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Student Voices – 9 Pieces of Advice for Transfer Students from Transfer Students

April 26, 2022 Authors: Jennifer Sparks

READ: Toronto #TransferStudent Shares 9 #TransferTips for Transfer Students

ONCAT recently launched a new Community Animators in Transfer initiative in order to provide transfer students an opportunity to share their unique postsecondary experiences. When I saw this, I jumped at the opportunity to become a student storyteller. I wanted to share my own postsecondary education story and learn from the experiences of other transfer students, like myself.

With the support of ONCAT, I had the opportunity to interview students regarding their experiences transferring from one post-secondary institution to another within Ontario. In this blog, I have summarized a few of the insights I gained from talking to transfer students about their distinctive experiences. In this blog, I have highlighted advice from transfer students for prospective transfer students and current transfer students.

Transfer Tips From Students for Students

Don’t be afraid.

Sure, the idea of transferring to another institution may seem new, feel risky at first and involve some work – but following your educational dreams is worth it! As one of the transfer students I interviewed advised, “Don’t be afraid to look outside of the school you are at. There are other options. Other schools are good too. Talk to students who go to other schools. You will have to find your own resources and options... Do what is right for you.”


By self-reflect, I mean, take some time to reflect on your past experiences and your educational goals, passions and career aspirations. Specifically, a transfer student advised, “Really know what you want to do. Don’t waste money and time. Really think about what you want to do and then go for it. Do your homework and research. Map out your career path.”

Research your options.

Before I applied to another school, I researched my transfer options. In talking with other transfer students, I realized that they had done this as well. So, if you are thinking about transferring, spend some time researching your education options. For instance, a transfer student shared, “Check out to know about equivalency. It was a great pre-resource to check out before applying.”

Don’t get bummed.

As a transfer student it is important to stay positive. One student shared that figuring out what credits would transfer was sometimes a challenge. Specifically, the student said that since, “classes have different names, it can be confusing. It can be a bummer. The hardest part is finding information online. You have to a good mindset. Don’t get bummed!”

Ask for help.

A student described that their transfer experience had required them to overcome their shyness about asking for help. In particular, the student described feeling awkward asking school staff information about transfer. However, in their interview, the transfer student expressed that they were so glad that they had the courage to connect with academic advisors on-campus when considering their education options. In particular, this student advised, you need to “find the people you need to help you. And then reach out. Follow up and keep on top of it.”

Keep educational records.

Another student highlighted the importance of keeping educational records. In particular, this student advised others to keep a copy of all of their course syllabi and assignments. They said that having these documents made being assessed for credit equivalency much easier. The transfer student also highlighted that with educational records, “when I went to ask for equivalency course credit, I knew what to share with the staff at [the other school] who were reviewing my application.”

Utilize your supporters.

Several students described how their supporters (i.e. family members and friends) had been instrumental during their transfer experience. For example, a student shared, “A friend of mine told me that they had transferred. They had taken a similar program in university as me and then received exemptions when transferring to college. If it wasn’t for [my friend] I would have taken the whole course. Redone the whole program. I didn’t know about transfer.” Similarly, another student described that during their transfer experience, “I had emotional support from my spouse and my family. I had childcare help from my spouse and family. My boss helped me out too. My boss wrote me a letter to give to [my new school] so that I could be exempted from part of the program’s placement requirement.”

Get involved in campus life.

Several interviewees also advised that transferring to a new school was a transition. To cope with transfer transitions, interviewees advised getting involved on campus. For example, a transfer student said their transition to a new campus was smooth because, “I went to transfer student orientation, academic orientation and became involved in campus life… And also made new connections and friends… I also involved myself with more on-campus activities… to get to know the school community better. This made my college life better.” In addition, another transfer student described that virtually involved in campus life supported their transfer transition. In particular, about their transfer experience a student shared, “My friends…helped me to acclimate to campus. Also, friends I made via social media, who attended [my new school]. They told me where to study and where to go on campus. General advice from real students really helped me. They really supported me.”

Transfer leads to success.

Lastly, all of the students interviewed believed that their transfer journey had led to success.  Overall, transfer students advised that other students could find success through transferring as well. For example, a transfer student shared, “I had a good experience at [my new school]. My other friends who transferred, most got jobs after graduation”. As well, another student described, “My transfer experience was a success. I was able to complete my new program in a shorter period of time. A year shorter because of my prior credits and employment experience.”

In summary, there is so much we can all learn from the experiences of transfer students. I hope that the advice and insights shared in this blog will be helpful to prospective transfer students and current transfer students studying in Ontario. A big thank you to the transfer students with whom I had the pleasure of interviewing. Also, a sincere thank you to ONCAT for their support!

If interested in reading more, check out part two of this blog series, entitled Five Ways Family and Friends can Support Transfer Students. Part two highlights insights from the interviews I held with transfer students and also shares understandings of how family members and friends can support student success during the transfer experience.

Tags: CATs 2021, Student Experience, Transfer Student Voices