7 Tips For Transfer Students

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: January 12, 2021

7 tips for college transfer studentsDid you know that our last two presidents were transfer students? President Trump attended Fordham University and transferred to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and President Obama transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University. So, if you are unhappy at your current school, you can make a change.

Applying to college a second time is not an easy process; it takes lots of research and careful planning. Here are a 7 factors to consider:

  1. Degree of admissions competitiveness: Some schools are very competitive and harder to enter as a transfer student, while others are about the same as they were for freshman admission; many have even less competitive admission. You can determine how difficult it will be to transfer by comparing the freshman admit rate to the transfer admit rate. Note: some majors are more difficult to enter than others, so check the specific admit rate for your intended major, if it’s published.

  2. Grades matter: Your college GPA and the courses you’re enrolled in are more predictive of your ability to succeed in college than your high school grades. However, if you’re transferring with less than 60 credits, you may also need to send your high school transcript and possibly your SAT or ACT scores.

  3. Deadlines vary: Be certain that you have the correct deadline for each college for the semester into which you to transfer. Transfer admission deadlines tend to be later than freshman admission deadlines.

  4. Credits: Check on the number of college credits needed to transfer; some colleges don’t permit sophomore transfers because they simply don’t have space to admit more students to the lower division. Also, some credits earned at your first college may not be accepted by the transfer institution. Credits transfer, but grades from your first college may not be included in the cumulative GPA on your transcript from your transfer institution. This may be a chance for a fresh start in your major! Your grades, particularly in your major, will be important for employment and grad school.

  5. Admission requirements: Requirements vary from school to school: some may require test scores, letters of recommendation, interviews, auditions, or portfolios. You can find a comprehensive list of the requirements in the Common App for Transfer Applications Requirement Grid 2020-2021.

  6. Application: Most colleges use the Common App for transfers; however, it doesn’t quite work the same way as the Common App you used for freshman admission. So, before creating your Common App transfer account, consider watching this short, helpful video that explains how the transfer application platform works.

  7. Reasons to transfer: Before you think about where you’d like to go next, you need to analyze what went wrong at your current college. After all, when you were in high school, you probably declared your love for your current school. Going through the transfer process as an enrolled college student is a Herculean effort. You need solid reasons for leaving your current school, and an explanation of how the new school can help you reach your goal for the future. Reasons to transfer usually fall in one of these categories:
    • Affordability: Many students elect to begin college in their community to save money on tuition. General education requirements can be fulfilled at almost any college, but once you have completed the required courses, you may wish to transfer to a school that has depth and breadth in your desired major.
    • Prestige: If you were a late bloomer in high school but are crushing it academically in college, or you attended a community college to save money, you may be able to transfer to a college with more prestige. Be careful! Rankings don’t necessarily mean that the school is the right fit for you.
    • Location: Some students may be disappointed in the community where they attend college, or now, with some maturity, they may be more flexible about location; some will decide to go to college closer to home, while others may be ready to travel further away.
    • Major: According to the National Center for Education, 80% of college freshmen change their major three times before graduation. Make sure the new school has a variety of majors that match your interests and goals.
    • Social Scene: Problems with your roommate or too much partying can make a student uncomfortable with a school’s social environment. When usually well-adjusted students feel like outsiders on campus, they may wish to transfer.
    • Clean start: For any or all of the reasons listed above, sometimes it’s great to get a fresh start. A clean slate may also help students who didn’t achieve stellar grades – which do not transfer! Only the credits earned do.

Making a change while currently enrolled as a full-time student requires good organization and time management skills. Don’t give up on your present college; attend classes, turn in assignments on time, seek out your professors. You may need a professor’s letter of recommendation. Stay calm and keep studying so you’ll present yourself as the strongest applicant possible.

If you need advice on where to apply or help with your applications or essays, contact us.

Barb LeventhalBarbara Leventhal Educational Consultant

Collages where its harder to get in as a transfer student


Collages where its easier to get in as a transfer students


Topics: College Counseling


Like this post? Share it!

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Ready to move to the front of the class?

Let's discuss an educational plan that will get you or your student on a path to success.