Transferring colleges is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Whether you’re enrolled at a local community college, not quite happy with your current school, or looking to get back on track after sitting on the sidelines for a few years, there are plenty of reasons why transferring to another college may be the right call for your educational needs.
The big key here is that everyone’s path to walking across the stage on graduation day is a little different – and that’s okay. However, making this choice can be an unnecessarily nerve-racking affair if you’re not familiar with all of the little details that go into this process.
To ensure that you have everything in order before you come to a decision – and increase the odds of completing your program of study – let’s take some time to cover some of the most important things you need to know about transferring colleges.
Naturally, there’s no better place to start than by answering the burning question at hand: Why transfer in the first place?
As the team of experts from the Princeton Review explain, there are plenty of reasons to make a change. The most popular considerations for transferring include:
- Being unhappy with the culture or environment of your current institution
- Lack of a strong program of study within your desired major
- Experiencing a shift in your career outlook (wanting a four year degree instead of a two year degree, etc.)
However, if you’re simply chasing the allure of a “big name” school or some other superficial concern, chances are that making this kind of move may not be in your best interests. Regardless of your motivations, take the time to schedule an appointment with an academic advisor to ensure that your expectations for this new institution actually line up with the reality of the situation.
Will My College Credits Transfer?
As far as transferring credits between colleges go, there’s unfortunately no set guideline to which all universities adhere. In fact, a healthy dose of pre-enrollment planning is the only way to guarantee a smooth transfer between schools.
To start, look into the accreditation policy of your target institution. Accredited schools generally only accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Additionally, your GPA, credit transfer caps, differences between degree plans and coursework requirements, and even how many “major” classes juniors and seniors have completed can also affect this process.
If you’re also considering changing your major, then you’ll be happy to know that plenty of students also make this choice when switching universities. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a host of considerations to take into account when making this kind of decision.
Specifically, it’s a good idea to answer the following questions before committing to a new major:
- How many credit have you already completed for your current program of study?
- Will you lose a substantial amount of credits based on a major switch? (e.g. changing from biology to finance)
- Is this change worth the financial burden and increased time spent in school?
As you weigh the pros and cons of this decision, don’t be afraid to connect with a counselor at your new school. This professional can help you figure out the right choice for your academic future, as well as guide your through the transfer application process and maximize the amount of credits you bring with you.
Can You Transfer to Another College After One Semester?
Students can definitely transfer from one college to another after their first semester on campus. If you’re currently considering this option, just know that your target school will most likely place a significant emphasis on your SAT scores and high school GPA. Of course, the inverse also holds true; the longer the gap between your time in high school and the date of the transfer application, the less reliant colleges will be on these metrics.
How to Transfer Colleges
So, now that you’re up to speed with the concerns, considerations, and other particulars that go into a transfer, it’s time to discuss exactly how to move between colleges. The best way to dive into this conversation is by breaking down the process based on your current year in college.
Transferring Colleges Freshman Year
As you saw earlier, being in your first year of college and initiating a transfer often comes with the receiving institution placing a strong priority on your high school GPA and SAT scores. For four year universities, having to meet the admission requirements of an incoming freshman if you’ve completed under 29 college credits isn’t all that uncommon.
In some cases, the university in question will also place stipulations on students who decide to transfer this early in their academic career. Being able to return to your most recent university and maintaining a clean record (no disciplinary actions or academic suspensions) are the two most common examples of this portion of the transfer process.
Transferring Colleges Sophomore Year
High school GPA and SAT scores are still important in your sophomore year, but the relevance of these metrics begins to fade with each credit hour completed. In an article for USA Today’s Voices from Campus column, Jeremy Azurin points out that some colleges have a “30 credit” policy that erases the need for your high school history entirely.
Should your target institution use this benchmark to focus instead on your undergraduate accomplishments, then this can be a boon to your transfer prospects if you weren’t the best student during your years in high school. Of course, this sword can cut both ways for those students whose initial time on campus hasn’t gone so well.
Transferring Colleges Junior Year
Once you hit your junior year, it’s time to start thinking about articulation agreements and credit transfer policies. Articulation agreements can help standardize the application of credits to programs of study between universities, but it’s still important to connect with a counselor and confirm the coverage provided by this document.
If no articulation agreement is in place, or the agreement doesn’t provide complete coverage for your program of study, then the credit transfer policy of the college takes center stage. Depending on your chosen school, the amount of credits accepted – usually in the 60 to 66 range – can vary. This can lead to “lost” credits (credits that flow over the limit) and the need to complete a new set of prerequisites as you continue with upper level courses.
Transferring Colleges Senior Year
Deciding to transfer in your senior isn’t something to be taken lightly, as this move can set you back drastically in terms of your graduation timeline thanks to transfer credit policies that often cap at around the 60 hour mark. If you’re willing to go the online study route though, you’ll be happy to know that some accredited universities offering online programs accept up to 90 credit hours from transfer students.
Of course, facing the possibility of lost credits really doesn’t matter all that much if you don’t have a choice in the matter. Relocating, dealing with personal or professional issues, and other major life considerations are all prime examples of extenuating circumstances that can force a transfer at this point in time.
Fortunately, even with this potential setback facing you down in your senior year, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. With everything you’ve learned here leading the way, there’s nothing that can stop you from making the most out of this opportunity and ensuring that the process goes smoothly as you transition to your new academic home.
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to transfer to a university after I complete two years of general education at a junior college. I want to know if I need my SAT scores in addition to the credits that I will be transferring to the university?
You’ll have to check each university to which you want to transfer. Many will not require SAT scores or your high school academic record if you have achieved at least 30 hours or so (1 year) of credits in the college.
I took a semester off from college about six months ago. I have been working, and I want to return to college but with a totally different major: pre-law to physical therapy. Will this affect my chances of getting in to a good college? Also, do I have to include recommendation letters? I don’t know any professors or high school teachers that would give me recommendations.
It sounds like you not only took a semester off, but you are also changing colleges. The process you’ll go through is simply to apply. You’ll need your transcript from your previous school, and those courses which apply to your new major will get transferred. As for recommendations, they may be required, and if so, you’ll have to deal with that. Good luck.
I am an international student. What is the difference in applying to an American college as a freshman or as a transfer student? Which is better? How do I get financial aid?
Some colleges accept transfer students and some don’t. Usually, a student goes to a community college with the idea that he or she is going to end up at some bigger named college or university as a transfer. The reason you should understand your goal is because you want to be taking courses that will actually transfer as college credit to the particular school you ultimately plan to graduate from. Students approach college as a transfer for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t have the money for the bigger school but want to begin racking up college credit. Maybe they don’t have the grades for the bigger school and want to show they can do college level work. Maybe they aren’t ready for a big school atmosphere or to be far from home. However, when you enter a community college with the idea of transferring, keep your eye on your ultimate goal and make sure the effort you make will be worth it. As for financial aid, see some of the questions below, but keep in mind that some American programs may not be available to international students. The financial aid office of the colleges in which you are interested can advise you.
I am a freshman at the University at Albany. I am very interested in transferring to Cornell University for the fall 1996 semester. What do you think I need to have (academically) to make this dream possible?
OK, first, let me say that I am not an expert on Cornell’s admissions criteria. Second, I’m going to assume that you applied to Cornell out of high school and for whatever reason, didn’t get in. Every university has a unique transfer policy, many schools welcome transfer students with open arms and go out of their way to make it easy for them to do so. Your first step in making your dream come true is to find out what Cornell’s policy is. Call the school’s undergraduate admissions office, tell them you’re interested in transferring, and ask for all the appropriate information. As a prospective transfer student, you will need to structure your current academic work so that it will transfer as credit for graduation to Cornell. This means you need to review Cornell’s requirements for graduation and begin to work toward that goal even though you are not a student there. This will likely require some contact with Cornell to ensure that the courses you are taking in Albany do transfer in the way you expect. Keep in mind, though, that you may eventually want or need to finish at Albany so it is best to try and take courses that “work” at both schools. The Back Door. This does not work at every school and has an element of risk, but I’m going to lay this out for you as truly an alternative for dreamers. Many universities have an evening college or continuing education school where you can take courses offered by the regular university, often at the same time of day. The difference is that 1) you are not a degree candidate, and 2) you aren’t going to get certain benefits of other students (like the option of living on campus which, for freshmen, lessens the college experience). The strategy here is to rack up a number of hours (maybe 30-50) toward your intended major, then apply to the school for admissions as a degree candidate. If you’ve done well in these prior courses, the school typically admits you as a degree candidate. Again, there is always the possibility that you won’t get in, but if you discuss this possibility with Cornell openly, you may feel good enough about your chances to give it a try. I know a number of students who have gained admissions to colleges and earned degrees by this back door admissions approach. But by all means, apply to the school first as a transfer student. Good luck with your dream.
I would like to transfer to a college in California, but I really don’t know how to go about getting scholarships. What should I do?
Your best bet is to contact the financial aid office of the school to which you’d like to transfer and ask for information on scholarships. Also, check through the questions below, many address financial aid concerns.
When transferring from one college to another in your freshman or sophomore year, are your SAT scores regarded? Also, how much would my minority status help, if at all, in the admissions process?
Of course, depending on the school, SAT scores for students who are transferring are weighted from a little to a lot. If your scores are high, no sweat. If they are low, I believe your transcript, assuming it is good, affords you the opportunity to say, “See, I can do college level work.” As for your minority status, schools do admit without regard to such factors. Still, behind the scenes, they are looking for diversity among the student body and seek balance. If your minority status helps achieve that, so much the better for you.
My son is currently a college sophomore with a paltry 2.303 cumulative GPA. He sent in an application for transfer to another school and was rejected. After inquiring about the possibility of appealing the school’s decision on his admission, they responded by saying it was possible, in lieu of “new academic information” which hadn’t been previously brought to their attention. My question is: does this “new information” they refer to mean his current semester’s final grades, or could it include high school grades, SATs, ACT, and AP Exams (none of which were given to them, as they said it wasn’t necessary). At any rate, what do you suggest he do?
I think anything that enhances his academic standing would be of benefit. If his current grades are significantly different, not only would it enhance his overall GPA, but would demonstrate that he is capable of more. Once a student has college experience, however, test scores like the SAT and ACT play less of a role (often no role) in the decision process. My first step would be to encourage my son to have a face-to-face meeting with the admissions office at the new school.
I am a second semester freshman at a well known liberal arts college in New England. I was terrified my senior year of high school about not getting accepted at any of my “top choice” colleges and, in a panic, applied early decision here. And now I’m miserable. I wish I’d applied elsewhere, and would like to transfer. The problem is, I want to transfer to one of those top choice schools. My GPA is barely a 3.0 here, and my state of mind has a lot to do with that. I did very well in high school (took 5 APs, and scored all 4s and 5s), but am afraid that my college record does not reflect my academic ability. Is there any way to explain this to an admissions office? Or am I just making excuses?
Tough situation. Without knowing your college preferences, it’s hard to say how to approach the situation. Transferring to a selective college with a 3.0 GPA is most likely possible, and I would check it out. But check it out by meeting with the admissions office of your intended college, not through applying. You might also be able to identify another college, particularly a state school, where you would be happier and where transferring is more likely. It is very difficult to erase a year’s worth of college in the application process. And, of course, getting in anywhere for the Fall ’96 is going to be next to impossible at this stage of the game. The other problem with transferring is that you often can’t secure living space on campus, and so you miss some of the “college experience.” But there is no way I’d spend three more years in hell. Find a college that you’ll enjoy and do whatever it takes to get in.
I have transferred to three colleges already. The first one was an art school, then I went back to community college, then I transferred to a 4-year university. Do you think it’s a good idea that I want to transfer again? Times are hard for me and I’m not really happy here.
I suggest you look for a pattern in your eventual decision to transfer with each of these schools. Are there real external negative things happening at the school, or are you just finding it difficult to make the effort to adjust to each new situation? One possibility is that you might have unrealistic expectations for your college education (that is, your college will fulfill you and make you happy). Or, are there real, legitimate factors (too expensive, no support from professors, etc.) that are guiding each of your decisions to transfer? If it’s the former, I suggest you try to stick it out for at least a year in the place you’re at now and see if it starts to turn around for you. I had a difficult first year of college myself, but I decided to just stay and see what happened, and by the time I was a senior I was so sad to graduate…I loved the school and my professors and community there by the end of my four years. Sometimes it just depends on the amount of effort you’re willing to put in to connecting and making a place your own. Do you think you’ve really put in an honest effort? If there are circumstances going on in your life that are beyond the scope of this question, then that’s something different from whether you just don’t feel “completely happy.” Does that make sense? You know better than me your specific situation. I am sorry that times are hard for you. Whatever you decide, I do thank you for seeking out advice from me…and hopefully you are seeking advice from other trusted people too. Take care.
Can I transfer colleges after the first semester?
There’s nothing that says you can’t, but I’d encourage you to consider all the pros and cons of doing so. Probably not all of your credits will transfer, so just keep that in mind. Also, if you are receiving financial aid from the current school, that probably will not transfer unless a) it’s a federal grant or loan, or b) you can earn new financial aid through the new school. I’d say, sit with yourself for a while and take time to reflect on what would be the advantages and disadvantages of transferring (consider the impact your decision could perhaps have on your emotions, academics, and relationships). Sometimes it takes more than a semester to really adjust or settle into any sort of comfort at college, so keep that in mind as well. Good luck in your decisions.
I am at a community college with a 2.0 GPA. I recently applied to a university, and the only thing missing is my transcript. Which are they asking for unofficial or official transcript? How does the transferring to another school with an Associate of Arts degree work?
Always assume that a university is asking for official transcripts, unless they indicate otherwise. Typically you will have to request transcripts by phone, mail, or online form, and you will likely have to pay a small fee. When you transfer with an associate’s degree, each school treats your transfer differently depending on their terms. Some schools have “2-2” programs, where you can enter a four-year degree program directly from your associates, completing the last two years of credits at the university. Others will take a look at your transcripts to determine which credits you can apply toward your bachelor’s degree, and not all credits may apply. Because each school is different, this question should be directly aimed at the university to which you’ve applied. Good luck!
If I change my major when I transfer, will I be considered a freshman?
Not necessarily, but it all depends on the school you transfer to and the credits you’ve earned so far. Each school has different policies for transfer students, so the best way to find out is to contact the admissions office directly. If you’ve taken core freshman classes required for any major, it is likely that you’ll be able to carry those credits with you to the transfer school. Good luck!
So I am transferring from the University of Vermont and I have a GPA of a 2.53 for my first semester. My second semester is looking alot better but I am only able to show those grades through a midterm report form. I got mono my first semester and I think that it had an effect on my grades. Should I apologize for my low GPA in my transfer application and tell the school that I had mono my first semester or does that sound like i am making an immature excuse?
I’m sorry to hear about your experience with mono. I think this is a great question. You don’t necessarily need to apologize for your drop in grades, but you can explain what happened without making it an excuse. For example, you might discuss falling behind in your coursework because of the illness, but also discuss how much your grades have improved this semester even though you don’t have them on your transcript yet. The more you focus on the positive, the more you sound like a serious student with sound and positive reasons to transfer. If you focus on future goals and highlight your capabilities and accomplishments, then including the information about your first semester won’t sound like an excuse. Good luck with your application!
I have been accepted to CSUS as a transfer student for the Fall of 2013. I ended up failing an earth science lab class at the end of my last semester at my community college. I still have a 3.0 GPA. Will my transfer admission by revoked?
That’s a question you’ll want to take directly to the university to which you’re transferring. Speak with an admissions representative and determine whether you’ll need to retake the lab over the summer or whether you can retake the credit after transferring. These issues vary school to school, and sometimes the decisions are made case by case. I would suggest that you get in touch with an admissions representative sooner, rather than later, so that you have plenty of time to take care of the problem. Good luck!
I was in my second year at Clemson University and withdrew from the university. I only have 25 college credits and, I think, a GPA of 2.52. I am taking a break from school at the moment, but I was considering applying for nursing school at USC or Midlands Tech in South Carolina. I’m assuming I would still be a transfer student, but USC requires a 3.0 GPA to apply for the Nursing School. How do I improve my GPA from Clemson? Would going to a technical school for a semester or two help raise my GPA if I do well in my classes?
Congratulations on your goal! Many students find themselves in this situation, and you can definitely take strides to raise your GPA for admission to the nursing program you choose. Heading to a technical school or community college is a great way to strengthen your academic record. Just makes sure that you take courses that fulfill requirements and necessary subjects toward your major and career path rather than “easy A” classes that will boost your GPA. A school is more likely to note genuine progress and improvement if you show a commitment to your field of study and continue taking classes that support your goals. You have the right idea, and kudos to you for sticking with your dream and seeking out ways to reach it. Good luck!
I spent one semester at a four year college, but I transferred to a different four year college in the spring hoping I would like it better. Now, being at this other university makes me regret my decision. Is it possible to transfer back in the fall?
It is likely possible, but you’ll probably have to apply again as a transfer student. In other words, attending for your first semester won’t allow you to simply switch back, since each academic term has a new pool of applicants and spots to be offered. Check with the university about the process for transfer applications. Also, try to isolate the reasons for your unhappiness before you make a big decision like transferring. Perhaps there is a counselor or adviser on campus you can speak with about the troubles you’re having. Good luck to you!
I recently moved to a different state and have only been here for a few months. I’m trying to go back to school but to qualify as a resident here I have to have been here six months prior to enrollment. Is there any way that I can get in-state tuition early?
Unfortunately, there is usually no way around out-of-state tuition if you’re a non-resident. However, some schools will offer in-state tuition as a form of scholarship. Inquire in the financial aid department to see if any opportunities like that exist. Your other option would be to wait a few months and enroll in the next semester. Whatever you do, though, avoid anything dishonest. Most schools have experienced students who attempt to represent themselves as residents in order to gain in-state tuition. Doing so could cost you an acceptance, and could be damaging to your integrity. Good luck with your new state and your new school!
I started college in spring 2011 but stopped going to classes half way through the semester. I want to start back at a different college for Spring 2014. I submitted that I was a freshman. Is that correct?
This question would be best answered by admissions representatives at your desired school. If you withdrew from your classes before any grades were placed on your permanent transcript, you may be able to apply as a freshman. However, if you dropped out without formally withdrawing, then you do have official transcripts with grades and are therefore required to submit them when you apply to a new school. Find out the specifics from the admissions office and remain completely candid about your academic past to ensure that no roadblocks of academic dishonesty stop you from achieving your goals. Good luck!
My daughter started his semester at a community college in Connecticut. I’m going to transfer locations due to my job soon. Will it be difficult for her to transfer to a four-year university when we move?
This all depends on many factors such as her grades, her academic record, and the school to which she applies. My best advice for your daughter is to research the universities in the area thoroughly and determine whether she is a strong candidate. Most schools post their minimum GPA requirements for transfer students and incoming freshmen on their websites. It also won’t hurt for her to call the admissions offices of the schools she wants to attend and speak directly to a counselor about her goals in transferring. Some schools students to transfer in the spring semester, while others only allow fall transfer admissions. Guide your daughter to research these details! The more preparation and research that goes into the admission process, the easier the process becomes. Good luck!
I am currently a freshman at a university and am feeling quite homesick. If I am still feeling this way later in the semester, I want to consider the option of a transfer to a community college back home. I was just wondering if it is possible to do this? How should I approach the decision?
I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling homesick. It’s not uncommon for freshmen to feel uncomfortable during the first few months of the fall semester. You are in a new setting with a whole new schedule, and sometimes the challenges of adjustment cause freshman to really miss the comfort zone of home. Trust that this is probably a temporary feeling, and that you will soon begin to sink into the community at your college and feel just as “at home” there. If that doesn’t happen for you, and you truly decide you want to transfer, you can certainly do so. Make sure you visit your current adviser and discuss options. Your adviser may be able to point you toward some organizations, clubs, or events to help you meet people and build a sense of community with your peers. He or she can also talk to you about proper steps to transfer if you decide to do so. Make sure to also research the community college or school near your home that you want to attend if you decide to go back. They will have deadlines and applications specifically for transfer students, and you can find that information on the school’s website. Before you take a step in that direction, though, see if you can create comfort zones at your new school by meeting with clubs, joining a study group, or talking to your professors and advisers. It’s likely that other students around you feel slightly homesick, too, and you may find that you can build friendships by supporting one another. Good luck, and
I’m trying to transfer to a school, but I have accumulated five withdrawals on my transcript. Do you know if that will affect my chances of getting accepted? Thanks for the help.
I can’t say for sure how the withdrawals will affect your chances of admission, but I do know that the school will consider your reasons for withdrawal and you should certainly outline those in your admissions essay. Withdrawals certainly won’t take you out of the running, but you will need to explain what happened to keep you from finishing your former studies. If you’ve got valid reasons for those withdrawals, don’t let them stand in the way of your current goals. Good luck!
I am transferring from a community college to university. However, I am thinking of changing from a psychology major to a business major. Would this affect my transfer progress?
It really depends on the school to which you’re transferring, as each school has different policies regarding transfer admissions. You should go directly to the admissions office with that question. Some schools require you to apply for a particular major, while others simply require a document stating your intentions to change. But only the admissions office can tell you exactly what to do if you want to change to business. It’s always a good idea to get friendly with an admissions counselor and call or email whenever you have important questions like these. Good luck!
I read the requirements for a transfer student already at one school, but I am wondering if the they are any different for school like Yale or Harvard. Will their transfer requirements be the same?
Yes, it’s important to understand that the transfer requirements will be different for every school. No college is bound to another college’s transfer policies or requirements, so you must research each school’s rules in order to apply for transfer status. Never assume that because one school accepts certain credits, another school will do the same. Every institution is different. If you want to transfer, prepare to do research, decide on a school, and follow the procedures for a transfer application to that school. Good luck!
I want to switch to a different community college. I had a rough start at my current college. I want to know if I have to send in my transcripts even if I don’t want the credit for any courses I took. Also, do I need to list this school when I fill out the FAFSA?
Yes, make sure you submit transcripts for any undergraduate coursework you’ve completed. Omitting transcripts can cost you an acceptance and can be interpreted as academic dishonesty. When you fill out the FAFSA form, the same thing applies: list all of the required information, and be candid about any outstanding debts to your current school. Falsifying these documents is always more detrimental, in the long run, than supplying the information. Good luck with your transfer!
I was recently conditionally accepted to a Cal State University as a transfer student. I sent them my transcripts from the previous Cal State University I attended. I also attended an intersession at The Art Institute that I thought was regionally accredited, but it wasn’t. I dropped out before finishing. Do I have to send Cal State the transcripts from this school since they aren’t accredited? If I don’t, will they find out?
Congratulations on your conditional acceptance to Cal State. As a general rule, if a university asks for all former transcripts, omitting any transcripts is a bad decision. If you explain your decisions, the transcript you mentioned won’t likely hurt your admission. However, hiding a transcript could. My best advice is to call the admissions office, explain the nature of this transcript, and ask if it should be included. If you are unable to find an answer this way, include all former transcripts and air on the side of safety. If ever in doubt about whether a university will “find out,” always assume they will. Dishonesty of any sort can come back to haunt you and your academic record.
I am interested in transferring to a university after a year of community college. I did poorly in high school, and I have heard that if you plan to transfer within the first year of community college, universities tend to look back at your high school transcripts. I want to avoid that as much as possible by maintaining a 4.0 my first year and by joining as many clubs possible. Any other suggestions?
It’s great that you’re already planning to turn things around and succeed during your first year. Likely, if your transcripts from community college demonstrate improvement, high grades, and extra curricular activities, these strong points will mean much more to an admissions committee than your older high school transcripts. While a university will certainly pay attention to your past transcripts, I wouldn’t let that get in the way of your new commitment to improve. My best advice is to focus hard during your first year of community college and make sure your transcript reflects a commitment to your education. Joining several clubs is a great idea, but make sure you join clubs that you have an active interest in pursuing. Freshman year requires strategies to balance academics with other things like clubs, healthy living, networking, and getting to know your professors. Finally, there are some good universities that are considered “non-competitive,” that don’t put as much emphasis on past grades in their admissions decisions. You can get a copy of Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges to find out which schools are more forgiving of past performance. Congratulations on making a plan and moving forward with your education, and good luck!
I’m currently a freshman at Fordham University. I hope to transfer to a different college for next year. For my first semester, I earned four B’s and one D. Although it’s only one D, it ruins my entire GPA. (It was in a required class that has always been a subject of weakness for me.) Do I still have a chance of getting into schools that expect at least a B average (for example, UD and UMD), or should I not even try? Is there anything I can do to help my chances?
The best thing you can do is strengthen your GPA as well as your performance in the weak subject area. You certainly still have a chance of getting into a university, but you will likely need to raise your GPA to the minimum requirement before you apply. Try on-campus tutoring, and check with your adviser to see if it is possible to retake the course to improve the grade. While it’s true that you won’t have great chances of acceptance if your GPA does not meet the minimum, it is possible to raise your GPA. Meet with your adviser as soon as you can to discuss your plans and strategies to improve the transcript. Moreover, don’t forget that grades are only part of what admission committees look at. Your test scores, extracurricular and community activities, recommendations and essays can often tip the balance in your favor. I encourage you to get involved in a few activities and devote some meaningful time to them. Don’t give up hope — it is certainly not impossible to transfer. You’ll just have to work for it!
I’ve spent the past three years at one university pursuing a degree in architecture. I interned with a lighting company over the summer and fell in love with it. I still had three years left at school so I transferred closer to home and changed my major in hopes of getting out earlier. Now, I hate living at home and it will still take me two years to complete college. I recently got a job with the lighting company. If I withdraw from my five classes this semester to move and work, will I be accepted by another school next semester? I’ve been thinking about going to school online as it would be more affordable. It would also mean changing my major again, so the classes I’m currently enrolled in would not count for anything. What should I do?
It’s wonderful that you’ve found an opportunity to begin your career while still in school. This is a big decision, and there is never a guarantee of acceptance. You should know going into the process that you can never be 100% certain that a school will accept you, and that means it’s wise to apply to multiple places and leave yourself options. If you think online courses would be a better match for you, research which schools offer the programs you want to pursue, and talk to your new employer about the possibility of balancing work with classes. It’s always a good idea to inform your employer that you are pursuing your education while working in case there are schedule conflicts. Before you withdraw and move, consider what you might be giving up. If you can better your situation and finish the coursework before moving, you may realize that two years is not a long time in the greater scheme of life. Withdrawing from these classes will mean that you give up all the work you’ve put in thus far. Be sure that you need to quit and move, rather than make some adjustments in your living situation, before you make that final step. Finally, consider why you moved home in the first place. I’m sure it wasn’t because you’d rather lie at home, but because it was economically sound and a great chance to focus on school. Don’t forget that every choice will have drawbacks, but some are worth enduring for the larger goal. Good luck with your choices!
I am attending a University this fall as a freshman and I would like to transfer to another school for the spring semester. When do I apply, and do I apply as a freshman or a transfer? Will they consider my GPA from my first semester or high school?
You’ll want to look at the school’s website to find the specific deadlines for spring admissions. Then, you’ll want to find the page that discusses transfer applications. There, you should find all the necessary information about what to include and when to send your application. You will need to apply as a transfer student if you complete the fall semester at your current school. The school may request both your college and high school transcripts, but each school is different so make sure to access the school’s website for specific information about what they require. Good luck!
I am currently a freshman attending a four year university. But, for complicated reasons, I’m going to want to transfer to a different four year university after my third year. Is that possible?
It may be, but transfer admissions policies vary from school to school, and each school has their own ability to make decisions about which credits transfer. So, if you already know your plan, do the research well in advance and get in touch with an admissions adviser who can tell you what courses will transfer and which will not. Also, note that some schools won’t allow you to transfer major-specific course credits so late in your college career. The only way to find out if your plan is feasible is to get on the phone and set up a meeting with an admissions adviser. Take your transcript and a copy of your projected course schedule with you. You might want to find out if transferring earlier will save you money on credits that you’ll have to retake. It’s a possibility. Good luck!
I have a GPA of 2.2 and I am currently going to a different college to get my respiratory degree. I took a lot of unnecessary classes that are not needed for my new major and received lower grades in several of them. Will they transfer with me when I’m applying for my degree? What should I do?
It depends on the school to which you’re transferring and their rules about carrying over your GPA. Every school handles transfer credits differently, so the best way to find out is to inquire directly at the school’s admissions office! You can likely find contact numbers on the school’s website. Try speaking with an admissions counselor directly. Good luck!
I go to the University of Washington Bothell campus, but I want to transfer to the main campus in Seattle. I’ve been looking at the Civil Engineering department (UWB doesn’t offer that major), and I was wondering if I had to transfer to the main campus first, then apply to the major. Or is it possible that I can just transfer into the major?
A question like this one is best aimed at the particular school. If you’re ever wondering about a policy or procedure relating to a particular school, you should reach out to the admissions or registrar’s office at that school and find a specific answer. Every school has different policies and procedures for transfers, withdrawals, and credits. Your best move is to talk to your current adviser who can point you in the right direction toward that program. Good luck!
If I had a low GPA in high school, but I get a good one in a community college can I transfer to a university?
Absolutely! Universities appreciate that some students need time at a community college to either get their grades up, as in your case, or to take some general ed requirements that are more affordable than at a four-year school. Applying to a university with some good community college credits under your belt will definitely improve your candidacy.
I attended a four year university but withdrew. I am now at a community college. Will I be able to return to my previous school after I get finish my associate degree?
This is a great question that many college students ask. The answer is this: You must always reapply to be admitted to a university from which you withdrew. Therefore, once you finish your associate degree, you will need to reapply to the university you want to attend. The admissions committee with consider both your grades from community college as well as your former university grades, as all transcripts must be submitted with your application. All committees understand that sometimes students are not ready for university classes and need to begin at the community college level. Therefore, don’t be discouraged by your former grades. Instead, work toward your current degree, then apply again for admission. Good luck!
I’m graduating soon with my first associates degree. I want to change schools in the fall for a different degree. Should I apply as a new student or a transfer student?
You’ll want to apply as a transfer student if you switch schools before completing your degree. Firstly, many of the credits you’ve already earned can likely be applied toward a future degree. Secondly, anytime you apply you’ll be required to list all previous coursework and college attendance. You’ll be required to provide transcripts from any schools you previously attended regardless of whether you finish the degree or transfer before completing it. Check with the school’s website about admissions requirements for transfer students. Good luck!
I am currently in my first semester of college. I want to transfer for my second year next year. When is the best time to send in my applications to those colleges?
Each school will have its own deadline for transfer applications, and you can find that information by visiting your chosen school’s admissions website. Make sure to view those deadlines as hard deadlines. With tough competition for spaces, many schools don’t accept applications that come in late. Good luck!
If I attended a college, but I did a full withdrawal, do I have to put that college down on a college application when I transfer? I did not receive any credits from the first institution.
If you have a transcript, you’ll probably need to report it. However, if you withdrew from college before any credits were earned, you may not technically have a transcript for that school. Your best answer will come directly from the school you’re apply to, however. Start by contacting the admissions office and asking them specifically. You should find the most direct answer there, as each school is different! Good luck.
If I apply to transfer and am accepted, can I still decide to stay at my current school? I’m considering transferring right now, but I’m not sure I really want to leave my school because I like it here. I’ve already started the application process and just have a few more forms to submit.
Yes, you’ll still have the decision to stay or transfer. If you apply for a program and are accepted, you’ll need to formally accept the offer before the agreement is binding. So, an acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean that you “have” to transfer. It’s okay to still be on the fence about transferring and to apply anyway just to give yourself the option. If you do receive an acceptance, the college will give you a deadline to accept the offer and make a deposit. Best of luck to you!
I am going to a small private school in my home state for my freshman year. However, I would like to transfer after the first semester to a large out of state university. They show requirements for a transfer student after one year but not after one semester. Who should I talk to at the school to find out the answers I need? Also, if they require 24 semester hours, how can I find out if I have achieved that requirement? My schedule currently says I have 15 credit hours if this helps to find the answer.
You should contact the admissions office at the school of transfer, and speak with an admissions counselor. He or she will be able to look at your transcripts and assess whether or not your coursework meets the requirements. If the school requires a certain amount of credits to transfer, you may need to complete a full year before you move. However, only the admissions office at the specific university will know the answer, as each school is different. Good luck with your goal!
When I’m transferring to a new college, do I have to notify my past college? How do I do it?
Yes, once you’ve officially been accepted to another school, you must notify your current school about your transfer plans. Each school will have a different process, so it’s best to talk to your adviser or visit the registrar’s office to access the proper forms. Wait until you’ve successfully applied and been accepted, then go through your particular school’s proper channels. Good luck!
I received my Bachelor’s degree from one school. I went to a second school for a semester, but I don’t need any credits from this school. I am now trying to transfer to a third school, and this school only requires my bachelor’s degree. How will this third school know about my second school? Can I omit it from my application?
It’s great that you’re pursuing graduate studies. However, never omit any transcripts from the application. This can be interpreted as academic dishonesty if detected, and it can cost you your chance at admittance. If the school asks for all former transcripts, make sure you report everything. Best of luck!
I have withdrawn from my freshman year of college and my GPA is 0.00. I am trying to apply for another college, but I’m scared my previous college GPA will affect my acceptance. Should I apply as a transfer student or as a new freshman with no college history?
I’m sorry to hear about your freshman year. But, applying with no college history isn’t an option if the school requires you to report any prior transcripts. If you were able to withdraw by the school’s withdrawal date, then you shouldn’t have any grades showing on your transcript. However, if the new school asks for all prior transcripts, you must report them. You can always explain the circumstances of your withdrawal in your application essay, but make sure you consider how you phrase the reason. Instead of casting blame, try to think about how this choice best suited you. If you simply weren’t ready for college at that time, explain in the essay what has changed. Good luck to you!
My daughter just transferred from a community college to a university nine hours away. She is absolutely miserable. Her roommates are not sociable and she is not making friends. What advice can I give her?
I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s negative experience in college. Sometimes the first year is a difficult transition, as a university can be overwhelming. My advice would be to first go to her resources. There will be a counseling center on campus, and visiting a university counselor as soon as possible can help alleviate the situation. Counselors are equipped with knowledge about the university and experience that allows them to work with the student to find solutions to the problem. Perhaps your daughter can find some clubs or organizations to join that will help her build a community of friends. Sometimes getting involved in just one activity can help build the kind of social support one needs to deal with new challenges. Because your daughter has transferred so far away, I would suggest trying out these options before giving up on the school. She may find that after a little bit of adjustment, the university has a lot to offer her. Best of luck!
Can I change my major if I transfer to a different college?
Yes, you can likely change your major. However, this may affect your ability to transfer credits from one college or university to another. It may be easier to transfer very early in your college career, as core classes are more likely to transfer than specialized classes in a discipline. At some schools, you must have a minimum GPA to change your major after you have earned a certain amount of credits. Additionally, some schools have a competitive process for applying for specific majors. You should check specifically with the school to which you want to transfer and inquire about the process for switching majors. You can find out how many credits you have earned from you academic adviser at your current school.
I spent three semesters at a four year college and pretty much bombed all of it. I’ve since transferred to a community college. I’ve focused on establishing a hearty GPA during my time here. Basically, I’m looking forward to transferring to a four year college again, but I’m worried I won’t be accepted because of my VERY poor college transcript from my first college that I attended. Do you think any school will accept me with good high school grades, a good SAT score, horrible first college transcript, then a good community college transcript?
That all really depends on where you apply and the standards for transfer admission at that college. Go to the web and find the requirements for your particular school on its website. This will help you determine your chances. You might also consider a 2-2 program where you earn an associates degree at your community college and move into a bachelor’s degree once that’s finished. You’ll have to research to see if any such programs exist in your area universities. It will also be crucial to discuss your college experience in your application essay and provide solid reasons for your poor grades during college. Try to phrase these as lessons learned rather than blaming external circumstances. Many schools will still accept well-rounded students who faced a lapse in grades or a bad year. Good luck!
My daughter attends a private university and received about $35K in scholarships, grants (about $30K) and loans form this school. She now wants to transfer and I told her she may not get a package like that based on a few reasons. She did make the Dean’s list in her first and only semester to date. We don’t know what to expect as far as a package from the next school…what do you think?
There is truly no way to predict what kind of scholarship package she will receive from a new school. The best thing to do is research the school beforehand and talk to admissions counselors there. Every school has a different system of financial aid, and each college treats transfer students differently. The only way to know what to expect is to ask the school directly. I would suggest setting up a face-to-face meeting with an admissions counselor to discuss possible funding opportunities and transfer scholarships. Good luck!
I am currently at a four year university and I would like to transfer my second semester. I was really homesick and went home often. My GPA is very low. Would colleges look at my grades from my senior year or from my first semester of college?
I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, and I hope things get better soon! Colleges will likely look at the whole picture, since you’ve only completed one semester of college. However, your transcripts for freshman year will hold the most weight in the decision. In your application essay, explain what happened and, more importantly, how you plan to turn things around second semester. Also, keep in mind that it may be easier to transfer after completing one full year of coursework. If you can get things together this spring and make higher grades, perhaps you’ll be in a better position to transfer schools. Visit a counselor on campus to discuss strategies for better grades and a better experience. Good luck to you!
For some valid reasons, my son is miserable and is doing poorly during his 1st semester in an out of state school. He wants to come home to a local community college for a fresh start next semester. Can he just apply as a new student without submitting transcripts from his current college? He is not looking to transfer credits as they will be low grades.
I’m sorry to hear about your son’s experience. Unfortunately, though, he cannot withhold any transcripts when applying to the community college. If the application asks for all prior transcripts (which it usually does) he will need to report those credits and grades. Reporting transcripts doesn’t always mean that the GPA will transfer over. Each school operates differently. However, withholding them could cause a problem in the future, as discrepancies on the application can cause admission to be revoked. The best option is to report everything honestly and be upfront about the reason for the grades. Most admissions committees have seen this situation before, and your son’s chances at college are far from ruined. Also, check with the current school to see if there is still time to withdraw from courses. Some schools allow students to withdraw before a certain date to keep a failure from appearing on the transcript. Good luck!
My daughter has been accepted to several colleges. She is going to attend Georgia State University. I am worried about her safety. If she goes there and decides for herself she does not like it, can she transfer to another college that accepted her?
If your daughter accepts an offer from one school, she will have to decline other offers. If she does decide that Georgia State isn’t a good fit, she can apply as a transfer student to another university either in the spring semester or after she completes her freshman year. However, her original acceptances will no longer be valid and she will need to reapply. It’s understandable to worry about your daughter’s first semester at a school away from home, and I hope she finds that the campus is safe, comfortable, and enriching to her education. To ease your mind, you might contact the admissions office and ask to speak to a counselor or residential leader to discuss your concerns. You may be able to find out more about the school and its campus. Good luck to you and your daughter!
Can I complete my freshman year of college at a state university, and then transfer to a private school?
Yes, you can, but you’ll still have to apply as a transfer student and receive an acceptance from the private school. (It won’t be automatic, even if you were granted admission to the private school this past season.) My best advice is to talk to your advisor about your plans so that you can make sure you understand the process of transferring, meet deadlines, and ensure a smooth transition if you decide to transfer. Good luck!
Is there a possibility to go back to previous university after transferring to another university?
There is, yet you’d have to apply again as a transfer student. Each time you transfer, you must reapply for admission. Before you take any other steps, contact the admissions office at the school you’d like to attend and explain your situation. From there, you can learn the exact steps to take to transfer smoothly. It’s likely that you’re not the first student to transfer back from another school. Good luck!
Hi! I’m almost done with a AA at a community college. I’m going to be transferring to a four year very soon and want to know if the extracurriculars I did in high school will be considered. I went to two high schools and the universities I’m considering don’t require transcripts from either of them. Also how important are extracurriculars when transferring from a two year?
If you’re completing your AA, it is wise to use the extracurricular activities you completed while in college when you apply to the four-year school, unless there are extracurriculars that you continued into college. For example, if you played a sport in high school and then went on to play at a community college, you might highlight that. However, as a transfer student, you’ll want to highlight your accomplishments and achievement as a college student mostly on the application. Your essay is a great place to talk about obstacles, achievements, and things that define you, even if they occurred during high school years. Good luck!
I want to transfer universities entirely, but a requirement to transfer is a 3.0 GPA. Unfortunately, I no longer meet this, thanks to an awful freshman year. Can I just give up any credits I may have earned in order to essentially go back to my just-out-of-high-school GPA?
Unfortunately, you can’t erase your transcript or your GPA. Depending on the school and its policies, you may be able to enter as a freshman student rather than a transfer student, meaning that you would lose any credits already earned. Some schools, however, won’t allow you to enter without the required minimum grade point average. Check with the admissions office at the school you want to attend and inquire. In the meantime, make sure you assess why your grades suffered during the first year so that you can problem solve and turn those grades around. Good for you for wanting to go back and start over. You can do it if you put in the work and remember to prioritize your studies. Good luck!
If I am transferring schools, will my failed classes show up on my transcript?
Yes, the full extent of your transcripts will be available to the school you transfer to. If you have the opportunity to write an admission essay, you might use that space to discuss what you learned from failing classes and how your habits have changed in order to avoid these types of failures in the future. Schools will look at mitigating circumstances when it comes to low scores, failed classes, and changes in a student’s life. Always focus on what you have done and can do to improve, rather than blaming external circumstances, though. This shows the admissions committee, and shows you, that you’re a hard worker who takes responsibility for your life and education. Good luck!
I was attending a four year university and was doing well, but a few things came up and I had a couple bad semesters and ended up getting academic suspension. I didn’t want to stop taking classes, so I enrolled in a community college and took four classes. I got all A’s. One of the A’s was in a class I failed at my last university. I know I can apply for reinstatement at my first school and go back. Assuming I’m reinstated, how will these new grades affect my GPA at the first university?
Your GPA will continue to follow you when you enter new institutions or reenter old ones, so long as you apply those credits to the same bachelors degree. The new grades should positively affect your GPA from the old university. However, each school handles credits and GPA differently, though, so make sure that you sit down with an advisor to discuss your transcripts and your standing. The admissions office will be able to guide you in understanding whether you’re eligible for reinstatement based on your record. It isn’t uncommon for students to have life events that produce a decline in grades. However, your reaction and willingness to work hard to climb back up toward a successful student record is what’s important. Good luck!
I am currently doing one year of prerequisites at a community college in Illinois. Next fall, I may transfer to a Florida community college and complete the remainder of my prerequisites for nursing school there. Then I would like to enter a nursing program at a Florida university. Will I be given in-state tuition at the university because my credits will transfer from a Florida community college?
Many colleges require a full year of residency in the state before granted in-state tuition rates. Check with the university that you’re applying to before making any solid plans. You may need to pay the out-of-state rate for your first semester in the spring, and then you’ll qualify for in-state after a full year of residency. Congratulations on taking care of your prerequisites, and best of luck at pursuing your dreams of nursing school!
I went to Northern Michigan University for a bachelor’s in media production and new technology. I have an internship and an advanced production class in my major left and 5 classes for my minor. I went for 4 and a half years before I realized my financial aid ran out. I have 99 credits and was hoping I can turn the credits into an associates degree, but do not know how. Can you help? I don’t know what kind of associates degree would fall under my category.
Wow, you are so close! Have you talked to your counselor and your college’s financial aid office? Perhaps there’s a chance they can help you work something out, since you are so close. Alternately, if you are willing to take on a loan, perhaps they can help steer you to the most-reasonable choice possible. It would be a shame to let those credits essentially go to waste, because being “almost” a college graduate is not the same as *being* a college graduate and you have already put so much in!
However, if that is not an option, the best bet is to talk to your college counselor about their recommendation on how to parlay those credits into “something.” They can be a great resource, because they have seen so many situations over their years.
I hope it works out for you!
I am a year away from transferring out of community college, but I have reason to believe that by then, I will be touring full-time with a music project I am in. Since I want to pursue music very badly but I also do not want to drop out of school, I was wondering if it would be possible to finish up my 60 credits at community college and hold on to them, take a couple years off to pursue music full-time, and transfer couple of years later. In other words, I want to take a one or two year gap between my community college education and my transfer school education. Is that possible, or will transfer schools not accept my CC credits if they are a couple years old with no schooling in between?
Congratulations on your burgeoning music career. And you are wise to finish the year so you have the credits, rather than abandoning partway, which just means that you have wasted the investment of time and money with nothing to show for it.
I wanted to address this on the larger scale for others who may be looking at a gap in their education. It’s actually relatively common for people to have gaps because of financial, family or other issues, and should not be a problem for most schools, if you would be accepted anyway given your other credentials.
The best way to overcome any potential hesitance is to explain what you were doing in a way that helps them see you would be a great fit for the school to which you eventually apply. In your case, that might mean discussing business or life lessons you learned as you pursued your music career. Wishing you the best of luck!
While in high school, I did dual enrollment through a local college. Then I began at a private four-year university. Due to the excessive costs, I transferred to a public four-year university. Then, due to having a baby and recently moving farther away due to my husband’s job, I enrolled in an online university. For my newest university, do I need to submit my transcripts from all three schools or just the most recent one?
Make sure you access the school’s website or specific information about what they require. If the online university asked for all prior college transcripts in the application, then you must supply them. They will take a look at your transcripts to determine which credits earned at your previous schools transfer. If you omit transcripts, this can be interpreted as academic dishonesty and can cost you an acceptance.
Is there a reason you don’t want to submit your transcripts from your previous universities? If you struggled in the past, don’t worry too much about it. Colleges are pretty understanding when it comes to adults who are going back to school. If you are worried about your past grades hurting you, I would just explain your situation to the academic officers at the school. Don’t let transcripts hinder you from continuing your education.
Be confident, and apply with all of your transcripts. Good luck!
I graduated with an associate degree from a community college with a cumulative GPA of 3.041. I decided to further my education and transferred to an expensive private university. I thought I could handle going to school and working nightshift. However, now my GPA is terrible. It went down to 2.286. I was looking to transfer to an online university, but its minimum requirement is 2.5. I do not know what to do because all I did at that university was waste my money and kill my GPA. Is it wrong to just send my community college transcript and not my screwed up one? Do I have to go back to that expensive school to fix my GPA, then transfer? I am working full time, and that is why I wanted to do online credits. Please help me. I don’t want to give up on education just because I had a bad run.
Whenever a school asks for your transcripts, you must submit transcripts for any course work you’ve completed. If you only send in your community college transcript and the online university finds out you omitted another former transcript, that can be interpreted as academic honesty and cost you admittance. However, reporting transcripts doesn’t always mean the GPA will transfer over. Each school has different policies, so be sure to check with the admissions counselor at the online university. The best thing you can do is to be honest about your situation and the reason for your grades.
Have you considered returning to a community college to strengthen your academic record? Many community colleges work with adults who work full time to allow them to complete course work on their own schedule. If you do well in courses that fulfill requirements toward your major and career path — as opposed to easy-A courses — you will show improvement and your commitment to your field of study.
Your chances at an education are far from ruined. Bravo to you for sticking with your dream and seeking out ways to reach it. Good luck!
I’ve been pretty miserable at my school the whole time I’ve been here. I haven’t made many friends, and I don’t really do much outside of class. I’m in a few clubs, but I don’t feel like I fit into those environments well. I came here with the plan of joining a sorority, but I got my heart set on a specific one, and when I didn’t get a bid from them, I didn’t join the other sorority that offered me a bid. I wanted to transfer last semester, but my parents thought I was being too emotional and talked me out of it. I came back for my sophomore year, and although some things are better, I still don’t feel like this is a good fit. Internally, I’m 80, so all I really want to do on weekends is watch movies and go to Target, but I feel like everyone in college wants to party or go on adventures. I want to transfer to a university of equal quality 30 minutes away from my hometown and live at home. My parents hate this idea. They think I haven’t tried hard enough here and want to see me put in more effort to make this work. I’m concerned that they just hate having me home and don’t want me around. It would be financially better on their end if I transferred and commuted, so I don’t understand why they’re so opposed to what I want to do! Is there a way to get them on my side?
I’m sorry to hear that you’re not happy at school. The transition to college can be difficult for many people, especially if they expect that college will fulfill them and make them happy, and I’m sure it was disappointing to not receive a bid from the sorority of your choice. But try to really understand the reasons for your unhappiness before making a big decision such as transferring. Sometimes it can take more than a year to really settle into place at college. Have you spoken with your adviser or university counselor about organizations or events where you can connect with your peers and really make the place your own? Sometimes getting involved in one activity can help you build the community and support you need.
But you know your specific situation better than I do. If you really believe you made the wrong college choice, one of the first things I would suggest doing is schedule an appointment with an academic adviser at the university you’re considering transferring. That way you will be sure that your expectations for this new institution actually line up with the reality of the situation.
Then talk with your parents about what truly makes you happy so you can help them understand between real depression and situational challenges. Share with them your short- and long-term goals and how transferring might help you accomplish them. I doubt that your parents don’t want you around. Creating a new life away from home can be daunting, and they might just want you to stick it out. This could just be their form of a supportive reality check.
Transferring won’t be a cure-all, but if you really feel as if you’ve made a terrible mistake and there’s nothing you could do personally to improve your quality of life where you are, it might be worth the effort. Good luck with your decision.