How to survive transferring to a new college

By Maxine Cohen

Comment Contributor


Pillow? Check. Shower shoes? Yep. Snacks for late night study sessions? Of course. Suitcase that finally zipped after sitting on it, filled with clothes you might never wear? Check. Cell phone? Don’t know why that was written down, (as if anyone functions without it) check.

Finally finished and ready to go back to school. Except this time, things are slightly different. A new school, new teachers, new buildings, classmates, roommates, things are starting to seem overwhelming.

But thinking about it, this will be a breeze. You’ve already done college.

Being a transfer, you feel like you have a leg up on the incoming class. In a sense, you do.

Yet with this new university, everything seems alien. Funny how regardless of those past two semesters as a fumbling freshman, you still feel like one. Transferring will do that to you.

Originally you thought you would fall in love with your first pick and the idea of switching never would cross your mind. But here you are, reorganizing your new dorm room and explaining to the random roommate(s) why you transferred.

You’re going to be doing that a lot. For whatever reason, you decided to give yourself a new start, so you’re here now trying to get a feel for the campus.

The new college lingo will throw you off, like how Flynn Dining Commons is referred to as Tilly. Who decided that one?

The social vibe will be drastically different. Personally, coming from a city school in downtown to a close knit suburb community, I found myself struggling to find something to do on Friday nights.

After the first week, you might start comparing how this new university stands against your old one. You might even feel like you’ve made a mistake, wondering ‘is it too late to go back?’

Have no fear, transfer. We’ve all been there. New adjustments take time.

I remember it being hard finding my place at Bridgewater State University when it seemed like there wasn’t a spot for me. When everyone has their own friends, where do you come in?

Leaving freshman year, only to seemingly repeat it,  a lot of trial and error occurred to determine the best way out of this limbo.

As a fellow transfer, I want to make sure you feel that you made the right decision. Here are three tips that will make the transition smoother.


  1. Say hello. It might seem silly to mention this, but it’s the most important tip. You’re never going to meet new people by being tight-lipped. We all want to be that mysterious person that draws in others but let’s save that for cliché romantic novels. Start a conversation and don’t be shy. You might not instantly have a heart to heart with your new BFF, but you will start making connections. That’s how friendships begin.
  2. Get involved. It’s the biggest saying that college orientations bombard you with. As annoying as it was, your Orientation Leaders were right. If you’re not the type to start up random conversations, join something. Getting involved is the easiest way to find people that you have similarities with. It also gives you a sense of place on campus. Thankfully BSU has a vast collection of activities to choose from.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try new things that push you. It might not work out but at least you’ll never wonder ‘what if.’ Once you’ve grasped that things take time to develop, you won’t feel rushed that you aren’t making the most of your new experience. Be confident that you’ll find your place at BSU, and soon that transfer anxiety will be a faint memory.


Whether as a freshman or transfer, everyone’s felt like an outsider at one point. It might seem like the impossible to overcome this limbo.

But I assure you, it’ll happen. Soon you’ll wake up in the morning wondering why you didn’t transfer sooner.

Maxine Cohen is a contributor to The Comment. Editor-in-Chief Kayla Lemay edited this story. Follow her on Twitter @klemay123, or email her at

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