Here's a list of possible challenges to think about:
- Application process - well, you've done it before if you're in school now. It's arduous, hard work that usually incites nervousness and anxiety at different points of the process. But, it's also a time of self reflection, especially as it relates to why you'd like to transfer. You'll be carrying on with a college level course load while also working on personal statements and essays.
- Course credits - depending on which school you're transferring to and from, your credits may not all (or at all) transfer in the process. It's like changing majors, but more so as you're changing schools entirely. Many schools have different foundational/general studies requirements, too. This might set you behind especially if you're considering studying abroad or a double major.
- Leaving behind people - you've likely made a few good friends in your first year or two at college or have met some professors/TAs that you really connected with. It can be hard to say goodbye.
- Fresh start - this is obviously also a positive, but a fresh start means making new friends and new connections. This also means relearning the physical campus, culture, and social life of the school.
- Financial aid - the paperwork! And the financial aid package might be different at the new school; navigating this is administratively challenging and time consuming. This could also have positives if the new school is giving you a more substantial financial commitment!
- Academic changes - class style, educational philosophy, requirements of the school, and individual professors, will all change when you transfer schools. This might be adjusting to large lectures or needing to take more literature classes because of a core requirement at a liberal arts college.
- Logistics: the basics of registering for classes, orientation, checking your grades, communicating with the bursar, on campus housing, etc., are all new again. Things that you just got the swing of, you'll need to learn to navigate once more.
However, there are lots of positives that come along with transferring, especially if it's the right decision for you:
- Personal growth - change usually means you get to learn something new, and there will be lots of changes ahead if you apply and get in (and especially if you choose to go)
- Best fit - most likely there is something significant about your current school that is unchangeable, hence consideration of transferring to another. Transferring will mean that this significant challenge will be very different and hopefully a much better fit for your learning needs. Whether it's rigor of coursework, right social environment, or a school that has a strong department in your chosen career path, you'll feel a bit more at home in this regard.
- Friends - you'll gain new ones, while hopefully keeping the ones from your "first" school.
While there are lots of challenges to consider, with the right self reflection and research, you may come to the conclusion that it is the best possible decision for you. In which case, you'll be glad you did it!