“I could just see myself going to school there.”
This was the initial thought that crossed Lindsay Preece’s mind when she visited Manhattan College. Many students could say the same thing when they think back to their first visit to campus. The first time they walked across the quad, saw students smiling on their way to classes, or heard about the small school environment in the big city setting.
Things inevitably change, and the school you fell in love with on “Accepted Student’s Day” just isn’t the whole picture of MC. For many people like Preece, MC just doesn’t fit their plans. The school she could “just see” herself attending was not what she had dreamt it up to be.
Transferring is a big decision for a college student. For many current MC students the idea of transferring just doesn’t make sense, how can someone not love the atmosphere on the quad or the passionate professors? The fact is, many students did not find their dream school here in Riverdale.
Applying to college is a lot to ask a high school senior all at once. Where do you want to live for the next four years? What do you want to do with your life? Big school or small school? These overwhelming questions sometimes leave prospective college students feeling lost, and once they arrive on campus for the first time they may find they had made a mistake.
“From my first semester at MC I felt inclined to transfer,” former Quadrangle writer Lea Ceasrine said. Ceasrine transferred out at the end of last school year. For many students who arrive at MC, the positives quickly become the negatives.
“Some of the major reasons I chose to leave MC were actually reasons I had originally chose to go there,” Preece said.
For many reasons, be it financial costs, grades issues, or simply disliking the school’s environment, some students decide they don’t want to spend their college years here in the Bronx.
For Marissa Vershay, who left after her sophomore year, it was simply that the programs MC offered didn’t let her study what she wanted to.
“The only reason I left Manhattan College was because I realized I wanted to study fashion, and the school did not have that,” she said.
Vershay has transferred to Philadelphia University and is majoring in Fashion Merchandising Management, but says MC is still an important part of her past.
“I talk about Manhattan College all of the time, as if it is still my school,” she said. “I loved it so much there.”
Other students find that they wanted something else from their college experience, something that MC could not offer them. “I realized that it was too small and I wanted to be in an artsier environment,” Ceasrine said.
Ceasrine went on to audition for the New School’s dance program and was accepted. She remains in New York City, studying dance and non-fiction writing at the New School. Still, she says she misses Riverdale, especially having its access to the city but not quite the hustle and bustle she has to deal with now living in East Harlem.
“I guess [Manhattan College] just wasn’t as diverse as I would have expected,” she said.
Preece, who was initially drawn to the small-school feel of MC, found out quickly that it wasn’t what she actually wanted.
“I realized pretty soon after the year began that the school was too small for me. I wanted to attend a bigger school but didn’t realize it until I was already attending Manhattan,” she said.
Preece, like many other students who transfer from MC, just find that what they thought were the school’s best features aren’t actually what they wanted from a college experience.
“I just came to the realization that the school wasn’t the right fit for me and I didn’t want to miss my chance to have an enjoyable college experience,” Preece said. She is now attending a community college and working to save up as she begins the college search process once again, looking for bigger schools.
“Misled” would not describe the students who transfer from MC.
“I got what I saw and after two years I figured out that this school just isn’t for me,” Emily Lones said. Lones is a current MC sophomore who plans on transferring from the school at the end of this semester.
“The major reasons I chose to leave Manhattan are because it is getting to be too expensive for my family, I really don’t like the small campus setting, and I don’t like the Bronx,” she said. “I would love if it was nearer to the city, because it just takes too long to get anywhere to do anything fun.”
Lones too is reliving the application process and hopes to attend college in North Carolina come the fall.
The major point that transfer students who have left MC say that they miss is the people and the community they left behind.
“I loved how it was like one big family,” Vershay said.
The atmosphere is another major good thing the transfer students remember from their time at MC.
“I am so grateful for the friends and memories I made,” Ceasrine said.
“I made some friends who I became very close with,” Preece agreed, “and they made things so much better as I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do about college.”
College is about learning, and a part of learning is making mistakes. Though maybe “mistakes” is the wrong word here, because for these transfer students, MC was a part of their life that they would consider a good experience, just not the right experience.
For those of us lucky enough to have continued to love MC after our college search was long over, it might be hard to understand when another student chooses to leave. However for some, the college experience they were looking for just wasn’t here.