Second Time Around: Fall vs. Spring

spring transfers

“She doesn’t even go here!” Join me as I transition to life at Brown, and learn more about our fantastic campus through the ramblings of a recent transfer student. I’m Veronica Fletcher, a junior concentrating in Psychology & Hispanic Studies, and this is my Second Time Around.

Fall or Spring? To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even realize this was a question until I logged into Self Service last June and read the words “admitted for transfer enrollment, beginning January 2015.” January?! That had to be a mistake, right? Was I not good enough to transfer in the fall like everyone else? This week, I’ll try to provide some insight as to the pro’s and con’s of both of Brown’s transfer programs.

Fall Semester – Pros:

  • Easier acclimation process. Because there are so many new students entering in the fall, everything on campus is already set up to your advantage. As a fall transfer, the student body is just generally more open to your arrival – nobody has quite settled in for the year. Through outlets like Morning Mail and the Activities Fair, you’ll encounter plenty of opportunities to learn more about Brown, meet new people, and find your place among the multitude of student groups waiting to welcome you with open arms.
  • You get to appreciate the beautiful New England autumn. Seriously people, seasonal affective disorder is real – it’s nice to enjoy those last few weeks of summer weather as you transition into this new environment.
  • Extra time at Brown! Come on now, if you see this as anything but a positive, you’re probably in the wrong place.

Fall Semester – Cons:

  • Getting mistaken for a first-year. Fall Transfer Orientation does overlap with First-Year Orientation on more than one occasion, so differentiating yourself from other incoming students can be a challenge. Because fall transfers tend to assimilate more quickly into the general student body, figuring out how to present yourself initially can pose an issue – you don’t want to feel trapped under the “transfer” label, but hey, it’s better than being called a freshman, right?
  • Not as much “down time.” I’ve said it many times already, and I’ll say it again: transferring is rough. When you enter a new school in the fall, this transition can feel especially rushed and overwhelming, simply because you haven’t had as much time to mentally prepare yourself for all the changes ahead.

Spring Semester – Pros:

  • Choices, choices, choices. As a spring transfer, you have the option to decide how you spend your fall semester. You can attend to any unfinished business at your current college, spend four months immersing yourself in one of three gorgeous European cities through the Sophomore Mid-Year Study Abroad Program, or choose your own adventure. (For example, two of my friends spent their respective fall semesters interning with a social advocacy organization in Boston, and backpacking through Nepal.)
  • Sense of self. It should be no surprise that there’s a very close-knit community within the spring transfer class. When you’re the only new kids on campus, you tend to stick together, which in turn creates a strong sense of transfer identity.
  • Up to the challenge. As one transfer counselor put it, the spring transfer class has already been “humbled” by the experience of having to wait until January. Supposedly, this just makes us more excited and ready to jump right in when we finally arrive on campus.

Spring Semester – Cons:

  • It’s about to get chilly. Unfortunately, late January is when the weather in Providence really takes a turn for the worse. Not only can the icy climate make your first few months at Brown feel cold (literally) and inhospitable, it can also be very isolating – the thought of navigating through 5-foot snowdrifts definitely makes it harder to leave your warm bed behind and explore everything Providence has to offer.
  • One less semester at Brown. Sad face.



Thanks for reading! If you have thoughts or questions about this blog post, or any other aspect of the transfer experience, please feel free to email me at, or leave a comment in the box below!


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