How to Maximize a Shorter Time at a 4-Year University

November 1, 2021

For transfer students, the time spent on campus can be as short as one or two years. Here’s how to make the most of your experience.

UM-Dearborn students play pool at The Union
The Union, one of three off-campus housing facilities, offers the opportunity to form bonds among Dearborn Wolverines.

You know the saying: Time flies when you’re having fun. When you’re at a university that meets all of your needs — the picturesque campus, a diverse student body, accessible world-renowned professors and unique extracurricular activities — graduation seems to arrive in the blink of an eye. Transfer students understand this sentiment more than anyone. Students transitioning to a new university just a few semesters shy of earning their bachelor’s degree often feel an added pressure to make the most of their limited time at their new campus. If you can relate, consider these three tips for making your experience a successful and memorable one.

1. Build your support team.
At every college or university, there are faculty and staff members who are considered resident experts of their respective departments — seek them out, stat. Career services advisors, admissions counselors and financial aid officers are all available to support you through your college experience and beyond. They’ll help take the guesswork out of completing the enrollment process, filing your FAFSA, applying for internship and job opportunities and more. Advisors can also connect you with supportive resources that otherwise may not be on your radar. At University of Michigan-Dearborn, our advisors are the gatekeepers for the most enriching programs the university has to offer. Faculty and staffers not on advising teams also offer valuable perspectives to guide you along the way. Attend office hours to foster relationships with professors that can blossom into enriching mentorships with esteemed professionals with a wealth of knowledge in their respective fields.

2. Get involved. 
The key to meeting new people and developing new experiences is becoming active within your campus community. Joining clubs, sports teams or professional organizations can help. Not only will you be able to network with individuals whose interests and values align with your own, but you’ll also build your resume while you’re at it! UM-Dearborn makes getting involved on campus simple. VictorsLink, our online hub for all student organizations, will help you see that the opportunities to get active on campus are endless. 

3. Explore your new campus.
At a commuter campus like UM-Dearborn, it’s easy for new students to fall into the habit of heading to campus strictly for classes, then turning around and heading right back home. We say, linger a little! Not only is campus a serene place filled with quiet spots perfect for study sessions and a chance to get ahead on your coursework, it’s also the place to forge lifelong friendships with fellow classmates and mentoring relationships with faculty and staff. Keep an eye on bulletin boards for event announcements. Build up the courage to introduce yourself to students gathering at McKinley Cafe, our campus dining hall. And if it fits within your financial means, consider living at one of our three nearby housing complexes. There, you’ll have the opportunity to share a living space with fellow Dearborn Wolverines for an experience that can be likened to living in a dorm. Whatever you decide, the bottom line is this: One of the best ways to make the most of your campus experience — is to experience campus as best you can.