Transfer Students

So, you are a transfer student to Physics@Illinois. Welcome! As a transfer student, you already know many college-life ins and outs, but here are a few additional tips and tricks.


  • Get involved.

Many transfer students believe they can opt out of joining clubs or registered student organizations (RSOs) at a new university simply because they partook in these at their previous institution. Getting involved in student life, however, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to integrate into a new university, and your involvement provides opportunities to meet other students and make friends outside the lecture hall. Additionally, research shows that participation in clubs or organizations may improve students’ critical thinking1. Similarly, university- and department-sponsored events provide networking opportunities to meet future professors, research advisers, or employers. Plus, most of these events have *free food*, which, as you know by now, is an essential fuel for scholarly pursuits.

Helpful links:

Department events

A list of Physics RSOs

All RSOs


  • Get to know your professors.

This may seem like a basic, “how does someone not know this” tip, but for transfer students, it cannot be emphasized enough. Professors are the people teaching you, grading you, assisting you, and potentially writing your letters of recommendation. Introduce yourself, ask questions during lecture, make sure they know who you are. Research shows that frequent student/faculty interaction correlates with higher student satisfaction2 .


  • Attend office hours.

Many transfer students are tempted to neglect office hours, having never attended them at their previous institution. Office hours provide a scheduled time and location to collaborate and commiserate with other students struggling through the same material; to seek aid and assistance from TAs, graders, and professors; and to study, prepare, and review. In fact, office hours are one of the best means of getting to know your professor and forming a study group.


  • Never ignore Merissa A. Jones!

Her emails could mean life or death, and I am only exaggerating slightly.


  1. Pascarella, Ernest T., Terenzina, Patrick T.. How College Affects Students: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Print. 24 April 2015.
  2. Astin, Alexander W. Student Involvement: A Developmental Theory for Higher Education. N.p. 1985. Web. 9 October 2014.