Transferring from One Four-Year College to Another

on June 22, 2017

Students who transfer from one four-year college to another usually do so because they want to change their major or career path. Sometimes they’re dissatisfied with the opportunities or social scene at their current college or university. Before you take the leap, take a look at our advice to get a better idea of how transferring works.


Students Considering Transferring


Most students who want to transfer quickly realize the college or university they ended up at doesn't offer the programs or opportunities they're looking for. This typically occurs during freshman year.


There's no bad reason to transfer, especially because it can be difficult to know if a college or university is right for you before setting foot on campus. That said, the sooner you realize you want to transfer to a different university, the better. Transferring at the end of your sophomore or junior years might mean you have to take introductory classes again. 


It's important to note that many students feel dissatisfied or out of place during their freshman year. College, however, is supposed to be about you, so if you feel that transferring to another university is the right choice for you, don't delay. 


Beginning the Process


The first decision you need to make after you've decided to transfer is which college or university you'd like to transfer to. Choose an institution you're confident will have what you're looking for by speaking to admissions officers and current students, and be honest about your situation.


Diligently review the obligatory steps at both colleges before starting your application. Missing a step could result in a rejected application or the inability to withdraw from your current college.


Become familiar with the course credits that are accepted for incoming transfer students, and be realistic about your chances — often, being accepted as a transfer student is significantly more difficult than being accepted as a freshman.


Be sure to ask if there are scholarships available for transfer students.


Completing the Process


Once you submit your application, your undergraduate grades will be weighed most heavily, so keep up with your classes even after you've decided you want to leave. Your personal statement should be about why you want to transfer and what specifically you can accomplish at this new college that you couldn't at your former college. 


Make sure you've paid outstanding payments and returned any books you might have checked out, in addition to other steps that are mandatory before your current college releases your transcript. Your college might also require an exit interview, so work with advisors to ensure you understand everything you have to do.




If you're accepted at your transfer college, the first thing you should do is look at housing options. Transfer students sometimes find it difficult to integrate into a new social scene, especially if they live in residences where sophomores or juniors already know each other.

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