Transferring from Smith to Amherst College?

Hi! I am a freshman at Smith College. I am not happy with Smith for a number of reasons and I am planning to apply to a number of other colleges and universities, one of which is Amherst College. Has anyone had any experience transferring within the Five College Consortium or transferring out of Smith to any college or university? The other schools I am applying to include Williams, Barnard, Pitzer, Pomona, Tufts, Northeastern, BU, Brown, & Columbia.

Can I ask why you are unhappy at smith? (my daughter is applying). Thanks!

Just a note that all your transfer schools are reaches and if you’re set on leaving Smith I suggest casting a wider net.


Are you able to explain to admissions, or to us, why these other schools would be a better fit for you?

The list of schools that you are applying to do not, at least to me, seem to have much in common. However, it is possible that there might be a program or major or specialty that they all have that I have not looked at.

If you state your intended major, this would add context to your question.

1 Like

BU is a reach for an applicant who got into Smith?


It could be. We don’t know anything about her stats, her major or why she wants to transfer. I know quite a few students who have gone thru the transfer process recently and it is very unpredictable. BU is probably the most likely of her list but I wouldn’t say it’s a lock.

1 Like

In terms of a figures, BU’s acceptance rate for female transfer applicants was recently 56%. In stark contrast, Amherst, with a posted female transfer acceptance rate of 4%, does not appear especially receptive to general transfer applicants.

1 Like

Yes, but I wouldn’t call it a reach either. Nor would I consider Northeastern a reach.

A peer institution like Barnard might or might not be a reach. And depending on the circumstances Tufts might be very reasonable.

Just my 2 cents.


Not sure how anyone can finely categorize transfer schools when we don’t even know OP’s first semester grades at Smith, or whether they will be applying for financial aid.

If OP is certain they want to transfer I also would counsel them to add a couple of less selective schools. The two least selective schools on their list, BU and NEU are overenrolled, so transfer spots may be reduced for next fall. I encourage OP to talk with transfer admissions counselors at each school on the list to get a sense for the relative opportunity.

Lastly, I second the poster who suggested OP elucidate the reasons for transfer, they have to have solid academic/curriculum reasons why they would seek to enroll at each transfer school.


Agree with your post except the need for a detailed explanation of why one is leaving Smith beyond “not a good fit personally”. Of course, specific reasons should be given for why the applicant wants to attend any target school, but Smith has a known culture that is not for everyone and is unlikely to be replicated at any of OP’s targeted schools including Barnard.

(I prefer not to list the specifics as issues regarding Smith’s campus culture have been discussed & debated repeatedly on this & other forums.)

1 Like

While Smith is no doubt a fit school, their freshman retention numbers are typically 90%+, which is relatively high. They did experience a drop in retention rate per the 2020-21 CDS, likely due to covid.

While it’s ok for OP to say why Smith isn’t a fit, the important part of transfer apps is to demonstrate in detail why the transfer school fits in ways that the original school doesn’t. Academic reasons are generally more compelling than social reasons.

Hi! OP here. A few commenters were asking about my stats & more contextual information.

I went to a private boarding school and ended up with a 3.7 GPA (we did not have AP’s). I got a 32 on the ACT. Grades have not been released yet but I’m expecting to have an A-/A average in all of my first-semester classes. I am planning to major in Economics and minor in Computer Science or Environmental Studies.

OP: Are you in need of substantial financial aid ?

Hi! I’d love to elaborate! I don’t like Smith for the location and general culture. Though the campus itself is gorgeous, there is not too much to do once you leave Northampton, and if you don’t have a car, it is really discouraging to try to leave. The bus system is free but not always reliable & Zipcar’s can get really expensive.

Secondly, I really don’t mesh well with the student body culture of Smith. It is a lot quieter than I expected (like on an average Friday & Saturday, there is truly not much to do. Maybe one event or two, but they always get shut down). My friends and I often find ourselves struggling to find events to do that don’t involve heading over to Amherst. The school is very insular, surprisingly segregated, and there is not a very wide breadth in perspectives and opinions.

Also, this is just an administrative note but several times it as been really difficult for me to work with the Health Center (they are chronically understaffed and generally unreliable). My closest friend has ongoing health issues and some of the care she has received has truly been unacceptable. The therapy/mental health resources are also very limited.

All this to say, these are very personal grievances! If your daughter prefers a smaller and more intimate school with a quieter social scene, she’d likely love Smith!

I could also elaborate on some of the plus’s of Smith if you’d like.


Yes, I do need a lot of aid. Currently, 85% of my tuition is covered by Smith’s aid.

1 Like

And that is one reason why I suggest that you carefully word your transfer apps regarding any dissatisfaction with your current school as you may not have any other financially viable alternative.

Best to focus on the attributes that attract you to any target school rather than giving detail as to why you want to leave your current school. In short, focus on positives.


Hello! I am also looking to transfer out of Smith and looking at many similar schools. i am also on close to the same financial aid, but in my research i found that most of the schools do still meet full need (like Smith did) for transfers as well. would this just make my application less competitive?

omg i’m leaving smith too and applying to similar schools

Depends upon whether or not any target school is “need blind” for transfer students. Whether a particular school “meets full need” for transfers is another issue to research.

Financial aid policies for international applicants may differ by school.

Also, how schools determine an applicant’s need can vary. For example, some consider home equity, while others do not. Some use loans to meet full need, while other schools have a no-loan need based financial aid policy.

Some schools are need blind for freshman applicants, but need aware for transfer applicants. (Please do not ask me to list such schools as any poster can research this as easily as I could.)

1 Like