Signs Your College May Not Be Right For You

 

College Transfer Article

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Transferring colleges isn’t something to take lightly — depending on your institution and specific circumstances, it can be complicated and difficult. That said, don’t stay at an institution that isn’t fulfilling your needs — academically, socially, and geographically. 

College education is one of the few things that we don’t seem to treat like any other purchased good or service, despite the high cost and the heavy contribution to our future.

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You’re paying. A lot. In exchange for that money, you deserve a great education and a variety of opportunities to go along with campus events and activities in a place you want to be. It can be hard to see past the stress of college classes, though. So, how do you know whether your college is right for you? 

It’s a good question. There are a few things you can ask yourself, but, probably more telling, are a few signs to watch out for that can help you determine whether you’re in the right place.

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You Don't Have to Dedicate Much Time (If Any) to Studying

Think hard about this one. If you’re high school prided themselves on their college prep (like mine did) and you were in AP classes, there’s a chance some of your basic literature classes, history classes, and even math courses aren’t super challenging (especially freshman year). 

It can feel nice to be the smart one, especially in college, but compare yourself to your fellow students, talk to your professor about the difficulty of higher level courses, and evaluate your needs. You’re going to college to learn, to be challenged, to broaden your horizons. If your current institution isn’t providing you with enough academic rigor, it may be worthwhile to look for a college or university that better suits your needs. 

Talk to a professor in your area of study and ask about an honors program, about how challenging upper level courses are, and see about ways to further challenge yourself.

 

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There Aren’t Many Opportunities for Internships, Study Abroad, or Programmatic Clubs

Sometimes the best value for a degree is hands-on learning. Internships, opportunities studying abroad, or clubs specifically for your area of study offer a crucial addition to what’s taught in a classroom. 

Before graduating, you’ll want to participate in at least one internship and contribute something significant to a club or activity. These sorts of things can put you at the top of a resume stack, especially with the ever-demanded experience being so coveted. 

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Exaggeration, obviously, but it can often feel like that. The more you can show real-world experience on your resume post-graduation, though, the easier it should be to get a job. This is where location can truly be key — and where going to school in a town, city, or state where your area of study is in demand can be helpful. 

As a sort of no-brainer rule, attending a college in or near a large, bustling city can offer a broader range of internship opportunities. With so many businesses closely clustered together, there’s often more availability and more chances to get that hands-on experience. 


It all depends on your area of study, though. If you’re looking to major in marine biology, you very likely want to attend  a university somewhere near a large body of water. If it’s automotives you’re interested in, Michigan has a large automotive industry. Find where your industry thrives and go there.

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Home Is Where Your Heart Is (And You, Too)

If you find yourself home a lot or thinking about being home a lot, it may mean that your social needs aren’t being met at your current institution. There are always stand-out circumstances, such as helping out family, that sort of thing, but most college students find themselves absorbed in new friends, campus activities, and more. 

College is designed to be an all-around experience. It’s where you eat, sleep, hang out, and learn. It doesn’t mean you won’t miss home now and again, but if you’d rather be at home than on campus, you might want to consider whether or not you’re at the right institution. 

It’s easy to downgrade this need. You’re at school to learn, not make friends! No. Throw that thought away right in the trash can. You can maybe compost it and make it something better, but it’s gotta go. Making connections, having supportive friends, and feeling that sense of belonging isn’t only good for mental and emotional health, but for your education, as well.

 

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You're Just Not Happy

Maybe your college offers the level of academic rigor you need and maybe it offers club options, as well as plenty to do on campus, but you’re still not happy

Other than just an overall depressed mood, you might notice your grades slipping, an overall disinterest in doing things you’d normally want to do, isolating yourself, chronic oversleeping and overeating, and a variety of other problems. 

Check yourself. Is this you? Even if, on paper, it feels like you’ve picked the perfect college, your feeling is your feeling and you should acknowledge it, remind yourself that it’s valid, and then dig a bit deeper.

Before you go looking for a new institution, it’s really imperative that you figure out why. Ask yourself some questions: 

  • What did I imagine college to be like in high school? 
  • Are there too many people here? Too few? 
  • Am I looking for more to do off-campus, or is it something more I’m craving on campus? 
  • Is my major the problem? Am I interested in what I’m learning? 
  • Do I need to be closer to home, to my support system, or was I dreaming of going farther away? 
  • Do I need to get more involved on campus before making a serious decision? 
  • Am I worried about cost? About job prospects? 
  • What am I missing that would make me happy? 


Remember: asking yourself these questions isn’t about validating your feeling, but rather examining it so you can devise a solution. If that solution is to move to a different institution, you want to choose one that eliminates what’s making you unhappy at your current college. Catch my drift?

In Conclusion: College Costs Too Much Not to Get Everything You Need AND Want

You’re exchanging money for a service — make sure you’re getting what you need to build a solid foundation for your career. 

And, for those out there who need it:

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