Thinking About Transferring?
The Decision to Transfer
Are you thinking about transferring to a different college? Are you a Community College student looking to further your education? Are you looking for a different 4-year school because your educational purpose has changed? You are not alone! Over one third of four-year college graduates transfer schools.
Because the decision to transfer can be emotionally, financially, and physically draining, it is not a decision to be made hastily. Take time to figure out what is you need and want from the school, and if that school aligns with your education goals. Some things to consider when making the decision to transfer:
- Have your career goals changed since your initial college decision?
- What major/minors are you looking for? Are you seeking opportunities like internships, research, or other hands-on experience?
- Where do students at that college get employed after graduation? In what fields?
- Have your finances changed?
- How much are you will to pay or finance each year?
- Considering an in-state school?
- Is living in this area different than what you expected and not working for you?
- Do you want to be closer to home?
- Are you seeking opportunities that are available around you?
- Is the social environment different than what you expected?
- Do you feel uncomfortable, or even unsafe?
Whatever your reason for transfer, be sure to take your time and consider your options. Are your reasons things that can easily be fixed with just a few changes? Is your unhappiness preventing you from finding enjoyment in the things your current school has to offer? Or are your reasons for transfer things that can only be made better with a change in environment? Review your goals and desires and start searching for schools that have what you need to make the most of your college experience.
Choosing a College
Make a List
Start a New College Search
Meet With Your Advisor
Determine Which Credits Will Transfer
After a credit evaluation, you’ll be told how many of your credits will transfer to your potential new schools – use this information to help make your final decision. Remember, any credits that don’t transfer will need to be made up, which can require more time in school- and more money.
Talk With Professors in Your Major
Visit Colleges & Speak With Transfer Admissions
The Application Process
Different Applications and Deadlines
Common Application - It will allow you to apply to more than one school at once.
School Specific Applications - Most schools will have their own application if you choose to do this. Make sure to follow prompts for their transfer application.
When it comes to the application, some of the required material colleges will ask for are detailed below.
As a transfer applicant, you may be asked to respond to a different personal statement or essay prompt than incoming freshmen.
- Avoid reusing a personal statement you wrote while in high school because, chances are, it won’t fit the prompt. Even if it does fit, you’re missing out on the opportunity to share lessons learned while in college if you reuse something you wrote while in high school.
- The transfer essay is generally narrower in focus. Think of this essay as your statement of purpose explaining why you have chosen to transfer or your opportunity to express who you are to the admissions office.
If you do not feel that the transcripts accurately reflect your abilities as a student, address that in the personal statement, the additional information section of the Common Application, or in an optional essay response.
Some colleges may also require high school transcripts, even if you have completed an associate’s degree or the equivalent number of credits.
Apply to Your Major
The deadlines for applying to a specific major or program can vary – even within the same institution – and may be before the general transfer deadline.
Explain Your Reason for Transferring
Check out these tips to help you respond to questions about transferring simply, factually, and creatively.
As you reflect on your experiences, avoid making negative comments about your current institution. Focus instead on what you have learned and your goals for the future.
Letters of Recommendation
Choose a faculty member who knows you well and is able to speak to your academic abilities and perhaps to your involvement outside of the classroom. Make a formal request of your professor – preferably in person, but email is also acceptable – to ask if they would be willing to write a letter or complete a form on your behalf. Explain the purpose of the recommendation and why you have chosen to ask this person.
Make an appointment to discuss the recommendation at least three weeks prior to the deadline and provide your professor with information about yourself (i.e. graded papers, a resume, a list of work and extracurricular experience) to help with the writing process.
Don’t forget to send a thank you letter to your recommender and let them know the outcome of your application(s)!
Standardized Test Scores
At some colleges, submitting standardized test scores is optional for students who have earned a minimum number of college credits. If you have the option to submit scores, check the admissions statistics on the school website or Big Future for the college(s) you are interested in attending. If your scores are above the average test scores of admitted students, then it is in your best interest to send your scores.
I've Applied, Now What?
It’s important to keep your grades up throughout the transfer process. Sometimes, student don’t put in their best effort when they know they will be transferring. Keep in mind that you want as many credits to transfer over as possible, so maintaining good grades will ensure this will happen. Colleges will have a GPA requirements as well as specific grading requirements when transferring classes.
You’ll need to add the colleges that you are interested in attending to your Free Application from Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are transferring between your fall and spring semesters, you will want to speak with your current financial aid office to cancel any financial aid you have for the spring semester. This will allow the new schools to work on a Financial Aid Offer for you. For additional information regarding Financial Aid, please visit our FA section or book an appointment to talk through your specific situation.
Making a Final Decision
Utilize your resources, including NHHEAF’s Center for College Planning, to help you make the best decision for you.
- Compare transfer credit evaluations.
- Compare your financial aid offers.
- Speak with Residential Life and Housing to ensure each school has appropriate housing for transfer students (if needed).
- Deposit: Once you have decided on a school that checks all of your boxes, it’s time to send in your deposit! You may want to speak with admission to make sure that there isn’t a different deposit cost for transfer students.
NHHEAF’s Center for College Planning is dedicated to serving all students throughout their education and career planning journeys, for free!
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