Picking a school after you graduate high school is the most stressful, daunting task. You have to weigh all of your options and decide where you will be the most comfortable for the next two to four years — financially, emotionally and socially. The good news is that if you pick wrong or don't get into the school you loved, there is hope!

When I was a freshman in college, I was working 30 hours a week and taking 18 credits, frantically trying to stay out of my room and away from my roommates. By the time winter break rolled around, I panicked getting back on the plane to leave home again and go back to my university. I realized something needed to change. The only thing that got me through the spring semester was the thought of transferring.

There's not one-size-fits-all reason to transfer. 

Hopefully you'll be thrilled with the first school you attend. But if not, even though your situation may not be identical to mine, you could have a thousand other reasons to transfer: You're too far from home. You're too close to home. You want to change your major. You don't have enough opportunity. You're unhappy overall. You're not making friends. You have roommates straight out of a horror movie. Campus isn't fitting you well. If you can’t go 24 hours without considering transferring, get to it.

The transfer process is so much easier than staying and being miserable. But, when you go to pick your new school this time, make sure it checks all of your metaphorical boxes. I transferred to the University of Northern Colorado because it was closer to home (California), had a program I was interested in pursuing (Athletic Training), and one of my good friends from high school was here and had practically picked out my new room in her house with her friends (my new friends). I knew I would be taken care of socially, emotionally, academically and financially (shout out to WUE tuition!). 

Of course, there are times you shouldn't transfer. 

For example: A significant other may sound like a good reason to switch schools, but unless an engagement is in the works, please listen to me as someone who has been there and has the utmost respect for the relationship you may be in: Don't transfer just to be closer to a significant other. Out of my hundreds of friends, I can count on one hand whom that has worked out for. 

If you are seriously considering transferring, here are some tips. 

Try to not bounce the idea off of your roommates or others at your university until you are ready to commit. Don’t cry wolf. But do start checking deadlines (sometimes you can even transfer mid-semester). And do talk to your family and friends who have been watching your struggle from afar.

I am unbelievably glad I transferred; I would not be the person I am today without having gone through that process. I am stronger for acknowledging my problem and moving myself back across the country, something "first-day-freshman-me" would’ve told you wasn’t even possible.

Olivia Ellison


is a senior at UNC majoring in Exercise Science. She plans to earn her Ph.D. and research concussions. In the meantime, she works with UNC's Division I sports teams, participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, answers her friends' requests for advice and goes about 100 miles per hour!