Each year, about 2.2 million students apply as first-years to colleges and universities across the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In the United States alone, there are over 7,000 post-secondary institutions. With that kind of choice, it can be hard to pick the right college or university on the first try.
Three Keene State College students spoke up on what it was like to transfer after realizing that the first college they chose wasn’t the right one for them.
Sadie Wright, who plans on graduating from KSC in May 2019, attended River Valley Community College (RVCC) for a year and a half before coming to KSC for the spring 2017 semester.
Wright said that attending a community college was the cheapest option for getting her general education classes out of the way.
“[RVCC] is just one building. Finding my way around at KSC is a little harder,” Wright said. “I transferred to KSC because I was running out of classes that I could take at RVCC and [KSC] has a lot more options for me to choose from.”
At KSC, Wright is continuing to work towards a biology degree.
“My plan since I started college is to be a veterinarian,” Wright said. “A degree in biology will give me a good start and will look good on veterinary school applications.”
As a transfer student, Wright said that she is enjoying her classes so far, but adapting to a new college and meeting new people is the hardest part.
However, Wright is enjoying the change of pace as far as teaching styles go at KSC.
“… being a transfer student, you get to see how different professors from different colleges teach and gradually learn the teaching styles that fit you best,” Wright said.
KSC sophomore Ashley Chapman initially chose to go to Curry College in Massachusetts when she graduated high school.
Chapman said that she wanted to get out of New Hampshire.
“It was very close to Boston. I figured since the college was so close to the city, there would be lots to do in my spare time and on the weekends,” Chapman explained. “They also offered me a great amount in scholarship.”
In spite of her initial thoughts on the school, Chapman quickly realized that Curry College wasn’t right for her.
“Curry [College] had very low student involvement, and no feeling of community,” Chapman said. “It seemed like no one was proud of their school, and everyone left on the weekends to go home.”
Chapman said that she often found herself lonely on campus. “I did not live close like many people, so traveling home each weekend like everyone else was a hassle for not only myself, but my family and friends who came to get me.”
After talking with a few KSC students and alumni, Chapman said that she gathered a good feeling when she was in the process of looking at schools again.
Chapman added, “[KSC] has a wonderful sense of community, and that was what I was looking for in a college. Ever since I transferred, I have been much happier and excited to be on campus. I could not be more excited about all of the opportunities Keene has to offer that I did not find at Curry. It was a great choice to transfer.”
But for Chapman, the benefits that came from transferring were not immediate.
“The hardest thing that I encountered transferring to Keene was the fact that everyone already had a group of friends,” Chapman said. “By coming in later than everyone else, I missed the orientations with the rest of my class and all of the beginning of the year bonding. The first few weeks [I was here] were very hard, and I felt isolated sometimes not knowing anyone.”
Chapman explained that after she started to become more involved, she was able to meet people and start building her home at KSC.
With that being said, Chapman said that her semester at Curry College gave her a better appreciation for the community that KSC offers.
Chapman explained, “I think one of the best things about being a transfer, at least in my case, is having a different kind of appreciation for the school… By knowing that some colleges are not as lucky to have all of these opportunities and activities to participate in makes me appreciate everything that Keene does offer.”
Chapman said that transferring to KSC was the best thing she could have done for herself.
KSC transfer student Emma Ayotte plans on graduating in May 2018.
Before coming to KSC, Ayotte attended the Young Americans College of the Performing Arts (YACPA) in Corona, California.
Ayotte said that she initially chose YACPA because of its intense music program and opportunities.
“After high school, I wasn’t sure exactly what direction I wanted to take in terms of career choice,” Ayotte explained. “I grew up doing musicals and playing music, so I knew YACPA would be a good place for me and would also give me an opportunity to see if I wanted to make music my career or follow another one of my interests.”
After six semesters at YACPA, however, Ayotte decided that an education major was the path that she wanted to take.
“While I enjoyed making music, I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to do. While studying at YACPA, I had the opportunity to teach children music, and I found passion in that,” Ayotte said. “I knew how strong [KSC]’s education program is, so I knew it would be a good fit for me.”
According to Ayotte, the difference in faculty involvement was huge between campuses.
“[KSC]’s faculty is a lot more involved in student life than at my previous school. Communication is a lot easier and clearer, and the support and understanding that I feel I receive from all my teachers is enormously helpful,” Ayotte said.
Ayotte said that starting over at a new school was bittersweet for her.
“The best part of transferring is you get to relive the wonder of being new on campus, making new friends, discovering things to do at your school [and] finding new clubs or sports to join. College flies by, and getting a chance to reintroduce myself to it has been a great adventure,” Ayotte explained.
On the other hand, Ayotte added, “The hardest part of transferring is starting over. Leaving friends and the comfort I found at my old school was really hard, and I do miss it most days, but the friends I have found here have made the whole process better.”
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at email@example.com