The Basics About Transferring Colleges

The college application process is intimidating in itself, yet approximately a third of college students will repeat the process in orde to transfer to another college. The reasons vary, and as with anything else, there are good reasons and there are poor reasons.

Experts believe that with the popularity of early admissions where schools now admit sometimes up to half of their incoming freshman class, and the competitive nature of the application process, high school seniors often feel pressured to make decisions before they might have had chance to really understand which school is the best fit for them on both a personal level and academically. Even for those who did everything right, once on campus and confronted with the rigors of college level courses, doubts about having made the right choice will begin to emerge.

The normal path for students who begin their college education at a community college is to transfer to a 4-yr institution once they have earned their Associates degree (AA). Naturally, students can apply to transfer to any college they wish, but Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) programs (not to be confused with Guaranteed Transfer) guarantee qualified community college graduates admission to schools that are part of such programs where they can then go onto earn their Bachelors. California has one of the best known TAG programs offering guaranteed admission to all eligible in-state community college students.

Students who want to transfer from one 4-yr school to another have a more challenging time. If transferring after only one year of college, the high school academic profile will be the core of their application. If applying after sophomore year then the college GPA, transcript, etc., will come into play. Always check the college’s website for their transfer student admission requirements. Few Ivy League schools accept transfer students with some, like Princeton, which has only just begun to accept transfers, and it goes without saying that the process is very competitive.

Transferring credits is easily one of the hardest parts of the process, but here are some tips to ensure that the most of them do. Students able to participate in a TAG program will be able to keep most of their credits, but rarely are students able to transfer all their credits to their new school. Approximately 40% of transfer students received no credits for courses taken, losing on average almost full year of credits.

In July of 2018, Common App introduced the Common Application for Transfer, specifically designed for students interested in transferring schools. As with the regular Common App, this application streamlines the process, helps students gather the necessary documents, identify the essay prompts and all other school specific admission requirements, and lastly, is accepted by all their members schools. Transfer deadlines tend to be in February and March, but always check the websites of the schools on your list to be sure.

So, if you want to transfer schools, do yourself a big favor and follow this handy step-by-step guide to make sure that you’ve thought of everything and are successful at taking this next big step in your future.