust to the four-year college culture. You may be required to take placement tests at the transfer institution and these are often given during orientation.
Knowing your major can give you a place to hang out (the department office) and people to talk with who have similar interests. Involvement with campus activities such as sports, student government and music or theatre can also give you an anchor in the life of the school.
The advising system is different at every college. Find out who your advisors are and meet with them to discuss your goals and objectives. Scan the college catalog to determine where you can get career or personal counseling.
While transferring from OTC to a four-year college allows you to focus on major-related course work, the transition also presents challenges both academically and socially. This is due to upper-division course work that can require more reading, writing, and research. Also, be prepared for the four-year college to be less nurturing in that students are expected to take more initiative in seeking out services, choosing courses, and obtaining financial aid.
Introduce yourself and ask them questions. In the four-year college you must be proactive and make the first move to meet your professors. The better your relationship is with them, the more understanding they will be if you need assistance.