Lucia Tyler Ph.D.
Certified Educational Planner

Over one third of college students are transferring each year.
 Clearly, community college students must transfer to get a bachelor's degree but many students are moving from one four year college to another.  Why is that?

St. Mary's of MD students6. College culture mismatch- Fitting in and finding friends is an important part of college life. A student may realize that they are missing out socially and come home during the holidays talking about transferring.  Mismatch happens more often when students only visit the college in the summer when the student body is not there. There can be a mismatch in politcal beliefs, social style, religion, or ethnicity. Sometimes a student will not realize a cultural mismatch until they fail to find a roommate for sophomore year or receive no bids during fraternity rush.

5. Disciplinary action-This can be an action based upon poor grades or one due to alcohol/drug abuse.  Sometimes poor grades are related to heavy partying. Students transfer to get a fresh start.  They will need to prove to the new college that they have changed and are now ready for college level work.

4. Living closer to home- The reality of living thousands or even hundreds of miles away from home can be much different from the dream.  A student may miss their high school friends more than they realized.  Home cooked meals once in a while can be really appealing after many months of dorm food.  The student may also miss activities that they used to enjoy such as skiing or sports events.

3. Trading up-Sometimes it is hard for students to accept that they didn't get into their first choice college. People like to have choices and a rejection letter can feel like a personal failure.  A determined student may work really hard at their current college to improve their chances of transferring.  Unfortunately, this strategy rarely works for entry to the Ivy League because few students leave those colleges after freshman year.

2. Academic major- A student may come to love an academic area that they never knew about prior to starting college.  If their current college has a weak program in this major , the student may choose to transfer.  Through talks with their advisor they may discover interest in a pre-professional major such as occupational therapy that is not even offered at their school.

1. Financial stress- A student may decide to transfer to a college of lower cost.  There can be many reasons for this including unexpected medical expenses in the family or even job loss.  There may also be other children reaching college age that will need educational funding. Some financial aid packages are structured to decrease after the freshman year and this can also put a strain on the family finances.