If the US school you’re attending as an international student isn’t right for you, transferring colleges may be the best move. After all, you’ll be there for a few years and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the experience from your academics to your personal life.

But before you make any moves, it’s important that you know the right steps to take when it comes to transferring colleges.

Make Sure Transferring Is the Right Choice

If you’re wondering if you should transfer to a different college, first determine exactly what your reason or reasons are for wanting to switch schools. There are a lot of truly valid reasons for transferring colleges, but there are also some not so good reasons too.

One example of a good reason is if you change your major and your current school does not offer your new course of study. Additionally, if you can no longer afford to attend the school you go to, switching to a different one where you won’t incur tons of student debt is a smart move. The same goes if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your college city.

But in some cases, transferring colleges is not the best decision. For instance, if you want to switch schools for a temporary reason, like you don’t like your current roommate or you are struggling in one particular class, consider giving the school another chance. That way, you don’t have to start all over again somewhere new.

If you’re uncertain whether your reason for transferring is strong enough, talk to your international or student adviser as well as friends and family as they may be able to offer important insight into your decision.

Get Accepted to Another School

In most cases, international students need to show their current school that they have been accepted to another college before they can transfer. If you cannot prove this, your student visa might be in jeopardy.

This is why you need to apply to at least one other college first and wait for your letter of acceptance before informing your current school that you will be leaving.

Be sure to continue attending your college classes until your transfer is complete. Otherwise, you risk breaking the rules of your student visa.

Contact International Student Services on Your Campus

You’re sure to have plenty of questions during the process of transferring colleges. Fortunately, most US schools have an international student service center.

You should take advantage of this resource if you have any concerns about your student visa, any forms you might need to fill out and other common issues.

One detail to go over with an international student adviser is which credits will transfer to your new school. If you do not look into this, you might end up losing a lot of credits for classes you already took.

Update Your SEVIS

Once you know which school you will be going to, you will need to contact the staff there to update your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Code, or SEVIS.

The SEVIS makes it easy for schools to let the government know whether an international student has enrolled and will be attending. You need to keep this record updated if you want to keep your US student visa.

Have you gone through the process of transferring colleges yet? Do you have any advice for international students?

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