Transferring: Final Decisions (part 4)

Application Strategy

Transferring: Final Decisions (part 4)

In a few weeks’ time, acceptance letters will sprout up in mailboxes and inboxes.  The big one came to me an hour before my chemistry final and four hours before my first college summer—an exothermic congratulations that distracted me from packing and protons.  Instead of relief though, my acceptance to Columbia bred more question marks. I’ve made great friends and mentors during the past few months. Do I really want to start all over? Do I really want to play catch-up? When I got to Columbia, these sentiments were ones that many other of my fellow transfers shared.  Maybe for you the decision will be an easy one, but for most of us, the months between submitting our applications and receiving word from admissions found us warming to the schools that first inducted us.

Will staying or leaving help me grow more? Unless you’re a fortuneteller, this is an unanswerable question.  But there are some things you can do to lose fewer hours of sleep over deciding.

Talk to people

Talk to a lot of people, but not everyone.  Talk to teachers and students at both schools, talk to transfers. But most of all, talk to those who have your best interests in mind, who want to see you learn and grow in the best environment possible with the best resources.  For me, these were teachers from both college and high school who helped distill and remind me of why I wanted to transfer, reasons I had explained in my application without understanding their full import.

Weigh the opportunity costs

Knowing what you’ll miss is just as important as knowing what you’ll gain.  I knew if I transferred to Columbia, I’d enter a stronger Classics program, a vibrant music scene in New York.  I also knew that school spirit at Columbia was more elusive than at Georgetown, where a strong basketball team and a surplus of common spaces on campus catalyzed those long-lasting friendships that we all look for. Keeping tabs on these opportunity costs will insure you against regret, which should have no monopoly over your college years.

Think win-win

Whether you leave or whether you return, it’s onward and upward from here so long as you keep working hard and saying “yes” to the opportunities that come your way.  There’s no wrong decision, so have faith in your gut and get excited!