A welcome to transfer students, and advice just for you

By Danielle Gaines

I’ve never been one that gets scared by new situations – or admits it after the fact – but when I first transferred to the University I experienced what I will call a healthy apprehension. I knew everything at my old college: useless trivia, campus celebs, sports stats and so on. But arriving here I realized that I knew so little about a campus and community that is so big.

When first meeting people in classes – or even the bars – one of the first questions I was often asked was “What year are you?”

“Eeks! What do I say?!” I would think. “I am a junior, but that doesn’t mean that I will be able to relate with the experiences of juniors who have gone here all three years!”

Though all transfer students may not be able to relate to the above situation, I do have advice that will make the transition to campus loads easier.

Ask questions! It is impossible to move beyond the knowledge of the average freshman if you don’t. It sounds so cliche, but no question is a dumb question when you are trying to assimilate quickly. I’ve bored people to death with question after question about the most mundane things about campus and the community.

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Jump right in! You have no time to waste! Join a club, organization or even The Daily Illini staff instantly if you want to get a lot accomplished in a short period of time! You can also sign up for volunteer hours at the Office of Volunteer Programs to help out just when you have time, but still forge your way into influential social networks. Don’t forget to get out there on the town, too!

Befriend a professor first semester. Seriously, this may seem like a lame or misplaced piece of advice, but it might be the most important for students planning on attending graduate school. Ideally you should be applying to graduate schools during the summer before or the fall semester of your senior year. Letters of recommendation from your previous college and the University are equally important in wowing admissions boards. You should make sure to create a meaningful relationship with at least one professor who could write a glowing recommendation first semester just in case something – like a bad case of mononucleosis – keeps you from forging such a relationships in your spring semester.

Verify, verify, verify! Your academic standing, that is. It should be clear by now that you only have a short period of time on campus to make your mark, so be sure that your most memorable campus event is not missing your scheduled grad date because you took courses that didn’t go towards your degree!

Read this entire guide. No joke! It really will help you out! And then you will be ahead of most every student!

College is that time in life when you make mistakes, decide whether or not to fix them, become carefree, become careful, and make waves. Everyone will figure out on their own what will work best for them, but I wish you all the best of luck on campus!