Transfer 101: What it’s like to move schools

If sophomore business administration major Emily Duong hadn’t come to Chapman, her whole college experience would have been different, she said. At the University of California at Irvine, Duong’s old school, she felt she was being forced into something that didn’t bring her happiness, she said.

“It was my gut telling me, I just knew I needed something new,” Duong said.

Transferring schools is not uncommon. A third of college students transfer at least once during their college years, according to a 2016 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Transfer students from other four-year schools often come to Chapman seeking a fresh start after a less-than-desirable experience somewhere else. But that new start may carry a price of credits not transferred, complicated paperwork, graduation dates delayed, and the anxiety of beginning anew – initially friendless –  in an unknown place.

“It’s harder than it looks, really,” said Duong. “The process to apply as a transfer is worse than applying as an incoming freshman.”

This fall is Duong’s first semester at Chapman. While she is still learning the ropes and getting acquainted, she’s already glad she took the leap into the unknown.

“I wouldn’t have gotten anything out of my college experience (if I hadn’t transferred),” said Duong. “I wanted to escape the drama I was dealing with. It was ugly, and I was unhappy.

Duong said she felt peer pressure to party by people who did not even love her. She also wished to escape an unhappy and hopeless romantic relationship.

Ava Hedyat, a senior business administration major, also transferred to Chapman seeking a happier college experience.

“It’s been amazing since the start, but lonely,” Hedyat said. “Starting at a new school regardless of your age is hard. It takes a lot of guts to transfer, no one wants to be the freshman again.”

At her old school, the University of Southern California, Hedyat felt pushed into a downward spiral.

“The social scene was an absolute train wreck,” Hedyat said. “I know (transferring) was the right choice and I couldn’t be happier. Even if there are moments when I do miss my old school and the memories I formed there.”

And she has taken steps to alleviate her loneliness: Hedyat is part of the ski club on campus and is participating in sorority recruitment in the spring semester.

The transfer admission office at Chapman works with new students to keep everything as steady as possible. Photo by Karina Cardenas.

Shannon Crogan, the director of transfer admission on campus, said that students have a fear of transferring because credits could be lost, but that doesn’t happen as often as many think.

“Chapman works hard to get all your credits transferred over,” Crogan said. “(We) accept credits from all regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States and internationally. Since we are at a private school, we are able to work with our students a little bit more in-depth and get our hands dirty compared to a public or state school.”

The transfer admission office at Chapman works with new students to keep everything as steady as possible. Transferable courses completed on the semester calendar transfer for the full credit value of the incoming course. This means a five credit language course at another school that is equivalent to a three-credit language course at Chapman, will transfer for five-semester credits, according to Crogan. The only thing Chapman will not accept from transfer students is internship credit, Crogan said.

A  helpful tool for students curious if their credits will transfer is, according to Crogan. The site indicates which courses you’ve taken at your current college will transfer to your new school.

Emily Marcus, a junior strategic and corporate communications major, came to Chapman from the University of California at Davis. Marcus, who eventually wants to become a reporter for E! News, said the reputation of the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts lured her to Chapman.

“Chapman is known for their film school and journalism, it’s hard to pass up an amazing opportunity like that,” Marcus said. “Plus, my prior school didn’t really check all my boxes of what I wanted in a school.” She feels certain the education she is getting here will help her in her post-college career.

Like Hedyat and Duong, Marcus has no regrets about transferring to Chapman.

“Being in a film school that is ranked number six among American film schools feels incredible,” Marcus said. “I know I’m meant to be here.”

Hedyat said that she knew Chapman was the right place for her from the start.

“I didn’t feel like just a number like you do at a huge school,” she said. “After coming to Chapman, everything has fallen into place.”

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