Just Admit It: What is the Transfer Admissions Process Like?
Learn the Ins and Outs of the Transfer Admissions Process
With approximately one in three students choosing to transfer colleges at least once during their undergraduate career, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the admissions process. While there are some parallels to first-year admissions, there are also some key differences that transfer applicants must be aware of.
If you’re considering transferring colleges, preparing in advance and doing your research can help set you up for success. Keep reading to learn more about our tips for transfer applicants and check out our Just Admit It! podcast episode for even more insights on the topic.
Understand Your Why
Every student may feel frustrated with their college experience from time to time, so how can you know if transferring schools is really the best option for you? Start by making a pros and cons list that outlines what you could gain by transferring to another school on one side, as well as noting the reasons to stay at your current institution on the other. Before you commit to researching, applying, and navigating the transfer admissions process, it’s essential that you feel completely confident in your decision to transfer in the first place.
If you’ve decided that transferring colleges is likely the best option for you, the next step is thorough research. One of the best ways to stay on top of deadlines is by starting a spreadsheet that details each of your best-fit schools, their corresponding deadlines and application requirements, and additional logistical information such as whether or not AP courses are accepted as college credit. Every college has its own rules and guidelines surrounding transfer admissions, which is why it’s so important for students to read the fine print and focus on the details when making their decisions.
Prepare for Personal Statements
Much like first-year applications, many colleges will ask students to write a personal statement as part of their application. However, the questions transfer students will be asked might look very different from first-year prompts. Generally, the personal statement questions will be specific, focused, and maybe even a little bit quirky. Instead of simply asking “Why do you want to transfer?”, some students will be faced with questions like “What was a course you have really enjoyed in college so far and why?” and even “If you could design your own seminar, what would it look like?”
Don’t Forget About Recommendation Letters
While it’s not a requirement at every college, some universities will ask students for letters of recommendation as part of their transfer admissions process. Generally, if schools require letters of recommendation, they will likely be looking for 1-2 letters from professors. It’s often advantageous to select professors who have taught you most recently because they will have the most current perspective on what your work is like as a student and they will likely be able to recall specific details or anecdotes with greater ease. Strive to build a relationship with these professors by attending (virtual) office hours, participating in classroom discussions, and giving them a chance to get to know you on a personal level.
Consider Negotiating Financial Aid if Needed
Once you’ve received your transfer acceptance results, don’t be afraid to inquire about your financial aid offer as needed. Generally, transfer admissions students actually cost universities much less money than first-year applicants, so you may be able to negotiate your financial package to make the transfer admissions process more feasible for you.
While the transfer admissions process can feel overwhelming initially, it’s also an exciting opportunity to identify a school that better aligns with your academic needs and goals. If you’re getting ready to apply as a transfer applicant and searching for guidance, our team of admissions counselors can support you throughout the process.