I arrived on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. I was 18 years old and it was my first time away from my parents in Chicago. I envisioned myself to be a part of this institution and community for the duration of my path to my bachelor’s degree. However, I decided to change my major and found myself back home one semester later. I was attending community college at the time I was preparing to apply to colleges for the next fall semester. Thirty-three percent (1 in 3) of college students will transfer at least once before graduating. So do not think this won’t happen to you. It is fairly common and is nothing to be ashamed of.
The application process from West Virginia to my community college was fairly simple, but when I was applying to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for that fall, I ran into some problems.
I needed the courses and credits I took at West Virginia to transfer to an equivalent course value at U of I. Since they were schools across state lines, in order for them to compare the classes, they needed to look at the course syllabuses of my courses in West Virginia. This provides a full descriptive overview of the content in the course, and it also shows what assignments and tasks will be completed during the course.
If there’s one thing you can take from this, it is to listen when I tell you to hold on to all of your course syllabuses! I didn’t do this myself, and it was on a month-long journey scavenging for these documents.
At first I contacted the University, but they told me I’d have to contact each professor individually. This was a complete nuisance as we know some professors aren’t the best when it comes to returning emails, especially from non-current students.
I was in my parent’s home in Chicago, so it’s not like I could just drive over and see them in person. A few of them returned my email right away with the syllabus attached. It was one professor I had a lot of trouble with, he was on break that semester and had not replied to my email. I was getting extremely nervous and anxious as the deadline for these documents was fast approaching. Finally, the school managed to find a copy of his syllabus and faxed it to me; however, it was on the day that they needed it to be in at University of Illinois. In an absolute panic about the possibility of not being able to attend the university in the fall, I drove the three hours to U of I to hand-deliver the documents.
All of this could had been avoided had I been more responsible with these documents. This goes for all college-related documents, including FAFSA (Federal Aid), tax, academic, and university housing papers. You might render these documents unnecessary as some point, but trust me they are not and it doesn’t hurt to hold on to them. Whether you are applying for an internship, study abroad, graduate school, job or transferring to another school like me, these documents could be needed at any point. Many of us expect to be treated as real world adults in college, so why not act like one!