Finally getting into my dream school should have wiped away all the stress of the past two years in community college, but it hasn’t. There are numerous reasons as to why students choose to transfer schools. In my case there were a few factors. I had been living in-state for just barely a year before becoming a freshman and I most likely would have been charged an out-of-state rate at universities. I also knew I needed to save money as I wouldn’t be able to afford four to five years at a traditional university. This led me to attending my local community college and taking all the required courses in order to attend my dream university: a public ivy league school who specializes in my major of architectural engineering.
My freshman and sophomore years of college have revolved around keeping a GPA above a 3.9 and completing all the prerequisites in order to be accepted. After months of crafting two tedious essays, I finally submitted my application at the end of February. I had also submitted applications to two other colleges as a safety net, both of which are good schools, but are not considered public ivy leagues. While the two other schools accepted me quickly, offering resources and pleasant congratulations from the deans, I still wasn’t hearing back from my first choice. As the end of my semester approached I grew more worried, as did the thousands of other transfer students who applied to the same school. Looking through public forums for transfer applicants, I realized we all were waiting for a reply from this university who so readily replied to freshman students months prior.
If freshman students heard back at a reasonable time after submitting their application, what was the disconnect with transfer students? I did some more digging online in order to appease my nervous mind, only to become more stressed. This particular university, with all of its praise and high rankings, has a history of treating transfer students as second class to freshman. While freshmen hear back in a timely manner, are generally guaranteed dorms and allowed first picks in classes, transfer students were treated the complete opposite. The deadline for transfers to be notified of their acceptance or denial was June 15, while most other universities required us to submit our enrollment by May 1st. The week leading up to May was nail biting; every hour I was waiting for an email that would seal my fate. At that point, I didn’t need an acceptance notification, I just needed an answer so I could plan on attending another school if need be. To my disappointment, no answer came for me and my peers. Now I had to accept another school’s offer in order to hold my spot, a process that would have been unnecessary if I had just gotten a timely answer.
Since I was still in the dark regarding my enrollment, I had to prepare for the worst. The school that I enrolled in had some different class requirements for transfers, so I signed up for a summer class I would theoretically need. This was under the pretense that I could drop it if I were accepted to the esteemed university before class began. Class started the week of June 15, a Saturday, with the Wednesday of that week being census day. Up until Sunday I prayed and prayed that I would hear back so I didn’t have to lose money in order to drop the class, or worse, take this undesirable upper division math course over the length of my summer. Monday came and no word, so I begrudgingly attended class. It was looking like I’d be spending vacation solving matrices and buying another textbook. I spent Tuesday evening in complete disgruntlement, muttering about how unprofessional this university was treating all of the transfer students who applied. Through my heavy rant, my finger slipped on the refresh page of the university’s browser, revealing the words “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted!”
I was overjoyed and surprised that I had gotten into one of the most competitive schools in the state. When it came time to accepting them, however, I had a moment of hesitation. Should I attend this school who decided to notify me four days before their deadline? Will I be getting a dorm or will their "freshmen first" policy leave me with two months to find an apartment? Since transfer orientation is after all the freshmen orientations, will all the classes I need to register for be full? With all these uncertainties, I still chose my dream school. The exceptional architectural engineering program that will forge my future outweighed the wrenching process of getting in and the uphill battle I have ahead of me.
After accepting, I was faced with the challenges I knew would come after. I had to withdrawal my enrollment from the other university and drop my summer class, for which I did not get a full refund. I found that my housing contract offered from the university is supplemental, meaning I will be staying in a dorm in an in-between space while waiting for someone to hopefully cancel their contract of a traditional dorm room. The classes that I need to take are almost all full or waitlisted, save a few. All I can do is hope that I have classes to take this upcoming semester that won’t push back my already one year delayed degree plan. I’m not alone in these issues. I have no doubt that my peers who are also transferring are facing the same struggles, which brings into question: why does an esteemed public ivy league university treat its transfer students so poorly? I hope that during this upcoming semester I will be able to understand the answer to this question.
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