Being a Member of the Third: The Transfer Stigma
Growing up in a time in which it is pushed heavily upon us that “college years are the best times of our young lives,” there is a stifling amount of pressure on students to enjoy college and treat our initial decision of where to attend university as irrevocable. But what the chants at orientation and video montages of parties do not tell future attendees, is that not all students end up happy with their choice of college. Too often students feel pressure to tough it out, or the passé, “give it another year,” because transferring is wrongly tethered to a notion of giving up. However, according to a 2015 study done by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 37.2% of college students surveyed, transferred universities. There is an abundance of societal pressure to love your school, and when you are dissatisfied it is easy to feel as though you are doing something wrong. But when one third of people are transferring, not all of us can be doing something wrong.
College pride is amplified in a generation of students that bleed their institution. It is stickered to their cars, on every distressed t-shirt they own, and most importantly, constantly shoved in your face online. The fact of the matter is however, some schools are not the right fit for the student. As a transfer myself, I was unhappy at a small, private college in a city that was deemed “dying” by Forbes. I tried hard to stay at a school that could not have been any less right for me. My second thoughts were muffled by tailgate photos of students covered in their academia’s merchandise. It is easy to buy into the online chronicle catered towards college die-hards, but knowing the statistics makes one much less vulnerable when considering switching schools.
For some, staying at an ill-fitting school can be dangerous. Being unable to embrace a university can stunt academic performance and prevent social development. The simple solution of transferring can no longer be interpreted as a cop-out. Instead, it should be welcomed as an exciting new step that furthers a student’s academic journey. A high school decision is not set in stone. And if that were the case, many of us be living with devastating consequences of those premature decisions, like Soffe shorts and side bangs. And no one wants that.
This blog post was written by PRSSA member Megan Swick.