Many selective colleges and universities offer the opportunity to apply for fall and spring transfer admission. Transferring is competitive, requiring research, planning, and preparation. Applying as a transfer student allows you to demonstrate a strong fit based on your experience in college, performance in college-level coursework and knowledge of what type of academic environment you seek. You also have the chance to illustrate the dedication and enthusiasm you will offer to your new college based on your engagement as a transfer student.
According to a recent report from the Association for College Admission Counseling, one out of three students who enroll in a two-year or four-year college end up transferring. You are not alone if you are contemplating transferring. Although one in three students is an enormous statistic, transfer admission requirements and the process receives limited attention, unlike the freshman process.
Although transfer admit rates at most selective institutions are lower than first-year rates, do not let this fact get in your way, as many applicants are not admissible because they have not met the minimum requirements for transfer. Given the lack of clarity around the transfer process, applicants who have taken the time to research and understand transfer requirements and evaluation standards are highly admissible. Put yourself in this group of applicants by doing your research.
Putting together a successful transfer application requires planning at least one semester before the application deadline. Although the majority of transfer requirements are similar among institutions, there are slight differences that your research will uncover. Identify the following from institution web pages –
- Transfer admission available for your intended major(s)
- Transfer requirements
- Course requirements/recommendations for your intended major(s)
- Completed credits required
- Standardized tests – required or not
- Application – most use the Common Application for Transfer Students. Note: In August 2018, the Common App is rolling out a new application for transfer applicants.
- Transfer admission deadlines – Fall and Spring
- Transfer admission acceptance rate. College Board Big Future – on each college’s “profile page” you will see a “For transfer students” tab on the left side. Click to review the number of students applying for transfer in the previous year and the number accepted.
The essential transfer requirement to fulfill is the course requirements for your intended major. Transfer admission course requirements are put in place so when you transfer you are on par with your peers at your new college. At the time of applying you need to have completed or are enrolled in (ideally, only one or two courses with most completed) all required courses for transfer. Knowledge and completion of this requirement often define a successful applicant.