Why I Transferred Colleges + My Experience

One of the most common questions I get asked is why I decided to transfer from a Big10 university and why I would want to commute to GVSU.

As a lot of you know, I went to the University of Iowa and from the second my campus tour started, my mom looked at my dad and whispered, “She’s already packed her bags.” And it’s true, I had. Any college that I would look at next would have to beat Iowa and any school that I had previously toured just couldn’t compare. 

I applied, was accepted, and ended up with the most ideal roommate situation. One being one of my best friends from Wisconsin and one being someone I never met. I had the best of both worlds. (*cues Hannah Montana music*)

I went through all of the things that make it a true Big10 experience. I rushed a sorority, I tailgated in the early morning, I went out with my friends late at night. But honestly, part of me just wasn’t fully there. I wasn’t really homesick, but I wasn’t feeling like I was building a home at Iowa.

During my Winter break, it really started to hit me. My family had moved into our new house in Grand Haven and I remember laying in my bed with my dog, listening to Christmas music and thinking, “Oh my God, I don’t think Iowa is where I’m supposed to be.”

And I started freaking out. Bad.

“I can’t change schools.” “No one does that.” “Where would I even go??”

These thoughts kept running through my head, and one day while out running errands with my mom I asked if she would drive past Grand Valley State University. She was shocked, but happily drove that way home.

I had previously applied and been accepted to GV when I was in high school, and I even had family who had previously attended there. But I never toured and basically crossed it off my list after my Iowa tour.

We drove through and I fell in love. I remember getting so excited on the drive – I could have class downtown in the city and on a traditional campus. It was still a big school, so I wouldn’t be losing that big college feel I learned to love at Iowa. I felt confident that my top two majors would be really good here, as their health science and business programs were ranked really well.

When I got home, I was still on the fence. I didn’t want to have to make new friends and feel like the new kid all over again. And I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be commuting to college. Living right by the lakeshore, it’s a straight shot to campus and takes me less than 20 minutes to get there, so it made sense to live at home and not in an apartment. Plus, I would be saving a ton of money being in state for tuition purposes and not having to pay for housing. But, I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to be literally living under my parents roof again. I wanted my freedom.

A lot of big events happened in the months leading up to my final decision to transfer and I was heartbroken telling all of my friends at Iowa the news. I didn’t want to stay at Iowa, but I did want to take them all with me. A lot of the girls in my sorority were really sweet and supportive and I’m glad I can still call them my sisters. My friends from my hall were insanely incredible and I love still getting all the updates from them on what’s new with my 7th floor fam.

When I got home, I had a message waiting for me from my new school. My advisor from GV literally called my home phone to make sure I was all settled in and ready to go for my transfer orientation. I was so touched and knew that I was making the right decision.

Now, I’m not going to lie. The first few months were a little rough. Meeting people as a commuting transfer student was harder than I thought. But, I joined Love Your Melon, started hanging out with people outside of class, and ended up having a really great sophomore year.

Living at home is not so bad either. I’m lucky that I’m really close with my family, so that definitely helps. But if I want to go out with my friends, my parents get it and have been amazing about really giving me my space and letting me be a college kid. And I’m not gonna lie it’s been so so nice having my mom there when I need her and having home cooked meals!

I’m so excited for my next few years, and if it wasn’t for Grand Valley I don’t know if I would have figured out that I was meant for a different major. (But that’s a story for another day!) I am so thankful for all of my LYM girls for welcoming me with open arms and for making my transition to GVSU so much better, and to Lauren for being my biggest cheerleader and one of my first friends at GV. (Welcome to LYM, btw!!)

You guys are all amazing and junior year, we’re ready for you!!

If you ever have any questions on college or transferring please feel free to reach out to me, I’m more than happy to offer advice and talk about my experiences.

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