Transfer Admissions 101

<p>Come here first for answers to your questions about transferring – how, when, whether.</p>

<p>The Graduate School Admissions Forum has a featured sticky thread designed to help everyone find the basics easily and quickly. We could really use that here, so I am going to start the process by posting items I have cut and pasted from the forum. </p>

<p>This is NOT complete yet by any means. Please feel free to post additional thoughts and information. Please feel free to point me (via PM or here) to posts which should be copied or merged into this thread. Many posters have contributed to the content here – I would like to thank each and every one, but fear forgetting key names. So I will leave that out. You know who you are ;), and I’m sure you will post here to add, comment, express varying opinions – and we appreciate that.</p>

<p>Moderator Note: *If, upon reading this thread, it brings to mind a specific question about an individual situation, please start a new thread with your question. It is best to leave this thread as General Information/General Reference.</p>

<p>As well, you are much less likely to have readers notice your question if it is buried in a reference thread. Thanks, Mod Andale.*</p>

You can transfer in as a sophomore or junior. Most commonly you transfer into the new school for fall term, but it is possible to transfer in for spring (or winter, if it’s a quarter system). It is also possible to transfer in the spring of Freshman year, but at many fewer schools. Most schools require you to be enrolled a minimum of two years and obtain a minimum number of credits at their school (eg, 60) to obtain their degree. Hence, transferring after junior year is not common.</p>

<p>Application deadlines for fall transfer can be rolling or have deadlines ranging from late November through the summer. Most common timetable is a March application deadline for fall transfer.</p>

Transfer applications include some or all of the following;
College GPA
College recommendations
High school record
Test scores (SAT/ACT)
ECs/outside work experience
Dean Statement of Good Standing (“Dean Rec”)
Mid-term grade report</p>

<p>What Matters Most?
No one can really say, but here is the common wisdom: College GPA and college recommendations matter most.</p>

<p>Your college GPA should be as high as you can get it. Equally important is the rigor of your course selection. Don't worry about needing a 4.0 (no matter how many times you read about kids here on cc obsessing about it . It's not necessary). 3.5+ is a "magic number" of sorts; kind of an informal cut-off for some schools; formal cut-off for others. BUT… if you search even here on cc…. you will see students with great transfer success to top schools who do not have a 4.0, or even the 3.5+.</p>

<p>Your high school rank/GPA/ECs will be looked at. But you can't do squat about them at this point. So focus on your strengths. If they are great, rejoice. If not, pay attention to what you can control – your current coursework, your essays, your recs, picking the right list of schools for transfer applications.</p>

<p>Test scores will matter more at some schools than others. Some schools will allow you to take SATs after you have matriculated at college. You have to check each school’s policy. </p>

<p>Scores and high school record will matter less and less the further along you have gotten in college (at the schools which consider them at all). And you can overcome them with an upward trend, great recs and showing that you are a different person academically than you might have been in high school.</p>

When applying, make your "Why transfer" essay very specific as to why this school is the one for you. Know more about the school than general man-on-the-street knowledge plus its ranking. Research in-depth about your major at the school, faculty research interests, special programs. Maybe do the same about ECs of interest for you. Show how the school fits your needs in ways that your current school doesn't. But do not diss your current school. Show what you will contribute to the school.</p>

Most applications want two college teacher recommendations (the “prof recs.”) High school recs are not good substitutes. Many students worry that they do not know profs well enough, especially if you have only been able to take large classes thus far, with TA’s. Transfer admissions officers understand that. TA’s can write recs, alone or in collaboration with the prof (see below).</p>

<p>Your list
As with Freshman admissions, you need to think about safe/match/reach schools. If your current school is a place which fits you okay, which you would be happy to stay at if your transfer plans don’t work out, then you don’t need a safety school, or maybe even a match school. Go for those dreamy reaches only. But IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO STAY AT YOUR CURRENT SCHOOL YOU NEED SAFETIES ON YOUR LIST. </p>

<p>The sticky thread by brand_182 with transfer acceptance rates is helpful in this regard. Also consider how your scores and high school record compared with the typical freshman profile and how your college record so far compares with whatever information you can find on transfer admissions. If you definitely want to transfer, make sure you come up with a <em>range</em> of schools of differing selectivity that you would like. Look at your reach schools and, if they very selective, then, even if you do well, you might not get in. So find others, which have the same elements that appeal to you, but that accept 30-50% of transfer applicants, where your chances will be even better. If you won't be happy to stay at your current school, add a school or two for a safety, that accept 2/3 or more of transfer applicants, ideally. For a truly safe school, you want a 40% acceptance rate AT LEAST.</p>

<p>Financial aid matters
Consider your financial needs carefully. Merit aid is far far scarcer for transfers than freshmen. If you qualify for need-based aid, you need to know whether schools you are considering tend to meet the same % of need for transfers as they do for freshmen. Check this out <em>before</em> you formulate your list of target schools.</p>

1 Like

Can you leave out a school that you went to for a short time and did badly? No. You need to list every school where you have ever been enrolled as a college student.</p>

<p>How will my credits transfer? After you have been accepted and enrolled at your new school, the Registrar’s office or Dean’s office for your program will “articulate” your transcript, matching up each course you have taken with the most similar course at the new campus and awarding you credits based on that. It is possible that some credits won’t transfer; losing a few is not that important, usually, if the transfer is the right thing for you in the big picture. If you have serious concerns about how many of your credits might transfer, consult the schools which interest you IN ADVANCE, before deciding to apply.</p>

<p>Will my GPA transfer? Usually not. Usually the credits will transfer but not the grades, so your old GPA won’t show on your new and final transcripts. If you had a great GPA at your old school and want to show that on job resumes later on, that is fine. You can certainly average your GPA’s and report the average. If you want to forget that GPA as you go along in life, that’s fine, too. Your transcript won’t show older GPAs.</p>

<p>For graduate school applications, they will likely want to see all of your transcripts and will have their own systems for how and whether they combine GPAs from old and new schools.</p>

<p>** Will being a transfer hurt my job prospects?** Most likely, not. If you are worried that having transferred will look wishy-washy and/or having 2 schools on your resume will be a negative... No, it won't. Your job apps will really focus on your ultimate school; your original school will likely not even be mentioned on your resume (unless you want it to). Some fields really hire on elite name recognition, so if you are headed for those fields, the school you go to could have an effect – but it will be the school where your degree is from that matters and not whether you went to another school earlier in your academic career.</p>

<p>I don't know my Dean at all. Will that hurt me? How can I get a rec from a Dean I've never even seen? The term "Dean Rec" is somewhat of a misnomer. The point of the typical Dean form is to provide the new school a written statement that you (1) are a student in good standing at your current school (2) would be welcome back to your current school should you choose to stay and (3) - to use the vernacular - are not on the list of regular troublemakers that the Dean of Students has to deal with on a routine basis. As such, not knowing your Dean? That's a good thing ;).</p>

<p>Should I apply as a freshman or transfer student?</p>

<p>Who is considered a transfer applicant varies with the school, it can range from taking 1 post-HS college course to less than a year of full time college, and anywhere in between. If you will have completed a full year or more of post-HS college coursework, then you will be considered a transfer applicant at any school.</p>

<p>You must consult the college Admissions website of each school to determine if you should apply as a fr or transfer applicant. </p>

<p>What if I already applied to a school for freshman admission and was denied? Will that help me? hurt me? Do I have to re-send my hs transcripts, my test scores, my recommendations?
No way of saying whether it will help you. It should not hurt you. There are ample cases of applicants being denied as a freshman but succeeding with a transfer app. There are also plenty who are denied again. </p>

<p>You really have to check with each school as to whether to resubmit portions of your application materials. Some schools have held on to your freshman app file/recs/test scores/transcripts. Some have not. Sometimes it's on their website or application instructions, sometimes you'll need to call. (Never hesitate to call the Admissions Office with a transfer qx, although best to wait until after the Freshman Admissions crush is over).</p>

<p>I would suggest a complete re-do of your essays. You should have gained experiences and perspectives, and you want to show that. And those essays didn't get you in last time, so why recycle them?</p>

<p>What is I applied as a freshman and was accepted!? Will they hold it against me that I didn't go to that school? Again, this is case by case. But I have definitely seen cases of students re-applying and being accepted yet again.</p>

<p>Below is the first of what I hope will be several copies of posts and links to threads which have been extremely helpful on this forum in the past. Please add or PM me to merge into this thread anything you think will add to the value of this budding transfer guide.</p>



<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Andale, this thread is certainly very informative and useful for all future transfers and extremely accurate. </p>

<p>I'll second all the information posted here.</p>

<p>Thanks, Andale! This is really helpful!</p>

<p>I'm enrolled in my CC and I keep telling myself it's gonna be fun. I've only had 2 days of classes, but recently visited my friends at their dorms (at a huge nearby university, currently famous for football at the moment) and a huge feeling of depression came over me. That could've been me! I could've been their neighbors living with a possible new friend. But no, I decided to go to CC and get into a school I really want to go to. So here I am. My first weekend of college, bored as hell, sulking about my life.</p>

<p>Originally, I was going to ride out CC for 2 years and transfer afterwards, but seeing my friends living it up at a university made me jealous and I'd like to transfer out ASAP.</p>

<p>Is it wise to transfer after only 1 year of CC? What are the pros and cons of transferring after 1 year and after 2?</p>

<p>Will I have enough college 'background' for them to judge me on after 1 year? Will they still look at my HS transcript closely? (which isn't bad, at all)
Are SATs going to be a big factor? Should I take them again? What about scholarship opportunities?</p>


<p>Should I just suck it up and do my 2 years of CC? I was told it would 'fly-by', but it seems like forever now. And if they do 'fly-by', so will my opportunities to go out and make friends.</p>

<p>I've only had 2 days of CC, but I can't see myself making lasting friendships! A lot of people already know each other (I don't know HOW... seriously) or a lot of people just leave to go home after class. </p>

<p>I'm just really concerned about the social aspects because my friends who went away are living it up, and I'm living it up in my parent's house.</p>


Is it wise to transfer after only 1 year of CC? What are the pros and cons of transferring after 1 year and after 2?


<p>You can transfer after only one year.</p>

<p>Pros: You can experience the "real" college experience sooner and more of it
You can get to know people for 3 years rather than 2</p>

<p>Cons: Your high school record will matter more (if it is a con for you).</p>

<p>The big pro of transferring after two years is that, let's say you were a decent student in your HS career (3.3-3.5) and you earn a steady 3.7+ in college with lots of credits and good classes, then well, you'll have a better shot at those colleges that may have been out of your reach. </p>

Will I have enough college 'background' for them to judge me on after 1 year? Will they still look at my HS transcript closely? (which isn't bad, at all)
Are SATs going to be a big factor? Should I take them again? What about scholarship opportunities?


<p>You should have enough college background for them to judge you after 1 semester. However to get a more complete picture, they will take a lot from HS. SATs/ACTs will play a factor, but not as much. I'd be willing to say they are important enough to possibly retake (assuming the school is willing to accept retakes). </p>

<p>Scholarship opportunities are roughly the same? I'm not sure because I didn't apply for too many. I do know that some schools give special scholarships for transfer students and transfers from community colleges.</p>

Should I just suck it up and do my 2 years of CC? I was told it would 'fly-by', but it seems like forever now. And if they do 'fly-by', so will my opportunities to go out and make friends.


<p>If you really don't like it that much, try for your 1 year. It's not gonna hurt, and even if you don't get in, you'll have that experience. When people say it's going to fly-by, it honestly will, even at a CC. If you challenge yourself enough, make sure all your classes are hard and keep you busy, you'll rarely have time to think too much about your social life. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>When you say 'rigor of your course selection,' does that assume that most colleges use the 100-400 system and determine rigor by that scale?</p>

When you say 'rigor of your course selection,' does that assume that most colleges use the 100-400 system and determine rigor by that scale?


<p>Yes and no. Just from the title, they should have an idea of how hard the class is compared to similar classes of their own school. The 100-400 system is a bit flawed in my opinion because I've had classes that are in the higher numbers, but some of my harder classes were weeders. </p>

<p>So, to answer your question, 100-400 system is probably used only as a general measurement for how hard a class is. It's nothing final and they probably have more information about that than we actually would know.</p>

<p>I think...</p>

<p>Re rigor of course selection: we are often dealing with only 1-3 semesters of college work when someone wants to transfer. So it is quite common to have only 100-level courses under your belt.</p>

<p>And that is FINE. Rigor of course selection, imo, reflects the nature of course content more than the numerical level of the course.</p>

<p>To use hypothetical examples: </p>

<p>3-credit and 4-credit courses in physics, chem, writing intensive English courses, math, macro and micro econ, art history, poli sci, social sciences, foreign language... or pretty much any substantive academic course could be seen as "rigorous.</p>

<p>1-credit or 2-credit courses in Study Skills, Math-to-ready-you-for-college-level-math, PE, movie appreciation.... not so rigorous.</p>

<p>For some fields, eg Engineering, there are very specific curricula usually prescribed for Freshmen and Sophomore. If you have not taken those courses (calc-based Physics, Chem, Calc I, II and/or III) along with some gen ed courses, you are at a serious disadvantage.</p>

<p>For other fields, the first year or two are more open and having a good start on your gen ed and a bit in your major is fine. </p>

<p>There are no hard and fast rules. You just don't want a schedule that looks like you sought out the easy A's and didn't challenge yourself.</p>

<p>I just wanted to add that the only schools that i know that offer merit aid for transfers are usc, the UCs, and lewis and clark.</p>

<p>but you practically need a 4.0, and even if u have a 4.0, dont count on it!</p>

<p>Well, there are others, mojo~. But I agree that they are few. I happen to know that St. Louis University does so, for example.</p>

<p>But I also know that students who were offered merit aid as freshman admits were NOT offered merit $ as transfer admits. It is definitely slim pickings for transfer merit aid.</p>

<p>when should we start filling out apps and grabbing letters of rec?</p>

<p>i second that question AdamM412. i was thinking about filling out apps over winter break and asking for recs before thanksgiving break.</p>

<p>Thanks to pcristiani for the suggestions for getting to know your profs. I do however have cautions on some of them. </p>

<p>First, I would try to stick to office hours rather than sending numerous emails or phone calls as these can disrupt the time that a professor spends on research or preparing for classes. I would also be very careful about disscussing things other than the course, be absolutely sure that the professor is really interested and not just being polilte, again, their time is valuable. I would recommend against giving a gift, particularly since you are going to ask for a recommendation. I think this is a conflict of interest at the least and could be perceived as brown nosing at the worse. Finally, only offer suggestions on how to improve the class if the professor asks you first. </p>


when should we start filling out apps and grabbing letters of rec?

Assuming you are on the most common schedule - ie, fall transfer with apps due in March: working on your apps over winter break should work fine. That would give you time to think about your essays, research more about each school so that your "why xxx school" essay is very specific.</p>

<p>Asking profs just before winter break can work fine. Which reminds me of another FAQ, which I'll post below.</p>

<p>How can I ask my prof to write so many recommendations if I am applying to several schools? Isn't that a burden? What should I provide to profs when asking for recommendations?
Typically, faculty will write one recommendation for you (in a Word file or similar) and print it out for however many applications you plan to submit. So it is no trouble, as a rule, for them to provide you recs for several schools. </p>

<p>To facilitate it for them, provide stamped, addressed envelopes for each school with either a master list of deadlines or lightly penciled deadline on each envelope. </p>

<p>Many schools provide a form for the prof rec. You will notice, if you read carefully that many of them don't care if the form is actually used; or that the form just calls for a bit of identifying information about you (which <em>you</em> fill in before giving to the prof) and allows the recommender to simply attach his letter of rec.</p>

<p>In addition, profs might appreciate a <em>brief</em> resume, idea of your planned major and a copy of your transcript to know how you are doing in all of your coursework, not just their courses.</p>

<p>When should I approach the prof to ask for recommendations? How much advance notice should I give?</p>

<p>Speaking with them just before winter break is a good option for most application schedules. You are fresh in the prof's mind. You know that you did well in the course. They have plenty of time to do the rec over break, if they so choose, or plenty of time to do it after classes resume if that is their preference.</p>

<p>If you are not on that type of schedule, consider asking the prof as soon as you know s/he is one you want. Then ask him or her what schedule would be best for providing the form(s)/envelope(s) and what other materials they might like to have from you.</p>

<p>If you are "up against the clock" trying to give yourself time to get to know profs well enough to ask, try to give them 2-3 weeks. But.... don't worry about it too much. For most schools, the critical element for the deadline is for <em>your</em> portion of the app to be on time. If the prof rec trickles in a bit later, that is usually okay. Don't take this as gospel. Check with the individual school if you are running into a time crunch with the prof rec arriving on time.</p>

Can you leave out a school that you went to for a short time and did badly? No. You need to list every school where you have ever been enrolled as a college student.</p>

<p>Sorry but does this include the college classes I took in HS? I did poorly in those classes but did have the credits transfer to my current school. Will I have to send that transcript?
And thanks Andale, you are always super helpful.</p>