I am in the process of applying to a four-year college and when you are applying to as many schools as I am, it can get a little stressful. There are so many things that go into picking the perfect school to transfer to. I have learned a couple things in the last few months of applying and to say they saved my life would be an exaggeration but they did help a whole lot.  First off, I am going to borrow a phrase from Phi Theta Kappa, they say “start with the end in mind”. Start by thinking of what you want and the path you would love to see yourself in. Personally, I would like to help underserved families through medicine and one way I can do that is by educating myself about both medicine and healthcare policies because, without insurance, these people can’t get the help they need. That said, in my hunt for schools, I made sure to look for schools that cater to both of my needs. You would be surprised how many schools don’t offer both. Second, since I am applying to a ton of schools, keeping track of deadlines is very important. I am not the most organized person and that helped reduce my stress. it helped me plan ahead and know which ones need my attention right away and which ones can take a back seat for now.

The third way to get through this process is by attending transfer fairs. If you are anything like me, transfer fairs scare you. The thought of having over 20 representatives, in a semi-confined space, present their school to you and tell you why you should go there can be overwhelming. Last year, during transfer fair, I thought I had my mindset on which school I was going to transfer to and then somehow, my list felt irrelevant. This year, I have 13 schools on my list and talking to the representatives almost brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to add more schools but then I wasn’t ready for the extra work that comes with applications.  That said, if you really are like me, you wouldn’t let your fears get the best of you. You would take advantage of bad situations and make it favor your needs. I decided to suck it up and talk to some representatives. I made sure to talk to the ones from the schools that are already on my list and ask questions that are relevant to my application. For example, I asked for application waivers, scholarship opportunities, and for schools like Towson and Morgan, which didn’t require essays, I asked how they were going to determine if I was eligible for any scholarships. Also, I have started submitting my applications and I made sure to ask them if they got it and what else they expect from me. I probably annoyed everyone with my questions and some answers did not fit my needs but the good thing is I asked and now I know. Now I know to cross Coppin off my list because they do not offer international students scholarships and to definitely apply to Penn State because I got a fee waiver. I am an avid believer that everything happens for a reason and even in the most uncomfortable situations, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Now the light might not always be the brightest but at least there’s one. 

Transferring schools might be the most underrated, most stressful experience a college student can go through. Transfer fairs are an amazing opportunity for students to get clarity and nine times out of ten, they will not like the answers given but at least now you know! The transfer fairs happened at all three campuses this week and there is one at the Dundalk campus today till 2pm. I wish this blog came out sooner but if you have a chance, stop by and ask questions. Don’t let your fears take away this once in a semester chance for you and if you missed it, there’s one next semester. 

Lastly, most four-year schools have priority deadlines and that is what you want to look for. if it’s not clear on the website, and you did not get a chance to ask at the fair, email them, and call if you have too. The most important thing is to be confident and remember that the college would be lucky to have a student like you.