Transfers share their struggles, regrets and best UNC memories

‘I thought Late Night with Roy was students eating pancakes with Coach Williams at Ram’s Head’

Last Thursday was Transfer Appreciation Day at Carolina. Each year, UNC enrolls about 800 transfer students into the sophomore and junior classes. These students come from schools all over the country and experience UNC in a totally unique way.

We spoke to some transfer students who gave us some insight into their experience and offered advice for their fellow Tar Heel Transfers.

J’naya, senior, Psychology, President of Tar Heel Transfers

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Transferred from: Howard University

What are some hardships of being a transfer at UNC?

“Finding your niche. You get overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities. Transfers feel forced to be friends with first-years or other transfers. Also, the transition in work. Knowing what class combinations are good and which ones are not good.”

How does it feel being a part of the UNC community?

“Better than when I started. There’s so much to do here. Now that I’ve found what and who makes me happy, it’s more manageable. Things are better.”

Do you think UNC is welcoming of its transfers?

“Better than most universities. It definitely has work to do, but it is one of the better transfer communities, if you seek it out. It really is what you make out of it. It’s annoying when people say there isn’t a transfer community when there is.”

Differences between UNC and your previous school?

“At Howard, 95 percent of students identified as African American or Black. Washington D.C. is urban. People say that this is a city, but it’s not a city.”

Do you have any advice for your fellow transfer students?

“Seek help when needed. Please do. You’re really not alone and there are resources and outlets for you. Find an advisor that fits you.”

Do you have any advice for prospective transfer students?

“Don’t be intimidated by UNC’s reputation. Don’t be afraid to apply. Don’t be afraid to take classes that are deemed hard.”

What’s your favorite thing about being at Carolina?

“Endless opportunities. If I didn’t make the switch, I wouldn’t be the same person. Everything that I’m doing now, I love.”

What are the clubs and organizations you’re involved with at UNC? 

“President of Tar Heel Transfers, T-Links, Resident Advisor for a first-year community, and an APPLES co-leader for an alternative break.”

Sarah, junior, Psychology

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Transferred from: SUNY Buffalo/SUNY Farmingdale

What are some hardships of being a transfer at UNC?

“The first thing I noticed is the different workload. Professors expect a lot more from you. The social aspect too, being an out-of-state junior.”

How does it feel being a part of the UNC community?

“I’m pretty proud already to be a Tar Heel. People take a lot of pride being here at UNC. I tightened the community by being in a sorority.”

Do you think UNC is welcoming of its transfers?

“Definitely. I get dozens of emails about the things happening on campus. I think they do a good job of making you feel as welcome as they can.”

Do you have any advice for your fellow transfer students?

“Don’t be embarrassed to go out of your way to make friends with people. Don’t just read the textbook. You have to go to class to understand the concepts for your classes.”

Do you have any advice for prospective transfer students?

“Check out the campus and you might as well apply. There are so many opportunities here.”

What are the clubs and organizations you’re involved with at UNC?

“Helping Paws, Art Heels, Stigma Free Carolina, Psychology Club and Zeta Tau Alpha.”

Orlando, junior, Mathematics, Carolina Covenant Scholar

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Transferred from: Miami Dade College

What are some hardships of being a transfer at UNC?

“You think you know what college is like because you’ve done it before. You think you know what you’re doing, but maybe you don’t.”

How does it feel being a part of the UNC community?

“I really like it here. People are very nice here. I feel more competition here. This is a very diverse place.”

Do you think UNC is welcoming of its transfers?

“I think so far. There are activities. You don’t even have to try hard to find them. It’s pretty welcoming. Odds are stacked against transfer students to get in because of the amount of North Carolina students UNC accepts. It makes me feel proud because you overcame significant odds.”

Do you have any advice for your fellow transfer students?

“Buy a meal plan. I used to spend a lot of money on food. I’d say it’s worth it. Also, listen to what your advisors tell you – don’t be hardheaded. My advisor really knows what she’s talking about.”

Do you have any advice for prospective transfer students?

“If you’re low income, this school is really good with financial aid. If you are thinking about applying here, do it. Apply.”

What are the clubs and organizations you’re involved with at UNC? 

“UNC Math Club and Table Tennis Club.”

Any funny stories/horror stories about your experience so far? 

“My first three weeks with four upper level math classes.”

Tenley, sophomore, Journalism

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Transferred from: UNC-Asheville

What are some hardships of being a transfer at UNC?

“Trying to find your identity. I don’t have school spirit because it’s kind of indoctrinated during the first year of being here.”

How does it feel being a part of the UNC community?

“It’s hard for me to call myself a Tar Heel. I don’t know the hashtags and abbreviations. I’m very happy here, but I’m not a die-hard. That might just be me though.”

Do you think UNC is welcoming of its transfers?

“Yeah. I would say I felt welcome by everyone here. I don’t think the school has presented any issues in my transition. If there are any issues, it’s on my part.”

Do you have any advice for your fellow transfer students?

“I didn’t get a dining plan and I don’t regret it. That said, if you want a social experience and to find a group of friends, that’s a good option. People will swipe you in. People are nice.”

Do you have any advice for prospective transfer students?

“I would say ‘do it.’ I think everyone at UNC is satisfied with their decisions, even with the challenges.”

Differences between UNC and your previous school?

“This school is huge. At my last school, it was socially acceptable to walk around with no shoes or no bra. No one was expected to shave. There’s a hippie vibe to Asheville. I connected to the spirit of Asheville. Here, Tar Heel shirts everywhere. Carolina Blue everywhere. I think it’s a beautiful thing, but you feel very estranged at first.”

What’s your favorite thing about being at Carolina?

“My favorite thing so far is Wednesday night at 9.25pm when there is freestyle and rap in the Pit. It’s positive vibes and everyone’s having a good time. One time, a professor came and tried it out, so that was really funny.”

What are the clubs and organizations you’re involved with at UNC? 

“FLO (Fair, Local, Organic), RUF youth group and next semester I want to do WXYC Radio.”

Ali, sophomore, Pre-Business

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Transferred from: Texas Christian University

What are some hardships of being a transfer at UNC?

“Not having the first-year memories. Academic wise, it’s way harder.”

How does it feel being a part of the UNC community?

“It’s fun. I feel way more energy. Here, everyone can have so much fun and is really smart. I like being surrounded by motivated people.”

Do you have any advice for your fellow transfer students?

“Be confident, super open-minded and outgoing. That’s how I think I made the transition smoothly. It helps having people around that you connect with and build you up. Take risks – they pay off.”

Do you have any advice for prospective transfer students?

“If you have the feeling in you at all, do it.”

What’s your favorite thing about being at Carolina?

“I like being in a new place. I wanted to experience new things.”

Any funny/horror stories about your experience so far?

“One of the first times I went to the UL, I fell asleep watching ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ I’m in one of the cubicles and I open my laptop and it opens to a sex scene and my headphones weren’t plugged in.”

What are the clubs and organizations you’re involved with at UNC? “

“Delta Delta Delta, International Business Club and I signed up for Intramural Soccer.”

As a fellow transfer student, I relate to each of these students’ experiences in some way. Coming in as a junior, I feel like I missed out on unforgettable first-year memories. Every UNC student’s story is similar in the sense that we all work extremely hard to get here and are still amazed that we are actually enrolled here.

I’m still out of the loop on simple things like abbreviations. For example, I thought #GDTBATH was pronounced “GEE-DEE-TEE-BATH.” I kept hearing about Late Night With Roy and thought it was students eating pancakes at Ram’s Head late night with Roy Williams.

I’m catching up on UNC traditions and the way of life here. I could always think about how I am two years late to the game, but instead, I’m eternally grateful to have two more years in Chapel Hill as a Tar Heel.

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Resources for transfer students include Tar Heel Transfers and T-Link Transfer Student Peer Mentoring Program. There are various events throughout the semester that include transfer study nights in the UL and Transfer Appreciation Day.

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