Transfers: Your Guide to Transferring Colleges

Have you entered your first year of college and discovered that this particular college, although you fell in love with it on paper, is just not for you? Or maybe you’re in your junior year and you’re frustrated with your major’s program? Well this guide to transferring colleges is for you.

Finding out the school isn’t what you thought it was can be a heartbreaking moment, but there are usually options available. If you have questions about a guide to transferring colleges, wondering if it’s too late to make the switch, or are toying with the idea, we answered some of the most frequently asked below to explain how transferring colleges works.

Students walking at the University of Maryland.

Source: Flickr user University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Why Should (Shouldn’t) You Transfer? Guide to transferring colleges:

Many students transfer as just a part of school when they graduate from community college and attend a 4 year college. However, if you’re in a 4 year college already and you’ve discovered you’re not happy, transferring may also be on your mind. You might be asking yourself, “Is this a good reason to transfer or should I just stick it out?”

If you discovered your college or university simply isn’t meeting your academic or social needs, it can be a strong reason to transfer.

Some issues that students run into that are reason for transfer include:

  1. The school was heavily misrepresented online or on the tour.
    • This is a good reason to visit a campus yourself, talk to alumni, and not just rely on school-organized tours.
  2. The program isn’t what you need for your career.
  3. The program isn’t challenging or engaging.
  4. They’re unhappy with the geographical location.
  5. They cannot afford the tuition or additional costs.

However, there are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t transfer, too.

Don’t transfer simply because

You’re homesick.

    • This will pass! You can always go back and visit your family. Set up video calls regularly, too!

 A relationship or long-distance relationship is struggling due to the distance or you simply miss your significant other.

    • Serious relationships will find a way to make it work. Support from your SO is crucial during this period of your life.

It wasn’t your dream school, but you have no other reason to be unhappy with the college.

    • Getting into your dream school isn’t the end of the world, and you may just need to give it time to fall in love with this school, too.

You don’t have any friends.

    • This, also, will pass! Try joining clubs or extracurriculars to get to know others at your school.

You don’t like your roommate.

    • You can always request a room transfer. If a mid-year room transfer is denied, you’ll only have to room with them until the end of the semester or school year. If you’re having serious problems with your roommate, make sure to talk to your RA and Department of Housing on campus.

It’s important to really get to the bottom of why you’re thinking about transferring colleges. Is it for a reason that will have a long-lasting impact on you as a student and upon graduation, or is it for a reason that will pass in a few weeks?

How Do You Apply for a College Transfer? Guide to transferring to colleges:

Before transferring colleges, you will need to start a college list – just like you did in senior year of high school! You’ll have to find colleges that match your needs, achievements, and wants. This time around you should also consider the things you don’t want in a school – you don’t want to make the same mistake a second time! It’s likely you learned a lot from the first go around back in your senior year of high school.

And just like before, you will have to apply to the colleges, this time as a “transfer student.” You should have your high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays. You will also need to include your college transcripts now of course!

Is it Harder to Get Accepted Into College as a Transfer Student?

Students in this boat should know that it may be harder to get into colleges as a transfer student, especially if the school in question is highly selective. Transfer acceptance rates tend to be lower than the school’s first year acceptance rates!

With high first year retention rates, there simply may not be room in the class for transfer students. And if you’re applying later in your college experience, your high school grades and ACT/SAT test scores may not matter as much – they’re going to be looking more at your college transcripts than anything else.

Can You Apply to Colleges You Were Already Rejected From?

It’s also important to note that not all colleges will accept re-submissions of applications if you were previously rejected from them. Most schools will review your new application, however. If you’re unsure how the college in question handles re-submissions, ask before you apply.

How Do You Make Sure Your Transfer Credits Will Be Accepted?

However, before you submit any applications, you will absolutely have to make sure that the college you want to attend will accept your transfer credits. Not all will! Some systems, like the State University of New York (SUNY) schools in NY, make transferring credits easy. For example, SUNY

New Paltz, a 4 year institution, will accept transfer credits from SUNY Orange, a community college, with minimal fuss.

More and more colleges are opening the door to transfer credits, too, and streamlining the process. Another example: Syracuse University accepts transfer units from any accredited school.

Colleges may also be very specific criteria attached to the transfer of credits.

One example: if you received a 2.5 GPA in a statistics class, these credits may only transfer as electives and not meet any math requirements the new school may have. In this event, you would have to retake the statistics course, but not lose the credits entirely. Other colleges may decline those credits altogether though. Especially if the class was very specific and they don’t offer a comparable program.

If you have any questions about how transferring credits works for the school you’re thinking about attending, be sure to reach out to the new college’s advisers before you even apply. They can give you detailed information of how their transfers work, what credits are accepted from your school, and minimal requirements for GPA.

Can You Transfer and Still Graduate on Time?

While it is entirely possible to transfer schools and graduate on time, not every student will have this experience. It will absolutely depend on the program you’re entering, the year you transfer, and how many transfer credits are accepted by the new college.

Is it Ever Too Late to Transfer Colleges?

There can be a time limit on transferring colleges. First, with this guide to transferring colleges, there’s the application deadlines. Unless the college you’re considering has a rolling application process, applications are generally due on January 1st. This is just like when you were in high school. If you miss this deadline, you’ll have to wait for the following year.

Secondly, some schools that don’t accept a lot of transfer credits and almost all have limits on how much they will accept. Most colleges and universities, for example, will only accept between 60 or 90 credits for transfers. You’ll usually have 60 credits by the time you’ve completed sophomore year (or graduated from community college) and your general education requirements. You will want to ask the school their limit on transfer credits ahead of time.

However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t transfer if you have over 90 credits, but it may mean not all of your credits will count if the limit is 90. This could cause you to need more time to graduate. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons if you’re in a later year of college before you make the jump to transferring.

If You’re Transferring, Should You Try in Your Classes?

Yes! Don’t simply stop attending your classes or completing assignments because you know you’re planning on applying for transfers. Your future potential colleges will absolutely look at your college grades. It could result in a rejection if you’re not putting your best foot forward.

Even if you’ve been accepted to a new college, you must continue to work hard. Colleges and universities can absolutely rescind offers! And you want to make sure those classes transfer.

Discovering the college you’re attending isn’t for you can be a stressful experience. However, it’s likely you have options. In order to find the best course for you, research is necessary. Talking with a transfer counselor can also be extremely helpful during the process.

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