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5 Things to Consider Before Applying As a Transfer Student

The transfer admission process is very different – and much more competitive – than the traditional undergraduate admissions process. Applying to college again may seem overwhelming, especially after just recently going through the journey, but it can be an extremely rewarding experience if done right.

For students considering a transfer, now is the time to get started on evaluating why you want to transfer, what you want in your new school, and how you will apply. Transfer application deadlines are March 1 or 15 at some schools, while other transfer application deadlines can stretch into April or May, so there’s only a few short months before applications will need to be submitted.

Transferring universities is not something to be taken lightly, so students should do a lot of soul-searching before deciding to transfer to another institution. However, it’s not enough to just decide that you want to transfer. There are other factors to consider in order to be prepared to gain admission to your top-choice transfer school.

Have You Done Your Research?
Students need to do thorough research on two things: the transfer admissions process and the schools to which they want to apply. We can’t stress enough the importance of research. Not only will it help you identify best-fit schools to add to your balanced college list, it will also help you know what to expect when applying as a transfer and how to best present yourself in your transfer applications. Research is also critical to help you decide whether or not transferring is the best option or you right now. Don’t just research new institutions – do fresh research on your current school. Are there opportunities you’ve missed? Classes you didn’t know were offered? Study abroad opportunities you haven’t explored? You need to be 100% sure you want to transfer before applying to new schools, so make sure you’ve explored every opportunity on your current campus before moving to a new one.

Are You Applying to “Good Fit” Institutions?
Fit is key when applying to college, either as a first-year or as a transfer student. Maybe you’re transferring because the institution you’re attending now is not a good fit. Evaluate what has changed about your interests, preferences, and goals since applying as a first-year student and apply your new set of criteria to a list of good-fit transfer schools. This is why research is so important! Don’t just apply to schools based on name brand. Take some time to identify what makes a certain school a good fit for you and learn everything you can about those institutions.

Are Your Grades Up to Par?
The most important thing that colleges will look at when evaluating transfer applications is the transcript. Colleges will carefully examine applicants’ course loads and grades for more insight into the applicant and whether he or she can seamlessly integrate into the campus community and school’s curriculum. When planning spring semester courses, check to see what courses first-year students take at the college you want to attend and choose classes with credits that can transfer over to the new school. It’s hard to gain admission and catch up with peers as a transfer student if you’re starting behind everyone else in that class, so try to stay on par with that university’s standards.

Will Your Application Clearly Articulate Why You Want to Transfer?
For the most part, transfer admissions committees are more interested in knowing why a student is deciding to transfer. If you are transferring from one four-year university to another, you should have a good reason for wanting to switch schools. Make sure that you’re prepared to explain this reason for transferring in an essay or maybe a short answer section within the transfer application to certain schools. Sometimes this can be framed in the context of a meaningful experience and used for the personal statement.

Are You Aware of All The Application Materials That Are Required?
Transfer applications require more documentation than most first-time, first year applications; the earlier you start, the better. Most admissions offices will ask for a registrar’s report, dean’s report, professor’s report, and midterm report, as well as documents from your high school. Be mindful that it takes time to for all of these offices to locate and send your credentials so that they arrive at their destinations before the deadline. Aim to request these materials well ahead of your application deadlines and be sure to follow up periodically to make sure everything will arrive on time. In addition to the materials provided by your current school, you’ll also need letters of recommendation from current professors. Make sure you identify and approach those professors for recommendations well ahead of your application deadlines, as it could take weeks for this person to draft something on your behalf.

Applying to college as a transfer student can be intimidating, especially when balancing your current college course load with a whole new round of applications, but it can be a successful process if you start early, create a plan, and do your research beforehand. At IvyWise we help students applying to a variety of institutions, including those applying as transfer students. For more information on our services for transfer students, contact us today.

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