Coming out of high school, I was pretty much dead-set on going to Normandale Community College. My high school GPA wasn’t fantastic, and I wanted to save money and could live with my father while attending school. I intended to pursue an associate’s degree in arts with a liberal arts focus. My rationale was that I wanted to get my general education courses out of the way so I wouldn’t have to take any at university. I ended up not only fulfilling that goal, but I also ended up gaining a level of interest in a few subjects I only had moderate interest in prior; as a result of my exposure, I ended up switching my major from Environmental Science to Political Science.
This spring, as my time at Normandale was winding down, and given my lack of experience in researching colleges, I felt quite anxious about my future. It just so happened a week after I started feeling anxious, my school held a transfer fair. Thirty to forty schools sent representatives to talk to prospective students like myself. At the fair, I spoke with Saint Cloud State University (SCSU), Mankato State, Winona State, Hamline University, and Augsburg University. I talked to them about their application process, cost, tuition, and the size of the campus. I received great feedback, which immediately helped me to narrow down the field.
As I began my search, I focused on affordability, statewide reputation, size, and distance from home. I purposely avoided bigger colleges like the University of Minnesota, and while Augsburg and Hamline were among the more respected colleges in Minnesota, the price tag was too much. It came down to choosing between three schools: SCSU, Mankato, and Winona. What gave SCSU a leg up was my encounter with a faculty member working in the Political Science department. She served as a great contact, answering all of my questions over several months. A rather stressful process became less stressful because of her. She told me I had the grades and prerequisites to get into SCSU’s Political Science department, so I sent my transcript, applied, and a few days later was accepted. Since then, I’ve gone through all the paperwork and bureaucratic processes, such as my FAFSA and housing applications. At my advising and registration day, I found out what classes I’ll be taking in the fall, got a short tour of campus, and received my housing assignment.
Overall, I’m pretty much set, aside from the moving in and the getting accustomed part. And as a person for whom anxiety is a daily occurrence, things like FAFSA and loan applications, taxes, and transferring from one school to another cause me great stress. Ultimately, if I could give anyone advice on the transfer process, I’d say that you should definitely weigh your options sufficiently as to not make impulsive decisions, but more important than that, you should try to get into contact with admissions and/or faculty in your intended program. I say this because it truly makes the worry-fest a lot less worrisome in that you can learn what to expect from the program, and get a much better feel for the school than you would have otherwise.