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Rising College senior Riane Lumer (Photo courtesy of Riane Lumer).

Most people don’t enter college expecting to transfer to another institution. A strong emphasis is placed on attending our dream school, which often instills a fear of making the wrong choice. Boston College (BC) was my top choice. But little did I know, it would take the second time around for me to discover my dream school.

Prior to transferring, I had to first accept that it was okay that things unfolded differently than I had anticipated. I just needed the courage to venture away from what became my sense of normalcy. After all, as a seasoned college student, I knew exactly what I was looking for this time. 

The easiest option was to stay and stick it out at BC for the rest of my college career — just two more years. Yet, this would mean that I would remain in an environment where daily life felt mundane and stagnant. Just because it would have been the easiest, did not mean that it was the best option. 

My gravest concerns about transferring were leaving my friends and extracurricular activities and whether I would be able to acclimate to a different atmosphere. These apprehensions were alleviated as I quickly realized that my true friends would support me and remain in contact. The lessons I learned in my past extracurriculars would prepare me for my new roles. Most importantly, the Transfer Student Organization (TSO) played a crucial role in supporting me from the moment I received my acceptance to Penn. Their supportive presence ensured that I would never feel as if I were being thrown into the deep end or isolated.

When I first arrived on campus, I found myself back in the unfamiliar position of a first year again, despite being a junior. But, this was indeed my first year at Penn — and with that came an air of enthusiasm that reinvigorated my spirit, prompting me to dabble in diverse areas of interest, including working for The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Several moments during my first week on campus underscore the high regard for transfers at Penn. For instance, the very existence of a unique and elaborate transfer student organization emphasizes the bonds among transfers and commitment from current transfers to helping future transfers adjust. Additionally, students in my courses approached me after the first day of class, curious to learn more about the transfer process and offering assistance in navigating the University. 

Put simply, students at Penn value transfers. They want you here, and you can feel that. Penn was the new energy I truly needed. Although daunting, my first semester did not feel as though I was entirely back to square one. Having already attended college for two years, this was just a fresh and necessary chapter of my educational journey.

TSO continues to provide me with an immediate home base to turn to in times of stress and doubt. They quickly became my family on campus, and living in the Transfer Living Community  in Rodin enabled me to grow alongside those in the same boat. 

Transferring to Penn taught me many things: from heeding my intuition to taking risks, I have learned to consistently aim and act beyond my comfort zone. I did not feel a sense of belonging at Boston College, but I do at Penn. In just one year, I have gained lifelong friends, become highly involved in activities I care about, connected with professors who became essential mentors, and forged a distinct path at Penn. There’s a reason why transfers are among the most involved students on campus: they are eager to reinvent their college experience. 

My biggest advice for prospective transfers is to apply and see what happens, regardless of if you are wavering. Enrolling after acceptance is not obligatory, but granting yourself new opportunities that could bring you joy and fulfillment is something you owe to yourself. We only have four years on the road to earning an undergraduate degree, and I strongly believe that if you can make efforts to significantly enhance your experience, it is worth a shot. 

Although I could not imagine myself at BC for the remainder of my college career, I have not the slightest regret in attending there for two years. Without my time at BC, I would not have had the privilege of meeting some of the most remarkable individuals who I consider so dear to me. The experiences I gained there enabled me to reinvent my career path.

Transferring to Penn was undoubtedly the best decision of my college career. And no, Penn is not perfect, but every institution inevitably has its flaws. Despite my initial reservations, I could not be more grateful for the distinctive resources Penn offers transfers. After finals, I felt reaffirmed in my decision since this was the first time I was not rushing to move out as early as possible. Savoring the last moments in the room that nurtured my growth, I moved out on the final hour of the final day. 

Last summer, I felt that the following words from a film validated my transfer decision: “It’s never too late or … too early to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” 

Congratulations to accepted transfers, and best of luck to those considering to apply — I hope you choose Penn. 

RIANE LUMER is a rising College senior studying political science and journalistic writing from Huntingdon Valley, P.A. Her email address is