Undergraduate Programs

Getting Acclimated as a Transfer Student

A Clarkson University flag displayed on the top of an Adirondack Mountain in the fall.
Author and Clarkson student Gianna Citriniti poses outside on Clarkson University's campus.

Hi everyone! I’m Gianna Citriniti and I transferred to Clarkson in the spring of 2021. This blog is a continuation from my other recent post. You can read my Guide to Transferring to Clarkson here!

Now that you have been accepted and made the decision to start your new adventure at Clarkson, how do you acclimate to your new surroundings? 

Jump Right In

One of the things you can do to make this process easier is getting to know the class you’ll be graduating with. Colleges usually encourage transfer students to move in early with incoming freshman students in an attempt to get familiar with some of the faces around. During this time there are usually activities planned to help break the ice such as cookouts, games and dorm activities. 

Reaching out to people in the first few weeks to introduce yourself can also make this process easier. When transitioning to a new school you will rarely be alone in the process. Most students—whether freshman or other transfer students—will be looking to meet new friends and acquaintances too. 

Take Advantage of On-Campus Life

Several Clarkson students gather outside and in front of an outdoor fire pit during an ice breaker event for transfer students.
Clarkson hosts all kinds of ice breaker events on campus leading up to the start of the semester!

Living on campus can be a great way to meet new people as you are quite literally surrounded by your peers. Clarkson University offers about 9 different residence halls for its students which include the quad, Hamlin-Powers, and Woodstock Village, but a full list of all your options can be found here

When you first move in, especially into one of the dorms, floors will usually have ice breakers in which students can attend in attempts to meet their peers. Clarkson University also offers a few different living-learning communities which is a place where students who have similar interests can live together. This program is available for first-year students and can definitely help in the transition to Clarkson University. A few examples include STEM ED, ROTC and even movie fanatics. A full list of the programs available can be found on our Residence Life website. Not only could you share similar interests in education and have the opportunity to create and/or join study groups, but you also have the opportunity to meet peers that share your same passions outside the classroom!

Eating at Clarkson

Choosing your meal plan is a small step in the transferring process but important since you’ll have that plan for the rest of the school year. Not to mention, food is a natural way to bring new friends together so take advantage of this opportunity to meet new people as well.  

Clarkson University offers 6 different types of meal plans that are available to you and are similar in price. Check out each of your options on the Clarkson Dining and Catering page. These plans vary, and offer different options for students based on how often you plan to eat in one of Clarkson’s dining halls. 

As for eating on campus, you have about seven options which include all-you-can-eat buffets, cafes, coffee shops, etc. Clarkson University even offers “My Zone,” which is a designated gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free area for its students to accommodate all students’ dietary restrictions. You can find all of this helpful information plus a full list of all options at the link above.

Get Involved!

Five students from Clarkson's Outing Club student organization sled down a snow hill during the annual Winterfest event.
Clarkson’s Outing Club has all kinds of fun trips and events for its members, including its annual Winterfest, hosted at nearby Seven Spring in Parishville.

You may consider joining one of Clarkson’s many groups and clubs, starting a study group, going to sporting events or consider a sorority or fraternity to meet new people. There is a strong Greek life presence on the Clarkson campus. There are currently 9 fraternities and 4 sororities that make up Greek life at the university. 

Clarkson University offers a wide variety of clubs, sports, and majors that might not have been available to you at your past school and you want to make sure to take advantage of these opportunities. All told, there are approximately 250 clubs, organizations, and teams for students to join at Clarkson. Some of the teams that make up the Golden Knights include men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, ice hockey, etc. The range of teams is nothing compared to the range of organizations which include a soccer club, an outing club, and even a paintball club. You can find a full link to all of these organizations here.

Another popular way to get involved on campus is with the SPEED Teams. SPEED stands for Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design and there are more than a dozen teams at Clarkson! These teams work on projects from snowmobiles and go-karts to concrete canoes and steel bridges. Learn more about the SPEED teams at Clarkson here.

Connecting with Classmates

When transitioning to a new school these can all be great ways for students to meet like-minded peers. Probably one of the best ways to meet like-minded students is going to be in the major you end choosing when transferring to Clarkson University. These will most likely be the students you are surrounded with most often in classes and may even work in small groups on projects, assignments, etc. 

On Clarkson’s Undergraduate Programs site, you’ll be able to find a full list of all undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations which include many types of engineering, accounting, and even communications. If you are transferring in as a graduate student, you will have 35+ program options to choose from which can all be found here.

Explore the Area! 

A photo capturing the view from the top of a mountain in the Adirondack Park in the fall.
The Adirondack Park is right in our backyard and waiting for you to explore!

Once you familiarize yourself with all the options available to you on campus, it may be time to explore off campus life as well.  The town of Potsdam is a college town, home to Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam, and is home to approximately 7,000 students between the two campuses. There are also two other colleges in neighboring Canton: SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University. 

With the town being situated so far up north, there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of outdoor activities such as skiing or hiking through the Adirondack mountains or even taking a nice leisurely walk to take in the fresh air or see the fall foliage right in Potsdam or at any number of nearby outdoor attractions.

If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, downtown Potsdam is home to many small shops, cafes and restaurants, and a movie theater.  After being in school for a bit a lot of the students like to take a little getaway, and take a short drive to Canada and go to the capital, Ottawa or take a slightly long trip to Montreal. 

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