Transfering: Sometimes the Grass Really is Greener

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Charlie Filips was born and raised a Michigan Wolverine. The University of Michigan had been the 20-year-old’s first choice school since he could talk. When he didn’t get accepted during his senior year of high school, Filips went with his second choice, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I started feeling really inferior for not getting in [to U of M] and became really hard on myself,” he said. “I was real homesick all the time.”

After spending two years in Madison, Filips decided to pack up his Badger gear and transfer to the world of maize and blue.

Each year, about 2.5 million college students will transfer universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With over 60 percent of undergrads in the U.S. transferring schools, why is it that so many students are making the move?

The transferring spectrum often ranges from social reasons to more pressing ones like majors offered, family ties and economic instability. For some, like Filips, it’s a lifelong passion for the sports, academics and college life of a single university. For others, like University of Massachusetts-Amherst junior Jessica Heslin, financial strains play a large role. 

Heslin began as a freshman at Hofstra University, a private institution in Long Island  where tuition alone costs upwards of $30,000. Though she loved being part of the proud Hofstra community, Heslin wanted to save money for graduate school and decided to move back home to Massachusetts and attend a public university.

“If one school is not working out for one reason or the other, find a school where you will be able to make the most of it,” said Heslin. “There are thousands of schools to choose from so it is certainly possible to do this.”

In some cases, a student may transfer to what seems to be the perfect university, only to realize the grass was not greener on the other side. That’s what happened to Northwest Missouri State University senior Darleen Denno. Denno transferred from her hometown school of NWMSU to Hofstra, only to transfer back after one year.

Her whole life, she had dreamed about being in the city: “I had graduated [from NWMSU] with my Associate of Science degree and I figured now was as good a time as any to follow my dreams and move to New York,” Denno said.

After attending Hofstra for two semesters, the Missouri native decided she wasn’t being challenged enough academically and moved back to her original university.

“I didn’t have any real friends [at Hofstra] and it was too expensive,” Denno said. “There are certain things about New York that I miss but I’m glad to be back with family and friends.” She admits her biggest mistake was not visiting Hofstra’s campus before making her big decision.

No matter the reason for transferring, students agree that the number one factor should be happiness. “If you are confident that the decision will help make you happier, then do it,” Filips said.

Photo: Kashirin Nickolai at flickr. com

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