Students transfer to different colleges for many reasons. It may be that your college choice just wasn’t want you expected or it may be that you didn’t get into your first choice college and want to try again for admission. If your new college experience isn’t going like you had hoped then you may wish to consider a transfer to another college. This college transfer guide will provide information for students considering a college transfer.
Before considering a transfer, however, take a serious look at your current college to see if the problems you observe can be corrected. Often times, students want to change colleges simply because they haven’t socially made the transition to college life. Giving a college more time and getting more involved in college life may make all the difference in how you feel about your current college. For this reason we generally discourage students from considering a mid year freshman transfer. Many problems related to social life resolve themselves in the second term for most students.
When to transfer is also a consideration. Most transfer colleges require that you have a certain number of credits to be considered for transfer status. If you have too few credits then you will be considered a freshman applicant and your high school grades and standardized test scores may become important. On the other hand, most colleges do not allow transfer students if the student has completed more than 2 years of college.
If you don’t believe that the problem with your current college can be corrected then you need to investigate transferring. The first step in this investigation is to seriously evaluate why your present college did not work out. You do not want to repeat the mistake you made with the first college in choosing a new college.
In examining which college to transfer to, you also need to evaluate how the proposed college handles transfer credits from your current college. Each college has a different policy to determine which credits will be accepted for transfer purposes and you need to understand that policy in deciding where to apply. If one college will accept all of your current credits while another will only accept half of the credits you may be better off at the college that will accept all of the credits. This also impacts the question on how long it will take you to graduate from college. If the transfer college accepts most of your current credits you are more likely to be on time for a normal graduation.
What is a normal time for graduation is another question you should ask of the transfer college. If you will need more than 4 years to graduate it will often cost you more money in college expenses and will delay your entry into the work force.
The retention rate is another issue that can be important for students seeking to transfer. The retention rate is the number of students who began as freshman that return for sophomore year. In other words, how many students leave the college at which you are looking to transfer? This is important because the more students that leave the better your chance for admission because the transfer college will have more room to accept transfer students.
Paying for the transfer college is another critical issue that needs to be investigated. Some colleges have reduced financial aid available for transfer students and give preference for financial aid to their continuing students. You need to ask the transfer college what their financial aid policy is for transfer students.
You will also want to investigate what orientation programs the college has for transfer students. Although not critical, it is nice to have some orientation to the college to help you feel you a part of the college.
So now you have some idea of what to look for in a transfer college. But what are the colleges looking for in the students they accept as transfers? Like freshman admissions, the most critical factor are your grades. But now the most critical grades are those you have earned in your current college courses. Although many colleges will ask to see your high school transcript for a transfer the high school grades are secondary to your college grades. So if you are considering transferring, don’t slack off on working just because you don’t like your current college.
Colleges may also consider your SAT or ACT scores but again these are of much less importance for a transfer student than for freshman admissions. The more selective colleges will also consider your activities outside the classroom so getting and staying involved in what ever your interests are should continue at your present college. For specific details of what factors the college will consider for transfer admissions, contact the college directly and ask them what factors are most important.
Most colleges will also ask for letters of recommendation from a current college professor so it is a good idea to maintain a relationship with one of your professors. We also strongly recommend that you arrange for an interview if the college offers interviews. This is your opportunity to explain why the transfer college is the better choice for you than your current college.
Finally, we recommend that you pay careful attention to the question of when the transfer college makes decisions regarding transfers. Some colleges do rolling admissions for transfer students in which case it is important to get your application in early so that you are one of the first transfer students considered. Other colleges will not make their transfer decisions until they have completed freshman admissions to know how many places they will have available for transfer students. Even for these colleges, it is best to get your application in before the deadline so that you don’t risk any last minute problem with a late application.