The unfaithful scholar

By JESS MCCONNELL  |  October 23, 2006

Document yourself
Approach trustworthy professors for letters of recommendation, which typically figure more prominently with transfer applications than with freshman applications.

In this respect, Throop lucked out. “At first, I wasn’t sure of how to go about [getting a recommendation], and I just handed one professor an envelope with the address of the school to which I was applying to transfer — no stamp, no nothing,” she says. Thankfully, one of her professors pointed toward the recommendation form that accompanies the Common Application. “I was so lucky to have sympathetic professors to guide me,” she says.

Remember to have your school send out your transcript. Throop advises taking advantage of the old adage, “Students stick together.” Talk to employees at student services about getting your transcript taken care of. It may be smoother than other points of contact.

Let ’em down easy
Once you get into a second school, allow yourself to pump your fist and emit a subdued “Yessssss!” with computer or mail in hand, or, as Maddock did, jump around the kitchen shrieking in delight. Be proactive about separating yourself from your school. This process usually involves withdrawal forms, a trip to the dean’s office, or another formal procedure that varies depending on the school.

Plus, prepare yourself for exit interviews. Tanesha Wright, who transferred from New York’s Hartwick College to BC, however, says that the process is not terribly awkward.

Be firm
After leaving Villanova for BC, Maddock continued to receive e mail and snail mail from her former school. She has learned to ignore it. You should too.

Try to make it work
Most of all, get down with your buggy self and meet people, open books, and find new places. Remember Tai, from the 1995 teen movie Clueless, who transferred and skyrocketed to enormous popularity in her new digs? Don’t be fooled; that was Hollywood (and high school).

“Some [transfer students] . . . come in with the idea that they’ve ‘been here, done that before,’ ” says Maddock. “You’ve got to realize that you need to make the effort to go out and meet people. Sometimes I think I know more people than some of my other friends who have been here from the beginning, because I’ve been making an effort since I got here.”

Jess McConnell is a recent graduate of Tufts, her first and only choice, and a freelance writer living in Boston.

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