Advice to Transfer Students From a Transfer Student

Advice to Transfer Students From a Transfer Student

Pro tips from someone who's been there and done that.

Being a transfer student can be extremely intimidating. Whether you're coming from another university campus or a smaller community college, you're entering a new environment with different trends, attitudes, beliefs, customs and you have to adjust. It sounds scary, but if you know what to do, you'll be able to tackle the transfer process like a pro:

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1) Know Your Credit Count: Different schools have different class structures and classes that counted as a science credit in your previous college could only transfer as an elective at the new campus. A good thing to do is pull up your transcripts as they appear at the new university and see what they specifically transferred as. I had my College Algebra class transfer as a developmental math class that didn't count tward any sort of math credit needed for my business minor (very frustrating, but nothing that could be done about it). Know the credit count and which classes you need to take.

2) Plan Your Entire Schedule Yearly. I really wish I had done this. It saves so much stress. Go into the Degree Evaluation and look into the major(s) and minor(s) that you are pursuing and map out in a document or on a sheet of paper the different semesters you have left, amount of years you have to complete the requirements and which classes you'll opt to take in which semester. This also helps determine the prerequisites and co-requisites that you need to take before or with a class.

3) Take a Mix of Classes: Don't take all of your core classes in one semester and all of your electives in another. Core classes that specifically apply to your major are always more challenging, so a mix of cores and electives is a must if you want to maintain your sanity.

(Photo via The Guardian)

4) Know the Paperwork You Need to Fill Out: This comes in handy in case anything happens with your classes or credits. You can override into classes through the deans of the different schools and challenge the credit that a course counts for if you fill out the subsequent paperwork. For example, my biology class and lab were counting as electives initially, but after filling out paperwork and talking to the right people, I got them to count for my science requirement.

5) Befriend Your Advisor: This will definitely help you in the long run, and if they aren't helpful you can switch (with the right paperwork). I've been lucky enough to have excellent advisors for my major and minor (find one for both and it'll simplify any confusing aspects of organizing classes) and have succeeded in getting my future career figured out because of it

6) Summer Classes are Your Best Friend: As are Maymester classes. If your credit count isn't up and you're eager to graduate by a certain date, these summer classes can put you ahead of the game.

7) You Can Avoid Your Hard Classes: With the right tactics, of course. I had to fulfill my accounting requirement and knew if I took it at my university it would be challenging. So I took it at the local community college over the summer to have it count as that credit. Transferred classes do not count toward your GPA, and you only have to get a C or higher for it to transfer. Further, I HIGHLY encourage that if you take this option, access the VCCS transfer credit guide (most schools have one that you can ask the registrar for or just search on the school website). It tells you what the name of the community college class is that counts as the university equivalent. For example, my accounting class at CNU was called something different at the community college. You have to ensure you're taking the right course or it won't count for the class you want it to count for.

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8) Don't Stress About the Future: My advisors tell me they have senior come into their offices all the time that don't know hat they want to do after graduation. Do not allow the mystery of your career scare you out of concentrating on your studies. Lots of people don't know what they'll do all the way up to when they're walking the stage. However, it is excellent to have a major and/or minor (minors are NOT required!) picked and set-in-stone by the end of your junior year.

9) Don't Be Afraid to Take an Extra Semester: Being a super senior isn't so bad. The only reason I'm desperate to graduate by June is because I want to get cracking on my MBA. I originally was going to take an extra year, but I shaved off the 2 semesters with 15-credit semesters and Maymesters. Which leads me to my last point...

10) Don't Take Course Underloads: It hurts you more than helps you (sometimes, not always). I had to take 2 W's in Chemistry and it dropped me to a 10 credit semester (with the right paperwork I got away with it). Further, I took mere 12 credit semesters in my easier class days, which was not wise. Now I'm taking calculus, finance and writing intensive courses in the same semester, and it's bound to be incredibly challenging. I suggest taking 15-credit course loads in your early years to ensure those later years can be dedicated to 12-credit semesters that don't blow your face off with frustration, anxiety and lots of late night sobbing.

Being a transfer student was a blessing for me and it very well can be for you to. Start right and you won't face some of the above challenges that I was faced with. I know this can be a lot of information, but if you plan out your years in college, you can have a much more enjoyable college experience.

Have any questions regarding the transfer process or need advice? Follow me on my social channels below, or leave a note in the comments!

Cover Image Credit: TheGuardian.com

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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