Hello everyone out there!
My name is Olivia and I am another Admissions Fellow at Emory. If you’ve checked out past posts, then you probably have seen some of my photography throughout this blog as well as a few written posts by me. I am writing to you guys today to tell you a little bit about my experience coming to Emory. I am currently a junior in the college and a film major; I transferred from NYU after my freshman year.
I think it all began during my senior year of high school. I like to tell people that my college search was a bit “schizophrenic”. I was confused, overwhelmed, uncertain, and then often found myself not caring at all. My indecision led to my applying to all kinds of schools from UCLA to Vassar to Georgia Tech. The endless interrogating of parents, teachers, and friends with that loaded question, “So, where are you going to college?” led me into a panic. Somehow I ended up at NYU because “hey, why not?”…But actually, this was my thought process. I decided to take a leap and go for it, experience a new city and people, completely out of my comfort zone.
However, in the first few weeks of living in New York City, I soon realized that I had an idealized image of what I thought college was supposed to be like and it did not entirely match up with where I was. I quickly found out what I wanted and did not want in an undergraduate institution. Sadly, I was a little bit late, since uh… I was already in college! I told myself that I would stay the whole first year, because I wanted to make sure I was not just freaking out about being in college in general. I am pretty sure every freshman has the “I made the wrong choice”/“I hate this place” moment. But as the months went on and I visited high school friends at their colleges and universities, I began to formulate what I really wanted in a college.
I realized that I had to take one step backward in order to figure out what the right step forward would be for me. It is important to be aware, that transferring is often a step backwards—so do not use it as a safety net: “Oh, I can always transfer if I don’t like it.” You can always transfer, but trust me, it would have been easier to just really figure out what I wanted in high school. Transferring is not terrible, but it will require a little extra work.
So, when I began to research the transferring process, I made a list of all the reasons I loved NYU, but then all the things I really wanted in a school that NYU did not have. I had come to love the cultural and food scene in New York City and the plentiful opportunities that a large city offered. But I found that I wanted a more centralized campus—I realized I needed a quad. I also wanted to ensure that I would still receive a well-rounded liberal arts education. The best part of being a transfer, as opposed to a high school senior, is that you most likely have really figured out what you want to major in. Transfers have had the chance to take classes and find out what they are really interested in studying firsthand. So, I was able to really research the programs at the schools I was applying to and figure out how they weighed against one another. I also wanted to make sure the school would offer things I wanted outside of the classroom. I grew up dancing my whole life, and college was the first time that I was not dancing. So when I saw that Emory had a dance company and technique classes open to any majors, I grew ecstatic and curious. I intensely researched every single school I was applying to, in order to ensure that I would have a smooth transition process by knowing exactly why I would be going there.
So here is the “Olivia List of Pointer’s to Fellow Possible Transferees”: (These can apply to high school seniors too)
1) Make a list of things you NEED
2) Make a list of things you WANT
3) If you haven’t visited the school you want to transfer to, VISIT! (This may seem obvious to you, but I still found myself applying to transfer to schools I had never seen)
4) RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! Hopefully you have a better idea about what you want to study then a senior, so figure out the specifics that your transfer school’s program offers and how it fits into your plans.
5) Try and find out as much about the student body as you can. Read blogs, see what sorts of events are going on on-campus, and follow the University’s newsfeed on Facebook.
I received my admission to Emory the summer before my sophomore year of college began and decided this was the change I needed. Atlanta was large city with many opportunities and an amazing restaurant scene for me to explore—plus it offered awesome weather! So after I gave my acceptance, I moved all my stuff in and met my new roommates the week before classes began. Even though I did not know a single person at Emory, I somehow was not nervous about meeting people. I attended a short transfer orientation with all the other transfers—it was helpful in telling us about Emory, without telling us what we already knew about college. And then the school year began and I loved it almost immediately! I first went to a bustling Student’s Activities Fair where I learned about all the clubs and opportunities on campus; I signed up for email lists and was able to easily figure out how to get involved in the things I was interested in. I was able to meet people by getting really involved on campus, especially with Emory Dance Company. My classes were motivating and I was able to take many that directly related to my major, which made them even better. Every week students would gather in Asbury Circle in the middle of campus where students from campus clubs would have fun tables with food, music, and free T-Shirts…a tradition I eventually found out to be the famous “Wonderful Wednesdays.” By the end of my first semester, I found myself surrounded by many friends and a packed extracurricular schedule. College was finally exactly what I had imagined.
At the end of the day, I chose to come to Emory because it had that “college-y” experience I was looking for. I believe that no matter what rank your school falls under, your education AND college experience is in your hands. Emory was the perfect fit for me in that I was able to see direct ways of how I could make the most of my time through things such as the film management concentration with the business school, Emory Dance Company, or Volunteer Emory. And now I am even working in the Admissions office, here to help transfers trying to figure out which school will be the best fit for them to be able to make the most out of their years in college! Transferring was the right thing for me to do, but it was a long and well thought out process, that eventually got me to the right end result!
P.S. For all of you out there who are reading this and caught my Arrested Development reference in the title, props to you. For all of you that didn’t, go watch Arrested Development. 🙂
P.P.S. It’s Olivia’s birthday today!!! (Read below)