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Would it be possible for me to transfer into a peer institution?

_otherwords__otherwords_ Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hey all. Sophomore here, currently considering transferring for Fall 2018. Unfortunately there are a few hazards: while my GPA is decent (3.8, will likely climb to ~3.85 by the semester's end), I've got a nasty withdraw on my transcript and didn't manage to form the kind of deep, discursively colorful faculty relationships that inspire persuasive letters of recommendation. I've made it my project to correct the latter this year, but the fact remains that I have staggeringly little infrastructure -- academic or extracurricular -- in place at my current school. Everything productive that I have done has been independent, and unfortunately I have little to show for it other than passion™ (cue admissions buzzword) and a decent portfolio. Of course, this is both the principal reason for my interest in transferring, and the principal threat to the success of that interest. What a double bind!

I'm wondering about two things: what I can do over the course of the year to improve my shot at transferring to a selective school, and if there is any "shot" to begin with. In particular, I'd like to transfer within the Ivies (i.e., from one Ivy to another); I'm aware at the moment that this is doubtlessly out of reach, but I'm wondering if I could possibly change those odds over the course of a year, and, if so, how to go about it. Also, I'm just curious how often that kind of transferring -- not quite transferring 'up' or transferring 'down' (to be totally reductive for a sec; I don't actually believe in such a facile hierarchy), but transferring 'sideways' -- happens? I image there are obstacles to convincing the school-in-question that you should be there or need to be there, because you're somewhere roughly similar to begin with...

In my particular case, the issue is more social than academic, and mostly one of poor fit. I find myself persistently and miserably alienated from student life here, and I'd love to be somewhere with a student culture that feels more personally resonant and personally inviting.

Replies to: Would it be possible for me to transfer into a peer institution?

  • TransferStalkerTransferStalker Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    A lateral transfer (Ivy=>Ivy) is completely feasible. And it's been done.

    Though, I don't know how difficult it is to successfully transfer from one Ivy to another. But I bet some people with knowledge of this can chime in.

    So, I suppose the only glaring problem I see is your reason behind transferring. What exactly are you looking for in a school? Why would X school be better than Y school? Perhaps the problem isn't your current school at all.

    Perhaps if you told us where you currently are, some people may be able to jump in and add further insight.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,628 Senior Member
    Generally the Ivies look for a valid academic reason fro transferring. If by Ivy to Ivy transfer you mean Cornell to HYP, that is not really a peer transfer.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    Also, I'm just curious how often that kind of transferring -- not quite transferring 'up' or transferring 'down' (to be totally reductive for a sec; I don't actually believe in such a facile hierarchy)

    If you "don't believe in such a facile hierarchy", then why restrict yourself to super-selective schools to transfer to? Surely, there are many other schools that would be more desirable that are not super-selective.
  • _otherwords__otherwords_ Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    edited October 13
    @ucbalumnus Fair point. Perhaps selectivity isn't quite the metric I'm looking for. It is important to me, however, that the school have a dynamic and cutting-edge research scene, professors whose work excites me, and an invigorated undergraduate academic culture (with some degree of an undergraduate focus). While these certainly aren't exclusive to the Ivies + friends, they tend -- particularly the first one -- to correlate with *some* measure of prestige on part of the university and thus *some* measure of selectivity on part of its college.

    @TransferStalker Also fair. My reasons are mostly related to student culture and campus life; my school is a bit "frattier" (in lieu of a better word?) than I expected and socially, as well as extracurricularly, I feel alienated. I don't exactly have academic reasons for transferring but I do know that where I am just isn't working out. I also have a lot of regret for not choosing to attend a different college I was accepted to in high school-- a choice mostly made for the marginal but material FA difference between that institution and my current one (a difference that is no longer as salient.)



  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,842 Senior Member
    "I suppose the only glaring problem I see is your reason behind transferring."

    This is my reaction also. Reading this entire (so far short) thread, I don't see any reason to believe that transferring to a different Ivy League school is going to solve any problem in this case.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
    edited October 13
    I'd love to be somewhere with a student culture that feels more personally resonant and personally inviting.

    Here's the thing: none of the Ivy league colleges have completely homogenous student cultures. None of us expected the shy, introverted, seriously scholarly student we knew to last when she headed off to the Ivy that is generally seen as the frattiest of the lot (like you, chosen for financial reasons), but she proved us wrong, finding her people and thriving.

    It may be happen more easily some places than others, and I do believe in the positives of a good 'fit', but as @DadTwoGirls suggested, sometimes we take our problems with us. The grass might not be greener elsewhere.

    Ivy transfers happen, but in very low numbers simply b/c so few people leave (Harvard is about 1%, for example). Applications aren't due until spring, so imo, the next 4-5 months are a good time to:

    1) try to find the people that you haven't found yet. Without a doubt they are there. If you are arguing that you can't find a single EC that is interesting to you / has agreeable people in it, I suggest that you haven't looked hard enough. Ditto if you are saying that there are no other students who share your academic interests, who would be good study group partners, etc.

    2) look hard at what you want from your major (whether or not you have formally declared it). Think - carefully, thoughtfully- about what you want to achieve academically in your Jr & Sr years. Be specific: what areas of specialization in your major are you interested in? where do summers fit in to the overall picture? what are at least 2 post-graduation paths that you could take from your major towards to your larger goal? (even if that goal is somewhat broad at this stage).

    IF in February you still want to transfer, you will have some good thinking and research done as to your academic goals, which will help you in making your case for transfer be about more than 'I want to be with different people'.

    And IF you do try to transfer and aren't successful at the level you want (b/c there are definitely many, many strong academic institutions that will take you), you will have started building a base that will see you through.
  • TransferStalkerTransferStalker Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    edited October 13
    To be honest, your reasons are REALLY wishy washy. Imagine this: you apply to another extremely selective Ivy League institution, and they pose the question, "Why us? (and by extension why not your current school?)" and putting down "The school is a bit fatty. Oh, and I have buyer's remorse for not attending your school."

    It simply doesn't cut it. I'd follow @collegemom3717's insight.
  • Penn95Penn95 Registered User Posts: 2,109 Senior Member
    @_otherwords_ depends which ivies you are talking about. If you want to transfer into HYP from a non-HYP ivy then you better have some solid reason because the adcoms will automatically assume that you are chasing prestige. Sorry to say but your reasons do not seem strong to me. A strong reason is that you want access to research opportunities or a major that your current ivy does not offer. For example there are quite a few lateral transfers from other ivies to Penn every year because other ivies do not offer business majors.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,542 Senior Member
    Do also consider other options such as a semester or year abroad or in a domestic exchange to a place where there is a somewhat different focus for your major. Those would get you into a different environment for a semester or year.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 27,969 Super Moderator
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:
    Closing thread. OP created a second account to ask this question, which is a violation of ToS. Anyway, I think there are enough answers already provided.
This discussion has been closed.