As high school seniors turn the corner to their spring semester, many are faced with the pressure of committing to a college. The stress of applying is over; now is the time where these students are seemingly under the wire to choose where the next four years of their lives will take place.
But what happens when their initial choice is not the ideal collegiate dream they imagined?
As several Verona graduates can attest, the process of transferring schools is both challenging and worthwhile. “It was Florida! Summer all year round sounded amazing,” said Bridget Sullivan, who graduated from Verona High School in 2010, when asked why she chose the University of Tampa. But Sullivan left UT for Rider University after completing freshman year because she wants to teach in New Jersey, and that would be easier if she graduated from a university here.
“Also, I wanted to be able to go home whenever I wanted to and spending $300 plus on flights was very costly,” Sullivan added.
Carly Peterson, VHS ’09, started at James Madison University in Virginia. According to Peterson, a lack of freedom caused by living so far away without a car, and therefore feeling like she could not come and go as she pleased, caused her to transfer after her first semester. Peterson now commutes to Montclair State University and said she is “extremely happy” at MSU after getting involved on campus. That’s something that all the students interviewed for this story stressed. Before you make the choice to leave your current college, make an effort to become involved in campus life there, whether through fraternities, sororities, student groups, or simply new social settings.
“Honestly, [the transfer process] taught me that I can actually handle things on my own and that I’m finally grown up enough to make my own decisions,” Peterson said.
“The transfer process was a little bit stressful,” Smillie said. “It is like re-applying to schools, so in a way I knew what to expect and how to do everything. This time, though, I was doing it alone.” Smillie said she had to explain to professors at Lehigh that she needed recommendations and wanted to leave the school. “I also didn’t have a community going through the same process like we did senior year,” she added.
Alyssa Roshong, VHS ’10, said she had a difficult time balancing her activities, classwork and friends at Keystone College during her transfer to Salve Regina University. “The hardest part about the process is having to hear the criticism and jokes about you leaving,” Roshong said.
Roshong said that despite the struggles that came with the transfer process, she is currently much happier. “In any decision you make, you sacrifice something but in the end if what you gained is better than what you lost it was all worth it,” she added.
Melissa Sluberski, VHS ’10, said she transferred from the University of Rhode Island to Seton Hall University after the fall of her sophomore year because “the distance from home and [her] family became overwhelming.”
“Transferring can give me the opportunity to enjoy myself and my college years without being overwhelmed, anxious, and homesick,” Sluberski said.
Erika Franke, VHS ’10, experienced the transfer process twice. Franke said she enrolled at Monmouth University but never attended, commuted to MSU for two semesters, and now attends Northwest University in Washington. “It has been difficult since I’ve never lived away from home and I guess you can call me a ‘homebody,’ but everyone is still in the same boat if you’ve been at college for two months or three years,” Franke said. “This is the time of our lives where we create our own experiences and go on our own journeys, so I am excited to see what this journey has in store for me,” she added.
Luke Fess, VHS ’09, described his transfer from MSU to Rutgers University as an easy one, and said he felt that MSU was too close to Verona. “The transfer process taught me about patience and made me really reflect on my situation,” Fess said. “I made a pretty big choice in leaving, as it was a pretty big risk and it paid off. It shows that you can change your entire future with one simple decision,” he added. I’m glad I did it though.”
Charlotte Lewis graduated VHS with the Class of 2010 and now attends Seton Hall University.