It’s April 23rd. That means that procrastinating students who applied during the Regular Decision admissions cycle still have some time to decide where exactly they wish to spend the next four years of their lives. Most students have made up their minds by now. But you’d be amazed how many are still undecided, vacillating between two schools…or more! It’s time to make a decision. Visit the schools. Smile at students. See if they smile back at you. It’s a great indicator of whether or not they’re happy at the school — perhaps even more so than what they express to you verbally.
But what also never ceases to amaze us is how many parents and students are already dead set on transferring. Around this time every year, we hear from students and parents (who did not work with us through the college admissions process), wondering what went wrong. We give them postmortem evaluations, perusing their entire applications so they know precisely what they did right — and what they didn’t do so right. Or, to put it plainly, what they did so very wrong. It’s not so that they kick themselves. It’s so that if they ever do wish to transfer, they don’t apply using the same bad strategies that they employed the first time around.
And for the parents and students who are so unhappy with the school the student will be attending in the fall, we do advise working on transfer applications during the summer months before college…before college starts. And why? Well, for starters, we want students getting great grades in college. It will help their case for transfer admission. Working on transfer college applications will be a distraction. We also want students to be happy this next year. So they should immerse themselves in all that college has to offer — even if it’s not their dream college. We don’t want them focused on the way out. Sure, they’ll have completed their applications for transfer admission during the summer months. But now they can move on with their lives and submit the applications (with some minor tweaks based on what they do during their first year — activities we delineate with them) come spring for transfer admission.
So for those students interested in transferring to, say, an Ivy League school (even Princeton now admits transfers!), don’t wait until the winter or spring to work on those applications. The summer before college is the time to get those applications into outstanding shape.