Transferring 101

Students consider transferring colleges for many reasons. Some don’t enjoy their first college. Others did not get admitted to their first choice, and plan to transfer once they strengthen their academic record. Some change majors and their school is no longer the right fit. Some didn’t do the research in the first place, and ended up at the wrong fit.

If a student is considering transferring, they should plan to spend a year at their first college. Most schools do not admit students after one semester, unless that student would have been admissible out of high school. But check each college’s website for the actual transfer policy.

Students should take classes that will transfer to other colleges easily–typically 100 level coursework like entry level English, Math, History, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. Major specific courses or higher level classes often don’t transfer as easily as colleges want you to take your major courses at the institution issuing your degree. Some colleges participate in credit databases like transferology that allow you to see how your courses will transfer (but these may not be comprehensive).

If you have are taking courses that don’t appear in these databases, keep copies of your syllabi (download if they are digital on a learning management system). You maybe asked to submit course descriptions and syllabi so the faculty at your new college can review and find equivalent classes at your new university/college. You typically only receive credit for classes that you received a C or better.

If you are trying to transfer to a highly selective college, you need to maintain As in the classes you are taking. Make sure you are aware of any particular courses they require for admission. If you previously applied to the institution and were not admitted, it might be helpful to try and schedule a meeting with admissions (if they provide them) to understand how to strengthen your application. While you may not be enjoying your initial institution, take advantage of clubs and activities to show you got involved and are engaged.

Think about what you like and dislike about your college. Then research the new schools thoroughly so you find one that has what you truly need to be happy and successful.

If you need help finding a new college or university, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are happy to assist you navigate the transfer process as it can be complicated at times.

Published by Kate Coffman

Kate has worked in admissions, financial aid, college and career readiness for over twenty years. She most recently served as the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Franklin College. Kate has also worked in admissions at Butler University and Indiana University. Kate has presented at numerous schools and conferences helping families, educators and those who work with youth understand how to be college and career ready, how to apply to college and how to afford their education.

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