Planning for College

Transferring to a New College

If you're considering switching schools, you're not alone. Nearly 30 percent of students transfer colleges. Commonly, students look to transfer schools to:

  • Save money
  • Be more academically challenged
  • Find a better social fit
  • Move closer to home due to family obligations
  • Find a better academic match (i.e., switching to a specialized school, a school that offers a broader educational experience, moving from a two-year to a four-year college, or switching from a private to a public university)
  • Attend a more prestigious university
Consider your reasons for transferring

Transferring schools can be very rewarding but can also be a challenging process, so it's important to carefully think through the decision. For example, some students may be tempted to switch colleges if they can't get along with their roommate or they're having trouble making friends, but often these issues resolve themselves by the second year of school, or can be addressed by speaking with a school counselor.

Do your research
Financial considerations:
Academic considerations:
Social considerations:
Start preparing for transfer

Once you've done your research, you'll want to find out the logistics of transferring. Ask your target school:

  • What do you look for in transfer students?
  • When do I need to apply?
  • When do you make decisions about transfers?
Next steps
  • Maintain your grades. Although colleges may consider your SAT and/or ACT scores, they will be more interested in your college performance to date. Remain focused in your current classes, and continue extracurricular activities that will reflect well on your application.
  • Get your transcripts and course descriptions ready. You'll need to provide course descriptions for the classes you've taken to make sure the credits will transfer. You can usually find these on the school website or in the guidebook you used to register for classes.
  • Get letters of recommendation. Maintain positive relationships with your current professors and ask a select few for letters of recommendation.
  • Meet the admissions officer. If the college or university offers interviews, it's a good idea to arrange for one. This gives you a chance to make a personal impression and to explain why you feel the target school is a better fit for you.
  • Start writing your admissions essay. Your essay should explain why you're looking to transfer, with a strong focus on why you feel the target college is the best fit for you. Having done extensive research on the school you should have a good sense of the best points to highlight and why you feel you will thrive in that environment.