First Year Concerns: Sometimes Transferring Won’t Solve Anything

4 Apr

“Avoid transferring to run from a problem or to run to a place because it’s in your comfort zone*”

Maybe your first year didn’t go as planned. Many students struggle as they transition from high school to the university. Blaming the school may be your first instinct, and maybe the UA has let you down in some way. No institution is perfect. But, if you can, figure out the main reason you want to go somewhere else. Did you have a hard time finding friends or a club that interested you? Is your major not what you expected? Are you struggling financially? Some reasons are great reasons to transfer. Andy has written about those in his blog this week. Some reasons may not be solved by transferring to another university.

“One student…had transferred five times [and] finally realized that the problem wasn’t the college – the problem was her. She came to the conclusion that what she was looking for wasn’t at one particular college – it was inside herself.*”

Financial Issues:

Nanny Fine being shockedCollege is expensive. I’m not going to argue that point. But, the UA has various resources for funding your education. Just make sure you exhaust them all. If you have, and the UA is still too expensive, make sure the school you transfer to will be less expensive.

Did you contact financial aid? They are pretty quick about replying to questions via email. You can email them here:

Have you explored Scholarship Universe? If you fill out a complete profile, you have the best chance of finding scholarships that you are qualified for.

You can look at UA student jobs available through Wildcat Joblink. You log in with you NetID and password. You will have to opt in once to access services. The fee is $5.

Academic Concerns:

If you are struggling with college-level courses, transferring to a community college for a semester or a year might be the time you need to develop your academic skills. Make sure you talk to an advisor before transferring to discuss how best to prepare, what classes you can take that will transfer back to the UA, etc. But, make sure you give it your best effort over the final six weeks.

Make sure you have tried all of your academic resources, including visiting TAs, professors, creating study groups, and spending the recommended minimum of an hour per credit you are taking of study and homework time. For example, if you are taking 15 units, you should be studying for at least 15 hours a week, or more if you aren’t getting the grades you want.

man pointing and noddingThink Tank offers more resources than you may know about.

Do you need help studying, preparing for exams, or taking good notes that will help you study? Check out Think Tank Academic Skills Tutoring and Workshops.

Do you need help with science (like Chem or Bio)? Math? Writing? Spanish or French? ThinkTank offers help for that.

Need help, but can’t come in person? ThinkTank offers some Math and Writing tutoring online too.

The UA also has the Writing Skills Improvement Program, which offers free writing workshops for all skill levels. Check out the workshop schedule.

Social Disconnectedness

Your first year at the UA can be a tough one for finding friends. There are so many people, huge classes, and a huge campus for you to navigate. It’s easy to get homesick or miss your high school friends.

You probably expected it to be like this:

friends cast posing with milkshakes and ice cream

Eventually it might have started to feel like this:

Simpsons character playing frisbee alone

If you are thinking of transferring because you didn’t find friends, consider whether you made an honest effort. Did you go to social events? Did you go to clubs to meet people with similar interests as you? Did you talk to people in your classes? And, the final question, if you transferred, what would make your experience at another university different?

If you didn’t find your right group of friends this year, but do enjoy your classes and major, seriously consider staying. There are hundreds of clubs at the UA. What are you interested in? Even if you don’t think clubs are your thing, you might bond with someone else checking out the club who also doesn’t think clubs are his or her thing.

Or, if you get a job on campus, you might find a great group of friends in your co-workers, like I did.

Bottom line, you deserve to be in the best place for you. It takes courage to triumph over challenges, but you’re awesome, so I know you can do it.

main dancing and spinning: text caption reads "you're awesome"

Do everything in your power to make next year your best year in college. Good luck, and may everything go according to plan.

man putting sunglasses on: everything goes according to plan

*Quotes selected from The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

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