Let me preface by stating that I am not transferring from DePaul. It is my lucky roommate that is taking the plunge into unchartered territory and dropping this glorious waste of money which we call the largest private Catholic school in the nation. And after much back and forth talk, we decided that it is a good plunge regardless of the high risk factor that comes with it.
My roommate, Johanna, is a sophomore in college with a major track in Public Relations and Advertising. Claiming the same major, it has been clear to me throughout the past two years that we did not share the same passion for the profession. Johanna’s interests were in fashion, celebrities, and all the glamour of entertainment world while I was more attracted to humanitarian communications and B2B work (this makes me seem increasingly more interesting than Johanna… I know). Anyway, while PR is necessary in all fields, Johanna was not taken to the job description even though she is great with people and could have more or less rocked a public relations position. She wanted to be a fashion merchandise manager.
We knew two things immediately:
- DePaul University was in no way, shape or form the right school for anything fashion related.
- Chicago was not the right city to go into fashion.
Argue as much as you want, Chicago is not a fashion forward city. And that is absolutely fine as far as I am concerned; the city has enough claims to fame. We have style; we don’t have the thriving industry.
After visiting Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Parsons New School of Design in New York City, Johanna came to some conclusions about her next steps in life and I was given an eye opening experience to the world of a transfer.
Here is my advice for students considering transferring to a new college.
- Do it for the RIGHT reasons. You generally do not transfer colleges to find new or more friends, have better dorm rooms, have a higher male to female ratio (must be nice) or for better weather. If you are going to transfer, I would hope it is because your school does not have an adequate program for your major or because you believe you will have better opportunities in a different location (as in you are moving out of the sticks to a city university). More than likely transferring schools means that you will spend either an extra semester or year in college which means more money spent on your education. Make the right choice this time and seriously consider the implications and opportunities.
- Schedule an appointment with admissions & get the full tour. Pretty basic advice. Admissions will tell you everything you need to know about the school, whether that is social events, dorm life, academics, the library hours, sports team records, tuition, and internship and job placement stats. The tour of the campus is additionally important because you will get the lay of the land and see the quality of the facilities.
- Take a good look at the school’s transfer credit policy. You could get royally screwed on this one. If you go to a quarter system school like DePaul, you are going to have a wonderful time transferring anywhere. I say this with extreme sarcasm because as many of you know, a quarter does not equal a semester. I believe the general rule of thumb is that a quarter credit counts as 2/3 of a semester credit which seems like a fun way to calculate the amount of learning that you have received. Regardless of the system, check with both your current school and the transferring school on exactly how your credits will transfer over and what will count as Gen Eds. I guarantee that Psychology of Fairy Tales class you had to take to fulfill some freshman experiential learning requirement will not transfer over as anything relevant. But you will know that Little Red Riding Hood is really just another example of Freudian psychology. Thank the lord.
- Be prepared for risk. Johanna is moving to New York City in two months when our lease is up and she has completed her Associates degree from DePaul. Because she realized that she was not happy with her current major after fall admission deadlines for FIT, she has to wait to apply in the spring. This means that she will be moving to NYC, working in the fashion industry over the summer, and hoping that she gets admitted into her transfer school. There is a high risk in the path she is taking but I believe that NYC is where she needs to be in order to really succeed in the fashion industry. She has the guts to move out there by herself before she even gets into her school and those guts are going to help her accomplish something. Sometimes you have to take the risk to win it all.
Good luck to transfer students. If you are on the decision see-saw right now about whether or not transferring is right for you, ask yourself where you see your career heading. If you have a clear vision that is not being met at your current school, it might be time to start looking elsewhere – and not just anywhere, find a school located in the heart of the action with the best program you can afford.
It’s spring renewal time ladies & gentleman – let’s get rollin’.