Ambassadors Campus Life Meadows School of the Arts Student Organizations Transferring to SMU

Dear Future Transfer Students!

Rain spattered against the concrete and puddles splashed under my feet as I ran across Dallas Hall Lawn. My black umbrella towered above my head to protect the soft brown curls flowing from my hair that I had worked so hard on earlier that morning. My shoes, on the other hand, were a different story. The cold rain from the humid August day had soaked through them. Nevertheless, I was determined get to class so I kept going.


Upon reaching Umphrey Lee, I swung open the doors to the journalism department. Finally, I was out of the rain. I stood in the hallway for a brief second taking it all in. The newsroom with tall glass windows, shiny silver Mac computers, and a row of televisions flashing the latest news sat to my right. In front of me, a long hallway painted in deep SMU reds and blues led to the studio. I took a deep breath and turned left to my classroom.


I had made it. After over a year of detailed planning, recommendation letters, and lots of stress, I was finally starting my first day as a transfer student at Southern Methodist University. As the rain poured down, it washed away parts of my past to make way for the next two years of my college career. Today, I was a Mustang.


I transferred to SMU on August 27, 2019, as a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. While my experience holds a lot of meaning to me, I am not the only one with a story. According to Inside Higher Ed, more than a third of all college students in the country transferred in 2015. Today, at SMU, transfer students make up 20 percent of the student body.


In my experience, transferring is often an avoided topic and is frequently followed by stigma. Not to mention, it’s challenging because it means you must take a massive leap of faith to move to another school with new teachers, students, and opportunities for the sake of a better experience, fresh start, or a greater future. In other words, it’s like starting college again as a freshman, but this time everybody knows where they fit in except for you. Although it is difficult, it’s immensely rewarding—especially at SMU. Luckily, there are ways to make the process easier.


First, I would advise doing as much research as possible. To explain, I chose to transfer because I wanted more opportunities to prepare for a career in broadcast journalism. As a communications student, I started by making a list of the largest media markets in the U.S., including Dallas. Then, I looked at schools in those top markets. Once I had narrowed down the schools I was interested in, I kept the research going. For each school, I compiled a list of information about the journalism schools. It included the awards, clubs, organizations to get involved in, the professors’ career experience, and how successful students were after graduating.


Second, I visited campus to make sure I could see myself there. Over Spring break, I took a tour through the SMU Admissions Office. I asked many questions, awed at Dallas Hall, and even ate on campus at the student center. Sitting on the outdoor patio at Hughes-Triggs with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich in hand, I knew I could visualize myself as an SMU student.


After this, I reached out to a journalism school professor to ask more specific questions and set up a tour of the facilities. Immediately, they set up a phone call with me to talk about my transferring decision. Afterward, they created an itinerary for my trip to SMU. It included a tour of SMU journalism, sitting in on the morning news broadcast, joining a class, advising, and meeting with the department’s head. Not only did I get to see what life would look like here, I felt welcomed.


With that, I knew I wanted to go to SMU. After a semester of goodbyes to my old college friends and a long hot summer, I finally began courses in Dallas. Little did I know, choosing to transfer was only half the battle. Now, I just needed to find my niche.


Once you arrive on campus, my biggest piece of advice is to get involved. At some point, every college student hears that, but this cliché has stood the test of time. For me, it took a lot of experimenting with clubs and organizations. Eventually, I got involved with SMU-TV, the SMU Daily Campus, and the Undergraduate Admissions Ambassadors program. By joining these groups, I found ways to fuel my passion, meet new people, and even meet other transfer students.


Lastly, and I can’t emphasize this enough: the entire transferring process takes time. Not only does it take patience to wait during the application process, but it also takes time to adjust to the new classes and schedules once you arrive on campus. Above all, real and genuine friendships take time to build as well.


As I approach graduation in May, I could not be happier with my decision to transfer to SMU. In just two short years, the university has opened doors for me, challenged me to be a better version of myself, and introduced me to lifelong friends. With that being said, if you’re transferring to SMU, be patient with yourself and know that all of the hard work will pay off.

Ambassadors Transferring to SMU

Transfer Student Survival Guide

Preparing for your first year of college at a university isn’t easy, but I made the best decision of my life when I decided to do it twice. There aren’t many survival guides out there for transfer students and it’s probably because we’re just too busy making up for our “lost time” to put one together. Although you feel like your life is running just a little faster than you, the great thing about being a transfer student is that you have a head start. Your previous experience has probably equipped you well enough to take on your first semester with greater confidence. Just one year ago, I thought I had everything figured out! Nonetheless, even that changed for the better during my first semester on the Hilltop. I knew the opportunities at SMU were abundant, but it wasn’t until I transferred that I realized just how great of an impact they would have on me.

I’ll never forget my very first class on my very first day at SMU. I was welcomed by the one and only Liljana Elverskog for my Intermediate Arabic class, and what I thought was a class that would satisfy a University Curriculum requirement had become the beginning of an Arabic minor. As a transfer student, I was eager to explore my interests but I thought I would be too busy playing catch-up to minor in anything at all! SMU has undoubtedly exceeded my expectations in their encouragement for academic and self-growth with their availability of various majors and minors. With the help of my academic advisor and attentive professors, I have also added a second minor in Statistical Science that will better prepare me for graduate school!

It doesn’t end there. Student organizations have been the best way for me to simultaneously foster my academic and personal growth and establish my closest ties to other students. Finding a community of students on campus that interact through social, educational, and religious means has always been important to me, and my involvement with the Muslim Student Association has especially helped in shaping my student experience. Fortunately for all students on campus, there is a student organization for just about everything and you’re able to explore them all during Night at the Club before classes begin.

Although in-person classes have come to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have come to understand from this and being a transfer student that my time as a Mustang is not only defined by the time I’ve spent on campus. The education, relationships, and experiences on the Hilltop are everlasting, and I am so eager to continue to pursue whatever SMU throws my way (via Zoom or not). I cannot wait to see you all on campus!

P.S. If you were looking for a sign to transfer, this is it.

Pony Up!

Leena Kamal

SMU Class of 2021

Academics Transferring to SMU

Transferring to SMU

Applying and deciding on a college is already a tough and tedious process. Now, imagine already being in college and deciding to go through it again. I was attending a highly recognized, four-year university that had been my dream school for as long as I can remember. At the end of my freshman year, I could not stop crying on my flight back to Mexico for the summer. I was so confused as to why I was crying when I had just finished what I thought to be a great first year of college. The summer gave me plenty of time to reflect on my past year and helped me realize that what I had thought was my dream college was not the place for me. It was time to talk to my parents about the idea of transferring. As I looked into universities, I already knew what I was looking for. I wanted a university that offered the idea of community, but at the same time allowed me to develop globally. I wanted a university that offered world-renowned academics, but also allowed me to have close relationships with my professors and fellow classmates. SMU was the best option and the only school I applied to transfer to.

Transferring can be a very scary process. I was coming into a new university without knowing anyone and as an international student. I met many of my best friends the first week of classes. People were extremely accepting and meeting people was not as hard as I thought it would be. Adjusting to classes was not hard either; teachers were helpful and I soon realized that I was not the only one in my situation. Orientation and other events allowed me to meet other transfers that were going through the same adjustment. Even when I wasn’t completely settled in, I already knew I had made the right choice by transferring. I felt more at home and happier at SMU then at my previous university. Classes were more enjoyable and I soon realized the amazing things Dallas has to offer. To this day, I can easily say that transferring has been one of the hardest decisions I have made, but it has a rewarded me with amazing friendships and a much more satisfying college education and overall experience. SMU has become my second home and I know that the day I leave I will cry, because of how much I will miss this University.  

Ivonne Juraidini