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by Lan Ngo

Adjusting to Stanford University as a Transfer Student

September 21, 2012 in Adjusting, Costs, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Ivy Plus

In this article, Chris (co-founder of TransferWeb) interviews me (Lan) about my transition to Stanford as a transfer student. These are the main topics I discuss:

  • The academic adjustment
  • The social adjustment
  • Financial aid

You’ll see why, in reflecting on my experience trying to adjust to Stanford, I tell other transfer students, “Basically, don’t be like me. Don’t be a fool.”

Without further ado, here’s the interview.

Chris: Some people have asked about what it’s like to transfer into Stanford. How was it for you transferring in, the process of adjusting, and getting used to Stanford?

Lan: It was really, really hard. In hindsight, I wish I had done many things very differently. Going from UCLA to Stanford was very difficult because just the name Stanford alone was very intimidating. I, in some ways, was surprised that I got in because I could not accept the fact that I got into this extremely prestigious school, especially coming from a very humble background with very little education.

Once I got there, I was overwhelmed by how amazing everyone else seemed. I was scared, actually. It seemed like everyone around me was so accomplished. Everyone around me had already started a business or a non-profit, or they had done some amazing internship while they were in high school, and they were continuing to pursue such amazing endeavors while in college. I felt very little. You often hear the cliché that you’re a superstar in high school, and then you go to this awesome college, and suddenly you’re not a superstar anymore. That was a blow to my confidence.

I made the wrong move by giving myself a light load the first semester. I thought, “I need to adjust, so I’m just going to take three classes instead of four.” I think that might work for other people because they have transfer shock. Right when you come in, you’re shocked, and to lighten up the ramifications of this shock, you might want to take fewer classes to ease yourself into taking a more difficult load later. You have to assess your situation. For me, I like to be in intense situations, so actually, taking a lighter load was not good for me in retrospect.

I took a lighter load, and I think it made it harder for me to adjust because I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. The following semester, when I wanted to take more classes, it was a hard transition. I should have just taken the regular load, which was four classes, the first semester.

The social transition was the hardest. We heard a lot of transfer students that we interviewed talk about how hard it is because you’re not a freshmen anymore, but you’re also not a continuing student like everyone else. I lived in a dorm with a lot of other transfer students and also non-transfer students. My roommate was a transfer student. I think because I was also very focused on doing well in school, I didn’t take the initiative to be social. I should have been actively pursuing social endeavors, but I didn’t. That’s why I’m glad we’re talking about this now, and we wrote this book on what you should do and shouldn’t do. Basically, don’t be like me. Don’t be a fool. Don’t lock yourself in the library. That is what I ended up doing, just going to the library all the time to study. At the same time, I was very involved in a lot of different clubs, and that’s another mistake I made, because I was spreading myself too thinly, trying to be an active member in everything. I wasn’t just a member; I was in leadership roles in a few clubs. That made it very difficult to be focused and emotionally and mentally devoted to an organization or to a cause.

Chris: Let me try to sum up. If you had the chance to do it over again, you would’ve taken your normal course load right off the bat. You would have made more of an effort to put yourself in more relaxed, non-formal social situations. Clubs, for example, is a formal social situation. You think you should have hung out a little bit more. Was there anything else?

Lan: The last point I made was about spreading myself too thinly.

Chris: So, don’t spread yourself too thinly in terms of clubs.

Lan: Correct.

Chris: It obviously varies every year, but some people might be curious; do you remember the schools that other transfer students transferred from when they came into Stanford the same class as you?

Lan: I remember someone was from Mills College. Everyone else was like me; they came from “lower” ranking schools.

Chris: What did Stanford do in terms of orientation services for you guys once you arrived?

Lan: We had a specific orientation just for transfer students. One of the deans was in charge of transfer students, and there was an advisor that was specifically working with transfer students. She led the orientation for transfer students. In addition to the orientation that was going on for freshmen, they had one for us. It was nice to start off with a little community.

First, there was a general welcoming of everyone, and then a meeting with our advisors. It’s a little strange. I guess the school had no choice; in the beginning they give you random advisors, and you meet with them. For me, it was useless. I got someone who was the coach of some sports team. I was not happy with that. I eventually transitioned over to an actual professor in the economics department, but that was not good to have that as my start in academic advising.

Chris: Because you’re not big into sports, right?

Lan: Not at all. We also had a peer transfer group. I think Stanford should have done a better job of maintaining a core of transfer students, a support network of transfer students, throughout the year. It was only at the beginning that we had a couple of group meetings or activities with this transfer peer group. Then, after that, it just tapered off.

Chris: Overall, how happy were you with your decision to transfer and transferring to Stanford?

Lan: I think it was one of the best decisions I made in my life, although when people ask me, “How was your experience at Stanford?” I often start with, “I didn’t know how to navigate the resources that were available to me, because I didn’t come from an educated background.” It’s nice to go to Stanford. You really move up from going to a public university when you go to a place like Stanford whose endowment is ranked third after I think Harvard and Yale. Stanford is totally loaded. Money translates into a lot of different services and resources. It’s nice just being in that kind of environment that is so rich in resources.  Resources include human resources. Think about these people that surround you; they are so accomplished, they’ve done so much, and they have all these connections. It’s really inspirational. I think going to Stanford inspired me to–it’s a cliché–branch out and to broaden my horizons. It allowed me to try a lot of new things because of all the different opportunities that were available.

For example, I did a fellowship where I was a resident director assistant for a program where college students from Taiwan and Japan came and stayed for a summer. It was an intensive program in American language and culture for them, and I was one of the five Stanford assistant directors. From that experience, I was able to go abroad, because it was an exchange program. I ended up going to Japan and Taiwan with these people and the other Stanford students. From there, I ended up going back to Japan and learning Japanese. Since then, I’ve been to Japan five or six times and Taiwan at least three times, and all that started from going to Stanford and having this amazing opportunity to be a part of this program. I think going to Stanford afforded me with all these different opportunities that allowed me to open my eyes to new things, new experiences, and new people.

Chris: Can you give us a ballpark of how generous Stanford was in terms of financial aid? Was it cheaper to go there than to UCLA?

Lan: Money is huge, and again because Stanford has so much money, if you’re low-income, you’re very much taken care of. I spent three years at Stanford. There were two terms when I took time off, but I figured out a way to still be able to use financial aid from those two terms. I think in the three years I was at Stanford, I took out $13,000 in loans. I can’t remember the exact amount, but my loans from my one year at UCLA were more than $13,000, which is what I had to take out to go to Stanford for three years.

Chris: You weren’t paying for anything out of pocket at Stanford?

Lan: I had to work at Stanford, but I worked when I was at UCLA, too. I did work-study, and I worked summers.

Chris: Three years at Stanford for you cost about the same as one year at UCLA?

Lan: I would say less.

(Photo: LeeBrimelow)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Should I Even Apply to Transfer to This College? Case Study: Brown University

November 18, 2009 in Adjusting, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Ivy Plus, Specific College

You’re a college freshman or sophomore and you know you want to transfer. Now what? For one thing, you’d better be digging up info on schools that you might want to transfer to. As a transfer applicant, you should “do your research” with the goal of finding the little quirks of the college transfer process. After all, not all schools are created equally, and not all schools will treat transfer students equally. Make a list of the pros and cons of each school you’re interested in. Make note of the transfer-specific details. As an example, let’s look at Brown University through the lens of a transfer applicant. You have your reasons to be interested in Brown, but should you apply?

THE PROS

1. “We want you to apply”

Brown seems to stop short of giving transfer applicants hugs. The Transfer Guide to Applying to Brown begins with a letter from the Dean of Admissions:

We are very pleased that you are considering Brown and hope that you will decide to apply…

For fall 2008, 117 of the 972 transfer applicants were accepted. That’s a 12% transfer acceptance rate. To put that info into perspective, check out Stanford, which practically warns prospective transfer students to think more than twice before even attempting to apply:

Transfer applicants should be aware that transfer admission is considerably more competitive than freshman admission. In recent years, the admit rate for transfer students has been between 1-2%. Between 20 and 40 transfer student spaces are typically available each year, depending on our freshman to sophomore retention rate (usually 98%) and the number of freshman applicants who typically accept our offer of admission…

In contrast, an article in the Brown Daily Herald points out Brown’s warm welcome to transfer applicants:

According to Associate Dean of the College Carol Cohen, who has worked with transfer students for over 15 years, they are “an intentional population here, not just a plugging in of empty spots” left by an overestimated matriculation of first-year applicants.

2. Options

Many schools accept transfers only for the fall term. However, Brown gives you the option to be considered for spring transfer admission. You might have some unfinished business to tend to before starting fresh as a transfer student at a new school. Whatever your reason, it’s nice to have choices.

3. Housing

It’s hard enough to start your life over at a new school, but imagine the additional pain if you were left to fend for yourself in the housing market as well. For many transfers, it’d just be easier to move into a dorm. Good news from the admissions office:

Brown transfer students must live in residence halls unless excused by the Director of Residential Life under policies established by the Dean of Student Life.

(This aspect might be considered a con if on-campus housing would cramp your style.)

4. Positive feedback from Brown transfer students

We have an in-depth interview with someone who transferred to Brown, but for now, here are the highlights of some positive transfer experiences as documented by the Brown Daily Herald:

Elizabeth, who transferred from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, enjoys the academic freedom and student diversity. After adjusting to Brown, she started to love it. As she says, “Transferring was the best decision I could have made.”

Drew, who transferred from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also happy with his decision. He likes the academics and the size of the school. He likes that Brown students speak up in class and are interested in learning.

Juliana transferred from the University of Chicago. She admires the type of students who come to Brown because they have passions that extend beyond the classroom walls.

(To read the full articles from the Brown Daily Herald, go here and here.)

THE CONS

1. Financial aid

As with many schools, transfers at Brown get the dregs of university scholarship funds while freshman applicants get first dibs. At least you’d still be considered for state/federal grants and loans that you qualify for. Just submit your FAFSA. The financial aid policy with regards to transfer students has gone through various changes over the years, BUT (this is a huge but), the current policy as stated by the financial aid office is:

Transfer students are admitted to Brown under a need-aware Admission policy. Need aware means that financial need will be taken into account in making the admission decision.

What does that mean? When applying, checking off that you’d like to be considered for university scholarship aid means that your chances of getting accepted drops. Keep in mind Brown’s price tag:

Undergraduate tuition for the academic year 2008-09 is $36,928, and room, board, and required fees are $10,812. The total cost is $47,740.

Even if you were accepted, could you afford to go to Brown without university financial aid? If your answer is NO, it doesn’t sound like Brown is your best bet.

2. Negative feedback from students that transferred OUT of Brown

A great way to get honest opinions  about a college that you’re interested in is to hear from students that transferred out of that college. Here’s advice about researching colleges from a student who transferred from Trinity College to Barnard College:

Even when you’re looking at colleges the first time around or interested in transferring, talk to transfer students that transferred OUT of the school that you’re interested in. You’re going to hear about all the positive stuff from the school. You’re going to see the school, read the guidebooks, and talk to the tour guide who loves the school. They’re extreme lovers of the school. You’re going to get the positive side but you’re not going to get the negative side… But the only way you can make a real decision is if you know both sides… You shouldn’t be afraid of hearing the negative side.

With that said, let’s learn from people who transferred OUT of Brown:

Eugenie, who ended up transferring to Stanford, was disappointed by both the social scene and academics at Brown. The Department of Physics was particularly disappointing.

Sarena transferred to the University of Pennsylvania because Brown couldn’t meet her academic needs. Despite Brown’s relative academic freedom, she wasn’t allowed to create her own major with an ideal mix of psychology, communications, and marketing. At Penn, on the other hand, she’s satisfied with the pre-professional options in the academics.

One reason David transferred out of Brown was that he “felt that the University had too much of a liberal political bias.” He wanted a school with “a more open political atmosphere and a stronger sense of community”

(To read the full articles from the Brown Daily Herald featuring the above students, go here and here.)

So, should you apply to transfer to that college you’ve been thinking about?

Use this case study as an example. Delve deep and you’ll find your answer.

Spotlight: College of William & Mary, A Very Transfer Friendly College

November 1, 2009 in Adjusting, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Specific College, To Transfer or Not

William & Mary

William & Mary caught our eyes because we interviewed three transfer students there, and they all had great things to say about the support offered to transfers at W&M. We also noticed that W&M has a relatively high transfer acceptance rate; for fall 2009 it was 43.7%, which is higher than their freshmen acceptance rate of 33.5%.

When asked why she chose William & Mary, Tanya, who transferred from John Tyler Community College, explained:

I went to a Prospective Transfer Day at William & Mary. It was just for transfers. It set us apart from the freshmen. It was as if the college was saying, “We know you’ve been through this before. We know you’ve been in college. Let’s give you what we have to offer. Let’s skip the fluff.”

She got to meet with current transfer students and other people at the college, including the Dean of Transfer Students at the time:

I met with Kim Van Deusen, a dean who works with transfer admissions. I sat down and had a long conversation with her. I talked about what I wanted to do and my situation. She gave me the tools I needed. We talked about the application essay.

When it finally came time to decide on which college to transfer to, it wasn’t a tough decision for Tanya. She thought about the experience she had with William & Mary throughout her transfer application process:

All of these experiences helped me to feel a connection when I came to William & Mary. This is a very personal college that cares about the individual. A lot of colleges brag about this, but at William & Mary, they didn’t have to say it because they showed it to me.

Another great thing about William & Mary is the Transfer Student Ambassadors, a group of former and current transfers who are there to help people like you. Mea, who transferred from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, told us about the Transfer Student Ambassadors (TSA) and other ways that William & Mary makes transfers feel right at home:

TSA held social functions at the beginning of the semester and throughout the semester. They held meetings about picking your schedule and how to study for finals. The transfer coordinator for admissions has been especially helpful with getting credits. I’ve also gotten emails throughout the year about transfer students working to invite new transfer students in and host prospective transfers. So there certainly is a support system for transfers.

Of course, no school deserves a 100% transfer friendliness rating. At William & Mary, for example, housing isn’t guaranteed for transfer students (see W&M’s FAQs page here), which isn’t unusual for colleges. Do your due diligence to see what each school offers and lacks. If possible, talk to current and former transfer students to get the real deal.

To give you more details that you won’t find on the William & Mary website, here’s the story of Chris P. (not to be confused with Chris, the co-author of The Transfer Book). For Chris, transferring to William & Mary was a second shot at his first choice school.

Chris attended a small private high school just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The school had about 400 students in total, and a very comfortable, small community feel. Chris enjoyed his high school experience, but when it came time to choose a college to attend, he felt that he should get out of “the bubble” and try something larger. So he applied to a couple of big schools, Ohio University and Ohio State, with student populations of about 17,000 and 36,000 respectively. Oddly enough, however, Chris’ first choice—and the school that he had applied to early decision—wasn’t a larger school at all, and really had a completely different feel than his other choices. It was the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, student population 5,500.

“My brother went to William & Mary and every time he would come home he would talk about all the things he was involved in, and he would go on for like an hour, and I was amazed,” Chris said. “How can you do that much stuff?  How can you be that excited about it?”

“Maybe this is a pretty cool place to be, even if it’s on the smaller side,” he thought.

Unfortunately, Chris’s application to William & Mary wasn’t successful.  He ended up starting out at Ohio University, and when he got there, he discovered just how different his new surroundings were when some of his introductory courses had as many students as his entire high school. It didn’t help that he and his roommate didn’t get along, or that he didn’t like the way the administration ran things. It wasn’t long before Chris started to think about transferring.

“It was difficult to accept, because I did have a regular group of friends I was hanging out with,” Chris said. “And it wasn’t because I wasn’t fitting in… I had more friends than anyone I knew, so it wasn’t a social thing.  And it wasn’t an academic thing because I was doing fine, but it was a feeling thing… and I just felt I wasn’t being stimulated.”

Chris sought out advice from everyone he knew about whether or not he should transfer and where he should apply. He ended up applying to William & Mary and two other universities. Re-applying to William & Mary was made especially easy by the fact that the school offers students the option to re-open a previous application by filling out the Reopen Application Form available on their website.

Chris felt that he had a lot more to present to them as a transfer student than he did as a freshman applicant. First, he says that his SAT scores were “average,” and this often hurts otherwise strong applicants because colleges want to admit freshman classes that have high average SAT scores so that their statistics look good. Applying as a transfer, Chris’ SAT score would likely matter less. Second, as someone with some experience already as a college student, he was more able to demonstrate his enthusiasm for getting involved on campus through extracurricular activities, a trait that any school would love to have in one of its students. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he made the dean’s list the first quarter, and that he also submitted good mid-quarter grades, even though they weren’t asked for on the application. After a few months of waiting, Chris was accepted into all the schools he applied to.

Despite finally being admitted into his first choice, however, Chris still struggled with the decision to actually change schools all year, and ended up sending in his acceptance form to William and Mary on the last possible day.

“It’s weird because if you stay the whole year, by the end of the year you want to stay the next three years,” Chris said. “It got tougher and tougher as I went along in the process, because I got more and more tired of thinking about it and the decision. It leans you more toward staying at the school that you’re unhappy with.”

After sending in his acceptance form he finally went to William & Mary’s accepted students day, staying with his brother. There, he had “the most amazing day he’s ever had” during his college experience. “Just meeting with professors, seeing the different events you could go to— everyone just seemed so excited to meet you, and everyone was practically giving you hugs here,” Chris said. “I was just so thrilled because it was exactly what I needed.”

The summer before moving, however, he did a little research—looking at forums and in chat rooms—and discovered that his new school might be more academically challenging than he had anticipated.

“My first year of college was pretty tough for me. It was a big balancing act, my whole sophomore year here at William & Mary,” Chris said. “At times I thought, ‘Did I make the right decision?’ I love it here, I love the school, the people, the history [of the place], but the academics are much harder than I anticipated. But I was still determined to improve and work my way up… I’m doing a lot better, and I’m still involved in more things.”

Those “more things” include being involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, the University Center Activities Board Music Committee (UCAB), tutoring in the College Partnership for Kids program, and working at the library’s media center. Chris also studied abroad for one summer, an opportunity that not only let him travel while in school, but also catch up on some credits. On top of all that, he was also president of the Transfer Student Ambassadors group at William & Mary. In that role, he was working on having the school set aside a building as housing for new transfer students. He says he hopes that such a living situation will help new transfer students get a taste of what it’s like to be a freshman discovering a new school with their peers.

One great piece of advice that Chris has for transfer students is to remember when you were the most excited you’ve ever felt about going to your dream school, and injecting that enthusiasm into your application essay: “I pictured myself being involved, loving the school, and I thought, ‘If I can picture that, why can’t I make it happen?’

(Photo: Lyndi&Jason)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Transfer Students Apply to College, Too. How Come We Don’t Help Them?

September 6, 2009 in Adjusting, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, News, Requirements, To Transfer or Not

help

Stephen J. Handel explores this question in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. While doing research for a book on transfer admissions, he discovered that… there’s practically nothing out there for transfers! He searched high and low, both online and print resources, but still came up empty handed. This is despite the fact that “the transfer-student market is huge and growing.”

Handel admits that there is some information available, but it’s nothing to brag about. Gigantic college books published by The Princeton Review, The College Board, Barron’s, and others go into great detail about the freshman application process, but advice specifically for prospective transfer students is “vague or nonexistent.” Check out the books yourself, and you’ll see that it’s true.

Desperate, Handel tried searching Amazon.com, something that we tried before we started working on our book and website. If you search “transfer admissions” you’ll come up with a hodgepodge of results – most books aren’t even for transfer students. The top search result is a book that we’ve bought and read. We’ve bought others as well. Our suggestion: hold off on these and save your money. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and buy them, but know that we tried to warn you.

The argument is that the lack of transfer-specific information is due to the fact that “it is more complicated to summarize.” Sure, there’s more variation within the pool of transfer applicants than seen in the freshman applicant pool, but so what??!! We shouldn’t be ignored.

I’ll end with some smart questions written by Handel. Make sure you get the answers to these questions as you research the schools you’re interested in:

1. How many transfers are admitted in any given year relative to the number that apply?

2. Do you admit transfer students as sophomores or juniors?

3. How can a student become minimally eligible to transfer to your institution?

4. How can students become competitively eligible for your most popular programs?

Our blog post about transfer friendly colleges can help you get the exact numbers for question 1. To find answers to questions 2 and 3, you can start with college websites. For example, check out the criteria for UC Berkeley transfer applicants here. You should also call the admissions office to ask questions 3 and 4. While you’re at it, make an appointment with an admissions counselor.

It can be scary when there’s so little info for transfer applicants, but you’re not alone. We’ve been there, done that, and succeeded. Many others have done the same, and so can you.

(Photo: gruntzooki)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Are There “Transfer Friendly” Colleges Out There?

August 7, 2009 in Adjusting, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, To Transfer or Not

friends

Yes, there are “transfer friendly” colleges out there. When deciding on which schools to apply to transfer to, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check out a wide range of the schools you might be interested in applying to (before you start narrowing it down) and to think about two points: (1) the school’s interest in accepting transfer students and (2) what support the school provides for transfers.

(1) Does the school actively court transfer students or not?

The first point can help you to decide if the school is within your reach. A school’s admission rate can be a good start if you have absolutely no idea of your chances. As an example, let’s look up Vanderbilt’s transfer acceptance rate:

  • Go to www.collegeboard.com
  • Under ‘Search by college name’, type ‘Vanderbilt’
  • Click on ‘Admission’
  • Look at the data under ‘Transfer Students’

In 2008, 533 students applied to transfer and 298 were accepted. That means that 55.9% of all fall transfer applicants were accepted. That’s huge! Compare that to, say, Stanford’s 2008 transfer acceptance rate of 2.1%. Just judging from this basic information, it looks like Vanderbilt might be a school that’s really interested in taking in transfer students.

[UPDATE: We added Fall 2008 transfer acceptance rates at 50 top colleges here. You can also get there by clicking on the “Stats” tab at the top of the page.]

The transfer acceptance rate of a school is only part of the story, however: what if a lot of students that entered as freshmen simply left Vanderbilt in later years, thus opening up all those spaces for transfers? In this case, the high transfer acceptance rate could be less about the transfer friendliness of the school and more about the school simply having a lot of space to fill.

The truth looks like it’s somewhere in between. In an article in Vanderbilt’s student newspaper, the high transfer acceptance rate is in large part due to Vanderbilt completing a special residence hall that all freshman are required to live in. That residence hall, however, can fit 40-60 less freshmen than the normal freshman class and those 40-60 slots can now be filled by transfer students. The article does, however, also quote a dean there who has some very good things to say about transfer students. So the higher transfer acceptance rate is due both to a welcoming policy toward transfers, as well as some space opening up.

Should the transfer acceptance rate affect your decision to apply to a school? Ideally, not too much. Whether or not you apply to a school should really be based on what you’re looking for in a school (whether it has a strong department in your chosen major, and offers you the opportunities and facilities you need to succeed) and whether or not your profile (interests, GPA, and, if applicable, test scores) fits what that school is looking for. If you are up to a school’s standards and have good reason to transfer to it (such as any of the many successful real stories mentioned in the book), the overall acceptance rate shouldn’t affect your approach too much either way. Again, just use the acceptance rate as a basic, first-sweep indicator of what schools might be more transfer friendly than others.

In practice, however, students love looking at the admissions rates, and it does affect where they apply to. I recently talked with Robert, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania as a transfer student beginning this fall (he did his freshman year at Northwestern):

Lan: You mentioned that Penn has a relatively high rate of transfer admission. Did that affect your decision to apply there? Did you think that applying there would increase your chances of getting accepted?

Robert: Yeah, actually I did. I originally wasn’t even going to apply to Penn, but my sister said, “You should apply to Penn. It’s known to have a good transfer rate.”

(2) Does the school offer some kind of support to transfers once they’re in?

One quick and basic way to find out is to see if there’s a student organization devoted to transfer students. Let’s look at how we can find out more about the level of transfer friendliness at Brown University:

  • Go to www.brown.edu
  • To the right of ‘Life on Campus’, click on ‘Student Groups’
  • Click on ‘Browse Organizations’
  • Scroll through the list or try searching for ‘transfer’
  • You’ll find ‘Organization of Transfer Students, Brown (BOTS)’

Under this organization’s name, there’s even the email address of the group contact. This person is very likely a transfer student (and possibly a transfer counselor) who may be happy to provide answers to questions about transfer students at Brown.

I spoke with Bryce, who transferred from Hampshire College to Brown University. She was heavily involved in the Brown Organization of Transfer Students, serving as a student-counselor to new transfer students. She said that Brown has a great transfer community. She explained that when she came in as a sophomore, the message was: “Just acclimate yourself to Brown and just pretend like you never transferred. Just pretend that you’re the same as everyone else.”

However, she and several other transfer students worked hard to create a stronger support system for transfers. The message then became: “You’re a transfer student and that’s part of your identity as a Brown student. You should celebrate that and take part in the transfer community. Make it a part of your experience rather than try to ignore it.” If you’re someone that wants a little extra support once you’re in as a transfer student, a transfer environment like the one at Brown might be for you.

For more information on what a really transfer-friendly environment would look like, check out our in-depth spotlight on the College of William & Mary.

You can follow the above steps to dig up even more info on schools you’re interested in. This is the second college you’ll be going to. Now that you’re older and wiser, take the time to do the research to find a school that’s really the best fit. There’s one out there for you. Happy researching!

If you found this useful, please comment and/or pass this on! Thanks!

(Photo: lissalou66)