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Should I Transfer Colleges?

SNHU transfer student  Monique Gray doing coursework on her desktop

So, you've decided to go to college and put a lot of thought into where you want to attend. And now that you're there, it doesn't feel like the right fit for you. But what is the "right fit"? Should you transfer to a different school?

It's okay to feel unsure. You're not alone. Consider the information below to guide what might be next for you.

What Are Some Good Reasons to Transfer Colleges?

There's a lot to think about if you're thinking about transferring colleges, whether from a community college with an associate degree or from one four-year university to another.

"There are many reasons why someone would want to transfer schools," said Alyssa Panny, director of transfer credit evaluation and enrollment support services at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Many of those reasons involve change. Some of the most common, she said, include:

  • Degrees offered: Your goals may have changed since you began your degree program. What if you discovered your true passion and want to change majors? According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study, 42.7% of students enroll in more than one institution before completing their bachelor's degree. If another school provides a degree program better suited for you, it may be time to transfer to a new school.

  • Finances: Financial situations also change. Your current school may be more than you can afford going forward —and you'll need to explore a less expensive option. But, it's important to remember that transferring credits from your previous coursework can help you save money as you continue with your degree.

    Monique Gray with the text Monique GrayMonique Gray '22 learned this first-hand when she transferred to SNHU and didn't have to repeat courses she had taken previously. "Transferring credits helps you save time and money because you have less courses that you have to take, which means you have less courses that you have to pay for," said Gray.

  • Flexibility: Your life can change while working toward your degree, and you may need to find a more flexible program.

    Ali Lamoureux '22 needed a more accommodating school schedule while working full time, so she transferred to SNHU and finished her bachelor's degree in healthcare administration online.

    Ali Lamoureux with the text Ali Lamoureux"The flexibility is extremely important to me… I was commuting from one state to another. So I needed to have the time throughout the week to work on my courses," said Lamoureux. Having the option to drop to one class per term or stay at two classes, she said, really helped her stay on track.

  • Support: You may find the level of support you need has changed, too. The resources and support available can make all the difference throughout your degree program. Another school may provide exactly what you need.

    Tanzania Fair with the text Tanzania Fair Tanzania Fair '20MBA found the support she received at SNHU was vastly different from her previous school, and she always felt supported by faculty and staff. Fair said her advisor would periodically call her, just to check in and let her know it was time to sign up for classes again. "They were very involved in the process," she said, and that was a positive difference for her.

Reasons for transferring schools are circumstantial. However, transferring can be the difference between having a good college experience and a great one.

Now that you know some of the benefits of transferring to a new school, it's time to consider when.

When is The Best Time to Transfer Colleges?

Transferring to a new university can feel daunting, making it easy to push off. But there's never a "right time" to transfer colleges. When you transfer depends on your individual situation and when it makes the most sense for you.

Jessica Knight with the text Jessica KnightOnce you decide you want to begin classes elsewhere, reach out to the school that interests you for help applying.

"I would recommend students start working with an admission counselor one to two months before (classes start) to give time to get over transcripts and get all questions answered," said Jessica Knight, transfer credit evaluation specialist at SNHU.

Before applying to a new school, ask a few questions to help you decide the best school for you:

  1. Does the school have the program I desire?
  2. Will I be able to finish my degree program on time?
  3. Is transferring here a good choice for me financially?
  4. Will the school accept credits I may already have?
  5. Will a degree from this university provide me with career opportunities?
  6. Does the university have the resources and support necessary for me to be successful?
  7. Is it the right environment for me?

Don't hesitate to ask questions to ensure a new school is the right place for you. "Being confused is okay, and that’s why we are here to help,” said Knight

If you choose to attend a 'transfer-friendly' university, you may not lose any time (or credits) when you change schools. "SNHU allows you to transfer in up to 90 credits towards your program, so it leaves you with a large window to transfer when it best fits your needs," said Panny.

Is Transferring Colleges Hard?

Alyssa Panny with the text Alyssa PannyIt doesn't have to be. It may depend on where you choose to go. When it comes to SNHU, Panny said, "Not at all. We have a very straightforward, simple process to ensure you are able to transfer over as seamless(ly) as possible."

Your college experience should be positive, and if transferring to a new university seems like the right choice for you, it probably is. Starting the transfer process earlier allows you more time to figure out what's important to you.

“We are evaluating and accepting students six days a week, so we are always willing to help you determine your next step in your education journey,” said Panny.

What is the Process For Transferring Colleges?

Once you finally decide to transfer to a new university, the process can be fairly easy after you apply or reach out to admissions.

For example, at SNHU, you can begin your transfer journey by following these three easy steps:

  1. Complete the free 5-minute online application. There's no obligation after filling it out.
  2. Get your transcripts requested — for free. Chat with an admission counselor, and we'll request your transcripts on your behalf.
  3. Receive your free evaluation. Soon after all your transcripts are in, you'll get your official evaluation. It will show you what was transferred in — and what classes you need to complete.

The transfer process can be different at every university. Still, when you apply, you'll generally want to be prepared to provide transcripts from any previous college coursework.

While transferring, you may have life experiences beyond an associate degree or college classes that can help you get credit toward your degree.

Some experiences may include:

Ensure you mention all the potential credit opportunities you have and that the admission office connects you with the right team when applying.

"If the student has military experience, they will want to connect with our military admissions team to best be supported," said Knight.

Attending a university that understands your needs and meets them is essential to your success. And if you still are questioning whether transferring is the right choice for you, connect with the admission office of the university you're interested in. They can help answer any of your questions or connect you with the right people to help you in your transfer journey. The admissions team should be happy to help you and answer any questions you have.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU online program that can best help you meet your goals.

Alexa Gustavsen '21 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.