Transferring from South Korea to US as CS major

Hi everyone! I’m glad that I found this community.

This is a very complicated story of mine, and I’m posting this in hope of coming across anyone who have done something similar to my situation. I (sadly) know that transfers are hard enough, and being international transfer student is going to be close to impossible. I’d really appreciate any words of encouragement or help.

So this is my situation:

Where to?

Senior transfer student in CS, for schools in Northeastern region of US, aiming for Fall 2022 transfer.

My list of schools so far is: JHU, UMass Amherst, Rutgers, Stony Brook, Northeastern, Penn State, Boston University and so on.


Finished sophomore year in 4-year university in South Korea

  • CS major, 4.28/4.5 (3.8/4.0) GPA
  • enrolled 4 semesters, 81 credits
  • took Calc 2, Physics 1, didn’t take Chemistry (some schools have this as the prereq)

Went on Study Abroad program to Stony Brook (SUNY) in Spring 2020

  • Planned to be 2 semester long program but cut short to only 1 due to the pandemic
  • 3.56/4.0 GPA
  • took part in student activities and couple of clubs

107/120 in TOEFL


  • 1+ year of internship in a startup in Korea as a fullstack developer
  • Developed and launched multiple apps with 100K+ downloads
  • Clubs in home univ in Korea and US


  • Citizenship: International (Korean citizen)
  • Financials: Private loans from parents (~50k USD)

Why transfer?

As a CS major, I found being outside of US puts me into a much smaller pool of career opportunities. As I’ve spent a semester in US and I found it completely doable there, I thought I could give it a chance and bring myself to broader opportunities.

And also my gf is a Korean-American who has citizenship, so we are thinking of moving into US.

It’s a very unusual and complex situation, I am perplexed as you would be after reading all that. If you have any tips or advices or thoughts about this, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks for the great community! :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I think that your chances of getting in somewhere are pretty good. It seems relatively likely that some of the schools on your list such as Northeastern and BU and probably JHU might be significantly more expensive than your budget if you do get accepted.

I have worked with many software engineers from U.Mass Amherst and a few from Rutgers and everyone I have worked with have made both schools look good. This speaks to the qualities of these programs.

UNH (New Hampshire) or U.Mass Lowell might be slightly safer for admissions and are also good. I would however choose U.Mass Amherst or Rutgers over UNH and U.Mass Lowell if you get into all of these.

1 Like

Thank you for such a great insight! What do you think about my motivation for trying transfer? Will it be enough or should I try to add more to write it in my personal essay? :thinking:

Many US colleges do not accept senior transfers because they require attendance at their institution for four semesters (or the equivalent) to earn a degree from their school…you have to look at each school’s website.

For example, JHU’s clearly says they accept soph and junior transfers only and you must attend their institution for four semesters: Transfer Qualifications | Undergraduate Admissions | Johns Hopkins University

It seems finishing up at Stony Brook will be your best option. I agree with the above that the private schools are unlikely to hit your $50K price point.


So your motivation is that you need a job, and that you want to live and work in the US, correct?
That’s an immigration issue that’s not a university issue.

As a senior level transfer, it will be extremely difficult to matriculate. You wouldn’t have had, at least, two years of coursework at that university. A university’s diploma indicates that the university has provided an adequate level of a holistic education to prepare you for a career.

The reason that a university would be strict about preparation is that employers will complain to the universities stating that their students aren’t as prepared as they should be. When corporations stop hiring from particular universities, then that is a significant problem for the university. The universities don’t want to hear that their students are unprepared.

As a person who wants to live and work in the US, you should start the process of marrying a US citizen. Showing up at a US immigration office, indicating that you would find more career opportunities in the US, would be an automatic rejection for your student visa.

You can try applying to US universities and seeing if someone will accept you, but you need to pass that immigration interview. What will you say?


I missed the fact that you are already in your junior year of university. If you transfer to a US university you will in most universities need to complete two years here to get your bachelor’s degree. You can however check this with each individual university since I am not sure that this applies everywhere. You should ask SUNY Stony Brook whether they will count the time that you have already spent there (which seems likely to me, but I am only guessing).

One warning: When you apply for a student visa to attend university in the US, if you tell them that your intention is to stay in the US after graduating, you are likely to be turned down for the student visa. Also, if you graduate from university in the US then you will be expected to return home after graduating. If you marry a US citizen then the immigration issue becomes very different, but I would not marry someone for the purpose of immigrating – you want to marry the right person to have a good marriage.

Another option is to complete your bachelor’s degree in Korea, and then come to the US for a master’s degree. There are many universities here that have very good master’s degree programs. In some cases these take one year, in some cases two years.


He and his girlfriend wish to move to the US. This process takes forever, so if he’s serious about his girlfriend, then it will be one way for him to be accepted by immigration. Otherwise, he has a decades-long wait ahead of him.

1 Like

Thanks for the reply! I made a mistake in my original post but I couldn’t find an option to edit it. I’m planning for transferring to Junior, not Senior. So I will be enrolled there at least for 4 semesters. Sorry for the confusion :confounded:

Thank you for the reply! I see that the visa is a major concern.

I was thinking of entering US with a student visa after getting accepted to any school (of course not indicating that I will stay after my graduation), and go to the immigration office in US afterwards and change the type of my visa with my gf. Is this too risky or not a good idea? :confused:

Do you need to use the $50,000 to cover both years, or can you afford that much for each year?

I meant 50k per year.

1 Like

This is not how it works. You can’t just change your type of visa. In order to stay in the US after graduation you must have an employer sponsor you.

1 Like

Hmm I see. But it seems changing from F visa to green card is eligible: How to Change Status from F-1 Visa to Green Card through Marriage

Do you know any other exceptions to this process? :thinking:

It would be not a wise choice if I am thinking of getting married only to get to the states. But thankfully that’s not the case for me as I’ve met her for 2 years now. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

This is called lying.
If you enter the US, knowingly, and falsely claiming that you have no plans to stay now or in the future, you put your student visa and any future in the US in jeopardy. You will get caught. Immigration is strict and punitive.

If you go to US Immigration, with your US “girlfriend”, after having entered the US with a student visa, trying to change the status, you will be in a courtroom being accused of entering the US under false pretenses. You can be incarcerated. Being deported, and never being able to return, is not fun.

If you look to the future, hopeful at being sponsored by a US company after your graduation, your visa status will come up in the computers. Employers have to submit paperwork to the government. Immigration would find that very interesting.
Why? US corporations are obligated to hire US citizens first. They cannot sponsor a non-citIzen before a citizen. A number of US companies’ websites’ have posted that they cannot sponsor non-citizens.
Immigration can and will take you to court if you attempt to get around their rules. They are VERY good at deporting people.

The only way, for you to enter and possibly stay, at this point, is to

*get a graduate degree or

*be married to a US citizen.
She would have to be your sponsor. Did I mention that there is a significant wait for visas?

There is a line of people trying to stay, live and work in the US.
There also are a number of people already, in the US, awaiting US citizenship. It’s not easy and was not meant to be easy.

1 Like

I see, that makes more sense. Thank you for letting me know.

And I assume it would not be easy to enroll in a school while I’m waiting for the immigration to process?

You can enroll in a college on a student visa. If you ultimately get married then you will be on a different path, but don’t worry about that for now.

1 Like

Enrolling in a school is easy because it means you have been admitted. The difficult part is being admitted.

You are an international transfer student; your chances are really limited with that alone. If you have too many units, they don’t have to accept you.

When you sign a US college application, you are indicating that all of the provided information is true to the best of your knowledge. US colleges and universities hold that in common, above all else, being honest and truthful. If something does not add up, then the colleges have the right to investigate, because you have given them permission to do so with your signature.

Because you can pay something, your chances are slightly better, but not by much and depends on each university.

1 Like

Sorry if I misunderstood anything, but doesn’t these two contradict each other? Or do you mean I can apply for student visa with transfer acceptance after getting married?

You can enroll in a US university, IF you are admitted. It looks like you did your junior year in the US. So if you are a senior transfer, your chances are really minimal.

If you are NOT admitted anywhere for a US undergrad degree, the only other way to be employed in the US is to apply to a US graduate school, graduate from that school and then seek employment.

(If you are admitted to a US grad school, they will provide your information for a Visa and your work possibilities may open up.)

The other way is to
-get married to a US citizen, wait the amount of time demanded by the work visa and then enter the US and apply for jobs.

This will take a large amount of time because you are dealing with Immigration. You can’t plan on having everything done within a year or two.

1 Like