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Senior Math Major: Reasonable to Transfer Schools Now?

  1. Feb 13, 2012 #1
    Tell me if I am being unreasonable.

    I have all the required math courses more than fulfilled and I have a 3.68 GPA. Not a stellar number, but decent IMO. I can't graduate until next spring becuase of a required seminar offered only once a year.

    Besides the one seminar, I have all next year (summer+2 semesters) free to do undergrad research. I'm really, really excited for this opportunity.

    However, I don't feel as comfortable with my colleagues or professors at my current out-of-state school, than I do at my hometown university. If that sounds silly, please just take my word for it. I foresee it as a certain roadblock in working within a research team.

    Therefore, I am transferring to where I think I'll be more productive, useful, and energized to do research.

    My father told me that eyebrows would be raised and awkward questions asked by graduate admissions if I transfer. But I'm no careerist, somewhat non-competitive, and I'm not really motivated by prestige associated with a school.

    Do you think it is reasonable to simply say that I felt more comfortable doing undergrad research at a particular location? Am I being unreasonable? Thx!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2012 #2
    Btw, I'm a math major. My interests are in certain topics of numerical analysis, PDEs.
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3
    Assuming this is in the US:

    Typically, your father would be correct. I think in most cases, it will look very strange. And you must also double-check policies for the universities, because many universities won't allow you to transfer this late. If they do, however, you usually have to take at least 30 or 40 credits as the graduating institution before finishing (which may or may not be a problem for your situation).

    One thing that might help mitigate this, is if you transfer to your hometown university and stay there for two years before going to grad school or graduating. I don't know if you could swing the extra year (more research maybe?), but more time spent there would look better than just having one year and then graduating right away, which is many times not possible anyway.

    Hope that helps.
  5. Feb 16, 2012 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    You should see if your university has a "domestic year away" program. That will let you get a degree from your present school while spending a year at the new school. (Presuming you meet all the requirements, of course)
  6. Feb 16, 2012 #5
    I cannot say what will happen for sure, but thinking like a graduate admissions committee, I would ask: if you were fussy about where you wanted to do research, will you actually complete the program you're admitted to? There may be applicants with roughly as good records as you, and in fact that's almost always the case; by randomness and good fortune, most applicants of somewhat comparable record will end up doing roughly (but with some reasonable variation) as well. However, an applicant with a question mark may end up doing uncharacteristically worse than similar ones.

    I agree with the advice that transferring for 2 years and having an in depth reason (much more than you're giving us) is highly desirable. "Please take my word for it" works with us, but not with an admissions committee who has to stake an offer on you.

    I think you should do what works for you, but also keep in mind that an admissions committee will probably find this very strange, and you should have very good explanations ready. And, by the way, not good "in your eyes" but rather good reasons why a committee shouldn't have to care about that data point. This can be harder to do than you may think.
  7. Feb 16, 2012 #6
    Can you do research at a nearby school?
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