College Transfer Story: Family Matters
by Rose Pallone
In April 2012, I got an email from the University of St Andrews in Scotland admitting me as a second-year transfer student in English Literature and Art History. I remember calling my mom, crying, to tell her the fantastic news. Her response was “Oh” followed by prolonged silence. I was more than a little confused. My parents willingly paid for the application fee, and they did not object to the idea of transferring whenever I brought it up. Considering the college I was enrolled in at the time was my dad’s alma mater and my brother planned to apply there Early Decision that fall, I should have expected a fight. I was not, however, prepared for the war my parents launched.
At first, I reacted to my parents’ objections like a teenager. I screamed, I cried, and I nearly made myself sick. Still, I accepted my place at St Andrews (as no deposit was required), and I managed to compose myself enough to attend a meeting with my Dean of my college at the time. The Dean spoke about my options and the process of officially withdrawing from the college. At the end, he asked me how my parents felt. I told him that my mom and dad were not happy, but that I was continuing with the process, hoping they would come to terms with it eventually. My Dean gave me a weird look and said that I should try to reach my parents on “their level of understanding.” I had no idea what that meant, so I continued to ignore the problem. It should be my decision; I was the one going to school. Did I really have to make them “understand” why I needed this?
Halfway through July, I realized that I needed my parents’ help, and I wanted them to be proud of me. That evening, I sat down with my parents and just listened. My mom was concerned about the writing program and the money I needed for a school that was farther away. My dad was worried about the reputation of the school and how easy it would be to get a job after graduation. With their arguments in mind, I got to work on my very last application: a presentation on why transferring to St Andrews made sense. I conducted research for days. I showed them that St Andrews is not only a well-established, highly-ranked university, but it would save thousands of dollars in tuition annually, has incredible extracurricular activities for writers, and has a job placement percentage higher than the U.S. national average for college graduates.
I won my parents over by doing as my Dean said, and really getting on “their level of understanding.” As silly as I looked giving a PowerPoint Presentation over dinner, it was worth it, and admittedly, it was not very hard. Just keep in mind that your parents really are trying to help you succeed, and if you can address their concerns, you will have no problem getting them to stand behind you.
What’s your transfer story?
Photo: Moyan Brenn