Yesterday, I met with a friend who, like me, transferred from Kennesaw State University. We had a good conversation, and after we parted, I had a strange thought: "Why aren't Georgia Tech students as intelligent as KSU students?"
Georgia Tech has one of the top engineering programs in the United States, while KSU is only well-known in the Southeast; therefore, there must be an error in my formula.
I pondered over the idea for a moment and thought specifically about the KSU students whom I thought were extraordinary. Among those students, 6 transferred to Georgia Tech, 1 transferred to Georgia State University, 1 joined the PhD program at Emory University, 3 transferred to University of Georgia, and 3 are still at KSU.
This made me realize an unusual fact. My friends from KSU are not smarter than Georgia Tech students because they went to KSU. They are smarter because most of them are transfer students.
After reflecting on my experience as a tranfer students, I feel confident about generalizing my hypothesis to include all students across all universities. Here is why:
All Transfer Students Embrace Challenge
During my senior year of high school, I applied to the top universities in the United States, and my backup plan was to go to Kennesaw State University. As you would expect, I was rejected everywhere except in KSU, so I ended up going there.
At KSU, I was admitted into the honors program. I had an amazing time there. School was easy. The atmosphere was relaxing. I had a good relationship with all my professors. Everything was wonderful. However, occasionally I felt that I was different from the majority of the students at the university. For some reason, my brain was telling me that I was not in the right place. I never wanted to earn an easy degree. I want my college experience to be challenging and to give me the greatest amount of knowledge possible. I also want to be surrounded with people who thought like me. For these reasons, I decided to transfer to Georgia Tech.
Students who transfer do that because they are looking for more challenge. They know that it will be harder than what they are used to, yet they take the leap.
Many Non-Transfer Students go with the Flow
After students graduate from high schools, they go to universities. Some go to top-notch and Ivy League universities, others go to average universities that serve their local area, and yet others go to community colleges. All these students have one thing in common: they do not know what is ahead of them.
I have countless friends who went to community colleges or smaller universities planning to transfer in the future. Later, most of them decided to stay where they were. They found university to be more difficult than they had expected, and they gave up the idea of transferring.
At Georgia Tech, I met many people from the other end of the spectrum. They were admitted to Georgia Tech as freshmen. Later in their lives, they struggled a lot with their studies. Now, their main goal is to pass and earn a degree from Georgia Tech. They are accepting the reluctantly accepting the challenge.