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Illinois state quad north

Illinois State University is one of the most popular schools that students from community colleges transfers to. It’s very easy to get in, and it’s not too big and not too small. But adjusting to Illinois State is very difficult, especially when you’re a transfer student. Here are 4 of the biggest struggles you will face if you’re a transfer student at ISU.

1. You’re probably going to be living in Cardinal Court, whether you like it or not.

Since you’re a transfer student, you don’t get first dibs on where you want to dorm. Of course everyone wants to live at Watterson since it’s legit close to everything. It’s already bad enough that Cardinal Court is the most expensive housing, the place is 20 min. away from campus. You’ll also freeze to your death during the winter because the heating system sucks. Oh, and you’re practically dead to anyone who doesn’t live at Cardinal Court (basically all your friends) because when else would you see them unless you take time out of your life to walk 15 min. to campus.

2. The whole bus system seems like rocket science

Yeah ISU is not a big school (physically) compared to like U of I, if you live in Cardinal Court (which you most likely will because that’s where all transfers end up in), you will not be able to survive here without the bus. First day of school is going to suck because you’re going to have to figure out the bus route all by yourself. And the fact that we have to be up earlier than other people to catch the bus doesn’t already suck, the bus never comes on time. The bus is ALWAYS either really early or really late, and once you miss it, time to walk! The app Connect Transit will save your life but at the same time ruin. You can track where the bus is so you know when to catch the bus. But I guess that’s not really helpful since the app crashes almost everyday. Basically, you’ll be walking to campus more than taking the bus because well, the bus system just sucks.

3. You won’t have any friends for at least a month or forever.

Let me get this straight. People at ISU aren’t the most friendliest. They won’t bother to make a conversation with you unless you go up to them first. And being a transfer student makes it 10 times worst. You come here thinking you’ll make tons of friends, but in reality, no one is trying to make friends anymore since everyone made their friend groups their first year. It doesn’t help the fact that ISU isn’t the biggest party school either. You either have to be in greek life or know someone to get into the parties here. If you’re lucky, you’ll probably meet some other transfers and become friends with them. If not, well I guess you wont’ have any distractions for school. 

4. Getting used to the fact that everyone at U of I hates ISU. Like ACTUALLY

As a transfer student, you probably heard that Monday night Joe’s is a big thing at U of I, and ISU students love crashing it. You’re probably excited to visit U of I all the time since it’s only 50 minutes away, and there are party buses taken drunk ISU kids there almost every Monday and weekend! But guess what, U of I students hate us. They hate the fact that we’re crashing their bars, and that we’re coming up almost every Monday. Don’t forget the fact that they’re a big ten school while we are well, a state school. If you’re a transfer student, you probably will not hear about U of I’s hate towards ISU until you’re actually at U of I. Word of advice, do not say you are from ISU when you’re visiting U of I.

Honestly, being a transfer student is very hard no matter where you go. But the living arrangements for transfer students and the whole bus system makes it very hard for transfers to adjust to the new environment. Joining a club or greek life is a good idea if you want to make lots of friends and adjust to ISU as soon as possible.


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Julia Park


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