There is a phenomenon called Transfer Shock. If you have a transfer student, they may be experiencing this tendency for students who transfer from one school to another to experience a temporary dip in their GPA during their transitional first or second semesters.
If you have a transfer student who did reasonably well in their original school and are now facing this transitional grade dip, they may be alarmed. Your student may wonder whether they should have transferred after all – or whether they transferred to the right school. It may help if you can reassure your student that this struggle, this dip in GPA, is normal; and that most transfer students recover their grades within a semester or two.
If you have a student who is considering a transfer next semester or next year, warn them ahead of time. Your student may be able to avoid it, but more importantly, if transfer shock does occur, your student may worry less because they’ll know that others may be experiencing the same thing.
Why does transfer shock happen?
Some students may underestimate the difficulty of transitioning to a new school. They’ve already made the adjustment to being in college, and they feel that a new school won’t be all that different. However, once at the new school, students realize that there are new ways of doing things, new expectations, new traditions, and new policies. Students may also encounter more difficult upper level coursework than they had at their previous institution. Some students may also be taken by surprise at the social disorientation that they feel in a new environment and the effort that it takes to make new social connections and friends.