Most students hope to graduate from the same school they enter as freshmen. However, at some time during the four years, some students choose to transfer colleges. This could be for any number of reasons.
You may not be thinking of transferring colleges right now but it’s good to know how the process works. If, at a later time, you do decide to transfer, you will be able to make a more informed decision.
Why Do Students Transfer Colleges?
There is a lot of growth and development that happens in your college years. Some students may start off with one idea or goal in mind. Or start off not really sure about what they want to major in. Either way, as their classes progress, some get more clarity about what they really want to do. They find then that their school is not equipped to support their new goal. This is one of the most common reasons why students choose to transfer colleges.
Choosing to transfer because you don’t like your classmates or lecturers is definitely not recommended. The transfer process is expensive and time-consuming. It also often delays graduation. Mild inconveniences are not a good reason to even consider transferring.
Think you have a good enough reason to transfer colleges? Here are some things you should do to ensure a smooth transfer.
Be Aware of the Application Process
A college transfer is not simply a matter of moving all your stuff from one campus to another. Every school has its own eligibility criteria. You will have to first check that you meet the requirements of the college you want to transfer to. If you are eligible to apply, you then have to go through the entire application process.
As a transfer student, your application will be assessed differently from students applying right out of high school, but it’s still a competitive process. A top-notch application supported by stellar academic performance is crucial to getting accepted.
Start By Making A Note Of Application Deadlines
Whether you are applying to one specific school or multiple schools, taking note of the application deadline is crucial. Remember, colleges have different deadlines so don’t just check one deadline and call it good.
Once you’ve noted the deadlines, it’s time to start working on your transfer application.
Request College Transcripts
All colleges require transfer applications to be accompanied by the student’s latest college transcript. This is because colleges want to know more about your academic performance at your current school before admitting you. It gives them a better idea of what to expect from you and whether you will be an asset to their institution. Obtaining college transcripts can take time. Make sure you put in a request well in time so your application is not delayed.
If you’ve spent only a short time at your current school, your transfer college may also ask to see your SAT/ACT scores. Keep these ready if you are transferring during your first year.
Request Letters of Recommendation
Recommendation letters are sometimes a requirement when transferring. Make sure you read each school’s requirements carefully. Some may ask for only one recommendation letter, others may ask for more than one.
Who should you ask to write your letter of recommendation? If the school doesn’t specify, you should always ask the professor who you’ve worked closely with. You want some who knows you well to write your recommendation letter. That’s the only way to get a strong letter that recommends you as an asset to any institution.
Work On Your Transfer Application Essay
Underestimating the importance of an outstanding transfer application essay is a mistake. Your transfer application essay will ultimately determine whether or not you get accepted. Make sure you spend sufficient time working on your essay, tweaking, editing and polishing it to perfection.
Most colleges will ask you to write an essay emphasizing why you want to transfer to their particular school. Focus on this topic even if your prospective school does not specify the topic of the essay.
If You Can, Visit The Campus Of Your Target School
Visiting the campus will help you solidify your choice of college either way. You may come away convinced that a school is a great fit for you or you may decide otherwise. Arrange to sit in on one or more classes while on your campus visit. Talk to students, eat at the cafeteria, and stay a night in a dorm if possible. All of these will help to ensure that you are making the right choice.
Keep Working On Your Grades
Don’t ignore your academics while working on your transfer application. Keeping your grades up is super important. Your prospective colleges will want to evaluate your academic progress and you don’t want them to see that your grades have slipped. Creating a schedule to study and work on your transfer application is one way to do justice to both activities.
Keeping your grades high is also important for the purpose of transfer credits. The higher the credits you are able to transfer, the sooner you will be able to graduate. Completing your degree on time means graduating with lesser college loan debt. You’ll be glad you studied hard to those grades up when you have to make smaller monthly payments after graduation.
Financial Considerations of Transferring
Any financial aid you may have gotten through your current in the form of scholarships or grants may get affected when you transfer. Speak to the financial office at your school and your intended school before you start the process. You need to determine how the transfer will impact your financial aid. Ask your target school is they set aside funds for transfer students. Not all colleges do. Also find out about the new school’s financial aid policies. You don’t want any nasty surprises after you’ve transferred.
The more you know about how to transfer colleges, the better equipped you’ll be to make more informed decisions.
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