Taking the leap to a new school? You may have a myriad of reasons for transferring — financial needs, better classes, better technology, more prestigious faculty, family obligations, the list can go on and on.
But no matter what your reason, what you face is the same: new environment, new people, new school policies, and, most of all, new opportunities.
When you consider transferring, you have plenty of details to sort out. Here are four tips to keep in mind while making your decision:
1. What Will the Acceptance Process Be Like?
You need to ask yourself several questions having to do with the transfer acceptance process:
Do you have a clearly defined academic need or desire to transfer?
The college you apply to will want to know why you are transferring, such as that your current school doesn’t have a program you want to pursue that the potential college does have.
Will you use a common or school-specific application?
Some school-specific applications have special criteria and questions you need to answer that do not appear on the common application.
What are the important deadlines for sending applications and other paperwork?
You need to know deadlines for submitting the application, submitting essays and references, applying for scholarships, and so on. These deadlines may be different.
Does the school have different prerequisites, such as GPA, testing scores, necessary classes, etc.?
The average GPA for transfer students, for example, is a 2.5.
Do you need letters of recommendation?
Some schools require these, such as from current professors or deans.
Will you need engagement in school activities to better your chances?
Some honor societies and other subject-specific clubs better your chances of acceptance.
2. Will Your Credits Transfer?
Because colleges have different requirements for various areas of study, make sure that your credits transfer — or at least as many as possible. This will save you the time and money you’d spend on extra classes and semesters to make up for the credits you lost in the transfer.
For example, while your school may not require that you take calculus and you took another mathematics class, the school you apply to may require that class, so you would have to take it at your current school before transferring.
3. What Will You Study?
Will you study your same field of interest, or will you change majors completely? Keep in mind that colleges don’t all offer the same majors, nor do similar majors always have the same name or requirements. For example, some schools keep majors such as film or journalism housed under the general communication major, whereas other schools have specific majors and departments for those subjects. Do your research to determine the right program that best serves your educational goals.
4. How Will You Afford It?
Transfer students often have access to the same general scholarships and grants that anyone else would, such as FAFSA. But transfer students may not have access to scholarships that colleges give out to incoming freshmen. However, sometimes schools offer scholarships specifically for incoming transfer students, so research the admissions process at your future school.
Also you can apply or receive recommendations for other transfer scholarships, such as The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s scholarship for community college students transferring to a top four-year university.
Consider these four important points during the college transfer process. Thorough research ensures you make the best decisions regarding the future of your education.
Harvard University Admissions. “Transferring to Harvard College.” Harvard University. Web. 16 July 2014. Retrieved from Harvard University.
Joseph, Rebecca. “10 Tips for Prospective College Students.” HuffingtonPost.com. Huffington Post, 30 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 July 2014. Retrieved from Huffington Post.
Scholarship America. “Check Out These Scholarships for Transfer Students.” U.S. News & World Report. 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 31 July 2014. Retrieved from U.S. News & World Report: Education.