As a transfer student and a tour guide, one of the most common questions I am asked by prospective students and their families is why I decided to leave my previous college to come to RIT. When it comes down to it, I think the college experience has two main components, academic life and social life, and at my previous school, neither of these two pieces were the right fit for me.
I graduated from a small high school on the Connecticut shoreline. With only about 150 kids (from three different towns) in my graduating class, the idea of a larger school like RIT seemed overwhelming. I was looking for personalized academic attention and a sense of community, the things that had made my high school experience so positive, and subsequently chose a smaller liberal arts college in upstate New York.
While I really enjoyed my classes, I started to hit some bumps in the road with my advisor. The two meetings I had in person were incredibly brief, and I definitely left with the feeling that advising was an unwanted duty for the professors that had been assigned to do so. Around the same time, I came to the conclusion that the major I had chosen wasn't the right fit for me, but I had no idea what I wanted to switch to. When I started looking for options on my own, I realized that the smaller school size meant that there were fewer programs offered. I felt lost, and I had no idea who to ask for guidance.
It took me a lot longer to realize that the social aspect of school wasn't working for me. It was my first year in college and I knew that it would be a transition from high school, so when things didn't feel quite right, I thought that was the cause. I made friends, many of whom I am still in touch with today, but I never felt that real sense of belonging. It wasn't until halfway through my second semester that it occurred to me that maybe socially, the culture just wasn't the right fit for me.
Deciding to transfer was one of the scariest decisions that I have ever made, but I now realize it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. RIT has changed my entire view on college. I had an advisor in the University Studies program who helped me explore and pick a major in a field that I love and feel confident getting a job in. I have made amazing friends and gotten involved with Greek life on campus. I have been here for just over a year now, and when I walk around the RIT campus, it feels like home.