Being a college transfer student — should I stay or should I go?

June 13, 2022


Whenever I’m identified as a transfer student, I am asked the same three questions: Why did you decide to transfer?; Was the process difficult?; and, Did you feel like you missed out on the “Freshman experience?” These questions are usually asked with the hopes of receiving a quick yes or no answer, but the reality is a little more complex than that. So to shed some light for those who may be going down a similar path (over 1 million students every year), here’s the rundown of how I got from point A to point B, and then to point C.

When I was in high school, there were four colleges I knew I wanted to apply to: Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Michigan State University. I applied to all of them but never expected to find myself enrolled in a community college. Due to health concerns, I attended my first two years at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) with little choice. And although I loved it and was grateful to have all in-person classes my first year, I knew I couldn’t stay there forever. I needed to transfer to another school after completing my associate's degree. Transferring after two years of comfort and familiarity wasn’t going to be easy, but I was ready for the challenge. 

Having a conversation with my WCC counselor about where I would go next was an encouraging experience. In the past, I had doubted my intellectual and educational abilities and was told that I wouldn’t get into the University of Michigan without a perfect GPA, attendance, and community involvement. But this time around, my counselor helped me explore all my options and made sure to prioritize my personal needs. With my newfound optimism, I resorted back to my high school dream, UM-Dearborn. I strived to be in a tight-knit diverse community with an intimate classroom setting and a location that was close to home. The 300-person lecture halls were not for me.

The educational aspect was an easier process than I anticipated. Most of my credits were transferable, I continued to follow my major, and the financial aid office helped me with expenses. And once I got to UM-Dearborn, there were so many resources, departments, and individual mentors that made the first week go incredibly smooth. CRUISE to Success for incoming freshman and transfer students, my counselor, and the Wolverine Mentor Collective were there for me every step of the way, just to name a few. Having four different colleges on campus, College of Business, College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, College of Education, Health, and Human Services, and College of Engineering and Computer Science, also helped me to make a distinction between the buildings. (Not to mention, the campus is beautiful). 

In terms of missing out on my “Freshman year experience,” it didn’t feel like that was the case. When I transferred, I knew I wanted to get involved as much as possible. Outside of grade school, I never joined a club and wanted to build friendships that would last long after I graduated. So, I went out of my comfort zone and did some organization hunting. I interviewed with multiple groups and associations which aligned with my goals and desires and found the harmony I was searching for. Students and professors welcomed me with open arms whenever I showed the slightest interest. Talking to as many people as I could definitely paid off. Whether it’s complimenting someone’s shoes, holding the door, or explaining a lesson to your classmate, it makes all the difference. 

Since we are also a commuter campus, there are fewer opportunities to meet students off-campus than at universities with dorm life. But participating in events, meetings, and organizations is a great way to become involved and spend your time creating connections at Dearborn. 

I never thought I would be able to transfer to the University of Michigan-Dearborn. When my advisor told me I could 100% go to UM-Dearborn I genuinely couldn’t believe it. Since arriving, I’ve met so many new people and have garnered multiple new perspectives on life. I am so thankful to have the amazing experience UM-Dearborn has blessed me with and am excited to see what my senior year will bring.


Blog post written by Bella Porbe


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