Stress Caused by Transferring Between Post-Secondary Institutions

By Pier E MS

Admission requirements and transfer options lead post-secondary students to unnecessary stress and anxiety, putting their time and efforts at risk.

In the Academic Journal The Anxiety of Change: How New Transfer Students Overcome Challenges, the authors Christina Chin-Newman and Stacy Shaw explained what new transfer students experience in terms of challenges.

“After being accepted, students face challenges related to being unfamiliar with how the systems of a new school work,” said the journal. “When participants were unable to find information about this, they became worried that they would fall behind.”

After the studies in the Journal divided the challenges students faced before and after being accepted into the institutions, it found that results very similar between them. To the students, the lack of or readily available information was the biggest difficulty.

The Journal continues to say information provided by school officials and transfer representatives is often slow to be delivered and vague in content.

“We take credits from so many courses and we go from there,” said transfer co-ordinator Wendy Richer in the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT).

In some cases institutions took so long to give reply that students would have to wait until the next semester to enroll in classes because they just weren’t sure if they had been accepted or not.

“Counselors play a strong role in preparing students to transfer successfully, and they have the power to make it an easier process for the student,” said The Anxiety of Change.

The change of pace between schools can also put a damper on the learning curve.

Transfer co-ordinator John Stewart of Royal Roads University said, “The challenges greatly depend on what institutions you are coming from but getting used to different academic expectations is one of the biggest.”

The Anxiety of Change said that financial aspects also affect students when it’s added to the load of their existing responsibilities.

Michaela Bridgemohan, an Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) student, who was recently accepted into The Queensland College of Art in Brisbane Australia, said she is excited to go there but also very stressed.

In Bridgemohan’s case living expenses, means of transportation and airfare are her responsibility, she explains.

Although she is excited to attend university in Australia she is aware that it is a very expensive country, “Money, I need it now,” she said.

While Bridgemohan was accepted for student loans that carried her through to Australia as well, Student Aid Alberta requires her to come back to Canada after completing her degree, and ACAD required her to return for the whole fourth year of the program.

Displacing her not once, but twice in a short period, at which time she will likely be getting into the swing of things and feeling more independent, is counter productive especially considering that her field of study is art.

Bridgemohan continues to explain that the art scene is very demanding when it comes to reputation and word of mouth, and that this fact doesn’t bode well for up and coming artists when competition is always on their heels.

Given all the stress the art business entails, Bridgemohan said it is also a major source of stress relief and it manages her anxiety better than anything else.