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What to Expect As a First Semester Transfer Student: Beginners’ Guide

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Transferring to a new university brings its own set of challenges. Much like the first time you attended your first university, there are new things to see, do, and get used to. No matter what year of school you are in or your age, getting accustomed to new surroundings comes with an adjustment period. Many universities–including Tulane SoPA–offer resources to transfer students to help them adjust. Learn more about what to expect and how to cruise through your adjustment period with ease from the experienced education professionals at Tulane SoPA.

What Is a Transfer Student?

A transfer student is a student who started their academic career and earned credits at one university and then decides to transfer to a different school to complete their education. Most of the time–but not always–students choose to transfer during their sophomore or junior year. Some of the most common reasons students transfer universities include:

  • Wanting a change of environment
  • Transferring from a community college
  • Changing majors
  • Poor academic performance
  • Financial situation
  • Sport transfer
  • Returning to school to finish their degree

No matter your reason for transferring, the transition can often feel exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Below are a few ways to make the transition easier.

Meeting New People

While your academic performance comes first, college is also about meeting new people and forming valuable relationships that will last a lifetime. As a transfer student, it may feel like you're experiencing your first day of college all over again. Some transfer students feel left out and may worry that it's too late to make friends. But there is no reason to worry. College isn't like high school, and most universities are so large you'll have plenty of options for friends.

Reach out to students in your classes

In the first week of classes, reach out to the students sitting around you. People naturally seem to sit in the same spot over time, so this may be a good way to make new friends. Make conversation about course materials and why you chose to take the class. Remember, it's not just transfer students looking to make friends; students of all types are on the hunt to make new connections. Many students at Tulane SoPA would be considered unconventional college students, whether they're working adults or transfer students trying to further their education. Because of this, you shouldn't feel worried about being a transfer student; that's the norm at Tulane SoPA.

Join an organization

Joining an on-campus organization can be fun, rewarding, and look great on your resume. Connecting with people you might not have spoken to otherwise and making long-lasting relationships is what makes the college experience so unique. Step out of your comfort zone and make new friends by joining an organization at Tulane SoPA. Relaunched in 2017, the Tulane SoPA Student Organization highlights and discusses special interests and community-building opportunities for all graduate and part-time students. Make friends while also helping to shape student services for all enrolled at Tulane SoPA.

Reach out to university ambassadors

University ambassadors are students who are chosen to represent their university to prospective students throughout the admissions process. These students often know their way around campus like it was their own dorm room and are likely eager to help you navigate the campus they love so much. University ambassadors can also help you find clubs and organizations to join based on your interests and major.

Choosing Classes

At most universities, transfer students are the last ones to schedule their classes. To avoid this, speak with your academic advisor to ensure you are enrolled in all the correct courses. Depending on the university you choose to enroll in, you may also have to retake some first-year seminar classes. No need to worry, though; these classes are meant to be easier and help familiarize you with what your new university expects.

Get to know your advisor

Meeting with an academic advisor is an important part of success in college for everyone, but this is especially true for transfer students. Because your situation is a little out of the ordinary compared to other students, staying organized and on top of the classes you need to take for your major is essential. Academic advisors are committed to your success and, aside from family and teachers, are your biggest cheerleader. Academic advisors can also help you choose which classes might be the most interesting to you and help you achieve career success. Be sure to meet with your academic advisor before scheduling classes.

Research new professors

Many students transfer universities so they can have greater academic success. Having the right professor makes all the difference in the world. College isn't just about grades; it's about learning new ideas and opening your mind to new horizons. Using websites like Rate My Professor are great resources to help you find professors that will nurture your growth. Look for professors who will challenge you academically and change how you see the world.

Getting the Lay of the Land

The quickest way to become comfortable at your new university is by learning your way around campus. Searching for your classroom on the first day of school is a surefire way to cause you feelings of stress and discomfort.

Transfer student orientation

It is a must that you attend the transfer student orientation. Not only will it help you get a feel for your new campus, but you will also be surrounded by students who are in the same position as you. Use this time to get acclimated into your new university and make new friends with those around you.

Campus visits before classes

Before school officially starts, take the time to learn where all of your classes are. This will save you time and stress on the first day of school and help you feel like you're ahead of the game.

Managing Stress

During your academic career, there will be times when you feel so stressed out about coursework that you won't know what to do with yourself. This is normal and part of the college experience. Handle that stress by forming good habits at your new university.

Meet your on-campus counselor

Most campuses-Tulane SoPA included–have on-campus counselors that can help guide you through times of stress and anxiety. Getting help when you feel overwhelmed is nothing to be ashamed of and can help you find success at your new university.

Get a tutor

Find a tutor that can help you get through challenging coursework. Because you might have taken different prerequisites at your old university, some high-level coursework may seem unfamiliar to you. Make sure you don't fall behind by meeting with a tutor to get help with anything you don't understand.

Develop stress management habits

Developing stress management habits in college can help you find academic success and serve you well for the rest of your life. Some healthy ways to combat stress include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthily
  • Set realistic goals and expectations

Learn How You Can Transfer to Tulane SoPA

Tulane SoPA offers multiple academic programs that allow for transfer credits. To start your transfer process, submit your official transcripts from any college or university you have attended in the past. Once we have received your transcripts, one of our academic advisors will reach out to you to help identify your transferable courses. Request more info from Tulane SoPA today.

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