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Finding Your True College Fit

By Karlota Arnaiz-Palacios, DSST: GVR HS '18

In my last blog, I talked about how to build community as you make the transition to college. By joining clubs, looking for new friends in unexpected places, and putting yourself out there (even just a little), you will come closer to finding your home on your campus.

However, sometimes even if you work hard to build your community, you still may not feel like your school is right for you. That is certainly how I felt. You may remember that I mentioned how when I arrived on campus my freshman year, it absolutely didn't feel like home. 

I knew transferring new a new university was the best option for me, but that decision came after a lot of considerations.

How do you REALLY know when a college fit is right?

Remember that you will find your place on campus (in-person or virtually) eventually. It may take days, months, or a year, but you WILL get there. But, if you don't feel like you're in the right place, remember that you CAN explore other schools.

It is totally normal to occasionally think “I hate my school” or "I don't belong here", but that thought shouldn’t take over your life.  If it does, you may want to consider transferring, like I did. Transferring is definitely scary and depending on your situation, it could be expensive, but it is also incredibly exciting.

When I was thinking of transferring, this is the list of what I needed to know/do to make sure I made a smooth transition:

  • Will my credits transfer?
  • Do I need my high school transcript and SAT/ACT? (If you have less than a certain amount of credits you will. It depends on the school.)
  • What do other schools have that my school doesn’t?
  • What does the student and faculty demographic ACTUALLY look like?
  • Do professors there look like me/have similar ethnic or cultural backgrounds?
  • Is my current major offered? If not, how will I apply my skills and pivot to find a new major?
  • What do current students say about student support systems?
My most important consideration when I transfer was finding a school that was more ethnically and culturally diverse that my original university, because ultimately, this is what pushed me to consider transferring.

There are myriad of reasons why you might consider transferring, maybe you've decided you want to be closer to home, that you want a smaller or larger school community, or maybe you just haven't found the right fit yet - each of those reasons are completely valid.

Everyone has their own experience finding the college that fits their needs best, and sometimes that doesn't happen on the first try. But, I encourage you to make sure you ask yourself the critical questions above to ensure your next school is the right one.


karlyMy name is Karlota and I graduated from DSST: Green Valley Ranch in 2018. I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I am studying Archaeology and Anthropology and pursuing a minor in Political Science. I am hoping to earn my PhD, but in the meantime I am studying to take the LSAT in order to get a law degree. I love to read, write, sew, and crochet.