March 6, 2017
I remember seeing the event for free swag during Welcome Week — of course, as a broke college student, I went. The room was full of high-energy Welcome Week leaders handing all first-year students free bright white and purple NYU T-shirts. The only problem? They said Class of 2020.
Being a transfer student is hard — you get grouped together with freshmen, but you socially don’t fit in. The academics are different no matter what type of school you transferred from, and you constantly feel left out of the loop.
Transfer students scored higher than freshman students on an index of depression before and during the semester, according to a University of Michigan student thesis. Transfers also scored lower in social connectedness, which was the case for Tisch junior and transfer Kyle Schmidt.
“[Transferring] has a way of making you feel alone and hopeless,” Schmidt said. “Like most people, moving to New York can suffocate you into a world of loneliness.”
Making friends can be tough for transfer students, especially because many people cement their friend groups during freshman year. While freshmen matriculate and experience college together, transfers are relatively alone.
CAS sophomore Lourania Oliver transferred from the Navy Academy, where her favorite part was the support she received from her classmates.
“When something was wrong, or when someone was falling behind, we all used to group together and help,” Oliver said. “But here, I had no sense of community, and that is what I miss the most about the academy.”
NYU’s lack of a campus makes it especially hard for transfer students to make friends and find commonalities with other students. Nursing senior and transfer Megan Salvato said she only made friends in her major and at work.
“I just didn’t have anything in common with the others,” Salvato said. “Plus I came in as a 22-year-old, so I was just at a different place in life than the freshmen or even the transfers they tried to group me with. I didn’t make a ton of friends here, just a few close friends who I have a lot in common with.”
The hardest part of transferring is finding a place to live in this crazy city. Transfers are very rarely given housing in dorms, and they are often forced to find places to live on their own, with little to no help from the university — NYU makes housing available but not guaranteed for transfer students. While the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Programs attempt to help commuters, they do not find housing for them, so the university is not liable for where commuter students end up staying.
The number of university transfers accross the nation has been increasing every year. According to the UM study, transfers reported lower levels of perceived availability of social resources, had fewer chances to live on-campus and to receive financial aid and had acquired financial burdens than their freshman counterparts.
Although my 2018 graduation date approaches sooner than I can even believe, my “NYU Class of 2020” shirt will always be my reminder of the struggle
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 6 print edition. Email Faith Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org.