Sometimes, the school you picked isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe the culture just doesn’t mesh with you, or maybe you realize after a few months that you want to be studying something completely different.
The thought of transferring crosses your mind. And then the thoughts of all you’d have to do – paperwork, credit juggling, and the process of making new friends all over again – flood your brain. My expert advice (I’m a self-proclaimed expert, of course) is to give your school a fighting chance before you go through the grueling process of transferring. But if you’re really unhappy, a change can be well worth it.
There are many different options when it comes to your education, some of which you might never knew existed. Here are a few different routes you can take on your path to academic success and happiness:
• Four-Year College
It might be a public university or it might be a private school, but places are handing out bachelor’s degrees like candy these days (well, if you do the work, anyway). This is probably the type of school most of you are in and the type to which most of you would consider transferring. There are zillions of them, so do your research and really know what you want—don’t just transfer because your boyfriend goes there.
• Career College
If you know exactly what you want to do and you’re on the fast track to doing it, consider a career college. Some of them can be just as pricey as liberal-arts colleges, but they may not keep you there for the full four years, and when you’re done, you’re basically set to get a job or apprenticeship in your field. A quick way to check out your options is to visit a site like CollegeSurfing.com, which lets you search for schools by career interest.
• Technical School
A little bit like a career college, a technical school preps you for employment in a specific line of work. Most of the programs are only two years long, so you’ll be able to graduate before all your friends and start raking in the dough while they’re still paying off loans. Common technical-school programs include management, beauty, culinary arts, and trades like welding. The U.S. Department of Education gives you a few tips to keep in mind when trying to choose a technical school, such as making sure the institution is accredited.
• Vocational School/Trade School
Vocational school is closely connected with apprenticeship programs and is likely to give you a lot of on-the-job training. It also prepares you for a specific line of work, but the difference is that most vocational-school programs are non-academic and primarily require you to work with your hands. You can go to vocational school to learn how to be a mechanic or a blacksmith, for example, although the term has branched out considerably to now encompass careers in cosmetics and other fields as well. Explore what’s available from the vocational-school world at this directory.
Obviously, there are other options – dropping out and open a cupcake bakery, for example – but if you want to earn that degree or certificate, you’ll likely be hitting up one of the above. Before you go, though, get to the root of why you’re transferring, and make sure it’s the right decision for you. You want to make sure to make an informed decision this time so you don’t have to do the Transfer Shuffle again!
Just remember that transferring should be primarily motivated by an academic choice. If you’re going through a tough time with friends or boys or making your mark on a campus, trying on a new school for size isn’t likely to solve all your problems (that’s what chocolate is for).
We at CC want you to be happy, and part of that includes finding the school that fits your needs best, so if you’re not there, go forth and explore!