Transfer Admission Rates: What are Your Chances of Getting In?

Monday, February 5, 2024

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The transfer admissions process can often be even more selective than regular undergraduate admissions, and with 35% of college students transferring at least once, it’s important to understand exactly how difficult (or not!) it is to transfer to your dream school.

Why Transfer?

There are a number of reasons why students choose to transfer schools. It can be anything from homesickness or a negative experience their first year, to a change in major that isn’t offered at their current institution. Often students are also transferring from a two-year school to a four-year university. What’s key when transferring is to know why you want to transfer and how to build a balanced transfer college list that can meet your new needs. Part of building that list includes understanding your chances of admission.

Transfer Admission Rates

It’s important to understand that the transfer admission process is often much more selective than the undergraduate process — especially at universities where gaining admission is already very difficult. According to NACAC, on average, transfer admission rates were slightly lower than that of first-year students. Why? First, students are applying for admission to classes that are already established and may have few seats available. It’s not like the undergraduate process, where the class is first being built and there are thousands of spots for applicants. However, that’s not to say that it’s hard to gain admission as a transfer student at all universities. In fact, at some schools transfer admission rates are about the same or slightly higher than the undergraduate admission rate. As schools look to fill out their classes and maintain high yield rates, they’ve placed more of an emphasis on recruiting transfer students.

Here are some transfer admission rates for fall 2023 (the most recent data available.)

SchoolFirst-Year Acceptance RateTransfer Acceptance Rate
Amherst College9.81%8.68%
Babson College19.74%26.09%
Bates College13.06%15.11%
Bowdoin College8.02%6.82%
Brown University5.23%4.08%
Bucknell University32.01%26.46%
Claremont McKenna College11.12%8.31%
College of Charleston72.00%87.40%
College of the Holy Cross21.10%46.45%
College of William and Mary32.72%48.13%
Colorado College20.03%42.77%
Cornell University7.90%12.67%
Dartmouth College6.23%1.56%
Elon University67.31%56.25%
Fairfield University44.98%7.14%
Georgia TechIn-State: 36.60%
Out-of-State: 12.53%
International: 9.95%
Gonzaga University75.96%67.33%
Hamilton College11.77%11.15%
Harvey Mudd College13.10%5.08%
Indiana University80.37%65.99%
Lafayette College31.47%21.08%
Lehigh University29.26%29.50%
Loyola Marymount University40.29%40.84%
Macalester College28.21%27.52%
Marquette University87.48%73.27%
Pomona College6.76%7.17%
Providence College48.72%55.95%
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology72.81%67.19%
Southern Methodist University61.22%68.77%
Stanford University3.91%2.04%
Swarthmore College6.94%9.20%
Syracuse University43.12%43.42%
Texas A&M63.10%58.07%
Texas Christian University42.60%84.16%
Trinity University28.16%32.93%
Tulane University14.59%50.59%
University of California – Berkeley11.57%28.89%
University of California – Davis41.85%64.62%
University of California – Irvine25.75%43.39%
University of California – Los Angeles8.73%26.32%
University of California – San Diego24.70%62.43%
University of Denver70.67%78.81%
University of GeorgiaIn-State: 50.24%
Out-of-State: 28.11%
International: 21.60%
University of MarylandIn-State:53.90%
Out-of-State and International: 41.56%
University of Massachusetts – Amherst57.74%68.73%
University of Miami18.51%51.38%
University of Michigan17.94%34.50%
University of VirginiaIn-State: 26.86%
Out-Of-State: 12.35%
In-State: 45.00%
Out-of-State: 19.00%
Virginia Community College System (including Guaranteed Admission Applications): 58.50%
Vanderbilt University6.28%18.86%
Washington & Lee University17.36%4.71%
Wellesley College13.91%14.55%
Wesleyan University17.10%25.85%


What to Know as a Transfer Applicant

As a transfer student it’s important to know how your application will be evaluated in the admissions process. According to NACAC, GPA and grades at students’ current college or university are most important to schools when evaluating transfer applications. Students need to be doing well in their current courses in order to have the best chance of admission at their top-choice transfer schools.

The transfer application will also be a lot different than the applications you may be familiar with from the undergraduate admissions process. Instead of providing information on your high school courses and activities, you will provide information on your courses at your current school and recommendations from current professors. While transfer application essays vary from school to school, overall, they tend to ask questions about why you are transferring and your intended field of study — rather than the usual personal statements and quirky prompts.

Resources for Transfer Students

There are a number of resources to help guide you through the transfer admissions process. Here are a few below:


At IvyWise, we work with students in any part of the college admissions process, including those who are navigating the transfer admissions process. For more information on our college counseling services for transfer studentscontact us today.


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