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How to Transfer Colleges

Last updated May 10, 2021

Many students arrive at a college and realize, for one reason or another, this isn't going to work out. When you find yourself in this position, one of several options is to transfer to another college. Whatever your reasons may be for wanting to transfer, they’re valid -- you deserve to attend a school where you’re happy and can succeed academically and socially! Transferring colleges is a common process that nearly a third of all college students undergo every academic year.

However, the process can be tricky! This guide will walk you through how to prepare to transfer, and ensure you transfer successfully without setting yourself behind.

If you’re looking for a guide on how to transfer from a community college to a 4-year institution, check out this article!

Figure out what college you want to transfer to

You now know, at least, what you don’t want in a prospective college, so begin your research with a view toward what you know you need from a school in order to be successful. Think about what you want to study, school size, campus culture, costs, and location.

Take advantage of the College Scorecard tool, which allows you to search colleges nationwide by size, degrees offered, graduation rate, tuition estimates, and more!

Align your course schedule with the major you want to pursue at your new college

Transfer applications are often evaluated based on what “department” of the college you are applying to. For example, if you’re applying for transfer as an engineering major, you’ll want to have a course schedule at your current college that at least partially reflects your experience with engineering-related subject matter.

It’s highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with your current academic advisor. They can help ensure you take classes that 1. Will likely count as credit at your new college, and 2. Align with the degree you want to pursue at the college you transfer to.

Reach out to the transfer admissions office at the college you want to transfer to

You’ll want to talk to a transfer admissions advisor at your new prospective college and get their input on what you can do to strengthen your application, what courses/credits will transfer, and more.

Work closely with both your current academic advisor and the admissions office at the college you want to transfer to as soon as you know you want to transfer.

Your course load, current GPA, and transfer essays will play the largest role in the strength of your transfer application.

If you’re transferring after one year (or less) at your current college - your high school GPA and current college GPA will both play a role in how colleges evaluate your transfer application. They’ll also look closely at what college courses you’ve taken, how they relate to the major you’re applying to transfer to, and your application essays.

Check out this guide on how to write and outline a great college essay if you need help!

Have questions about how to transfer between colleges and want 1:1 help? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 and our trained advisors can walk you through how to be successful! We’re online, responding to texts from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday!

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