First of all, I just wanted to say that your blog is amazing and I’ve learned a lot from reading your posts. I’m going into my freshman year of college at a university that wasn’t my first choice. I was recruited as a coxswain for the men’s team at UW but unfortunately couldn’t afford to go there. I’m still crushed about it, but I’m trying to eventually transfer if I can find ways to deal with the money situation. Do you think it would be best to transfer before spring season or in the fall?
I think from a rowing standpoint it’d be best to transfer in the fall because then you’ll have a couple months to get acquainted with the coaches, the rowers, the team culture, the equipment, etc. before the craziness of the spring season sets in. The winter training trip will be way more fun and way less awkward for you if you’ve already established some friendships with the guys vs. coming straight from your other school, not knowing anyone, and being expected to jump right in and take charge.
From a school standpoint I don’t think it makes much of a difference if you go in the spring or fall. It might push your graduation back to August instead of May or June if you transfer before the spring semester but if that’s not an issue for you I wouldn’t worry about it. Some classes are only offered at certain times so that could get tricky initially with scheduling if you have to take classes with pre-reqs but all in all, spring vs. fall doesn’t really matter.
Related: Hi, I’m a freshman in college. I rowed all throughout high school, and I thought that I could handle not rowing in college but I don’t think I can. It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve asked my parents if I could transfer home and row for a local club but they told me that I need to buck up and put my education first over my love for rowing. I don’t know what to do. They won’t listen to me at all. Do you have any suggestions? I don’t want to give this up.
From a “social” standpoint, transfer before the fall. You’ll get to come in at the same time as all the new freshmen and it’s right at the beginning of the year so there will be a ton of stuff happening. Going in the fall also has the potential to make it easier to meet people too since most people will be starting off not knowing anyone or wanting to make new friends, whereas in the spring everyone’s already spent four months together in classes, extra-curriculars, etc. This can help you out with crew too. If you come in at the same time as the new freshman recruits instead of four months after them you won’t have to deal with any drama later on with them having attitudes or whatever because “they were there first”. I was talking to someone about that a few months ago and it was the most ridiculous situation ever but it makes sense why it happened.
Talk to the coaches at UW, particularly whoever is in charge of recruiting. Let them know (like, now-ish) that you are hoping to transfer to UW and give them a timeline of when you’d like to do that. I’m sure they already know why you turned them down but reiterate that to them and ask if they have any suggestions for discussing financial aid with the university. I have to assume they’d be able to give you some good advice in that area. Get as MUCH information as possible on grants, scholarships, etc. from the registrar’s office and find out what you’re eligible for. Start working on those applications sooner rather than later. You’ll have to reapply to the university too, even though you were already accepted, so don’t wait too long to get started on that. During your fall semester at the school you’re currently at try to form some relationships with your professors who might be able to write you a letter of recommendation to include with your transfer app. Obviously don’t suck up to them just to get a LOR but you know what I mean. Go to office hours, show up to class, participate, etc.
If you’re coxing at your current school, I’d keep the fact that you want to transfer on the DL. I wouldn’t hide it, per se, but I wouldn’t make it blatantly obvious that this team/school wasn’t your first choice. It’s kind of like looking for a new job when you’ve already got a job – don’t say anything until you’ve got something secured lest your attitude, dedication, commitment, loyalty, etc. be questioned. At that point have the conversation with your coach and go from there. Having it be known right off the bat that you turned UW down (legitimate reasons aside), are at your second choice school, and want to transfer as soon as you can’t probably won’t do you any favors in building any sort of camaraderie with your teammates.