College Transfer Admissions Tips

The college application season begins to draw to a close (decisions for competitive schools are being released in late March), one would believe that everything is slowing down.  But actually, we are in the throes of the college transfer season!  Many college freshmen and sophomores, after a semester or so,  have already decided that they need to transfer to another college.  Throughout the years, I have encountered many students who wish to transfer.  It is now becoming a growing trend.  In our practice, we are increasingly even seeing students who are making the decision to transfer while in their first semester, freshman year.  Here are some of the main reasons I see why students decide to transfer:

  • They are unhappy:  Why remain in an environment for four years where you will be unhappy and miserable – and pay tuition, room and board that will cost you (or your parents) $200,000 – $250,000.
  • Fresh start:  For time to time, a student may have faced unexpected challenges, disciplinary actions at a college and they need a new college environment
  • Institutional prestige:  You may be attending your safety school and you want a second shot or you were discouraged from applying to your dream school.  In any case, you desire what we call an UPGRADE.
  • Pre-graduate school preparation:  Your current college may not have a strong pre-law,  pre-med or pre-business program needed for graduate school admissions preparation or employment.

Whatever reason you may have for transferring, the bottom line is that you need to develop an effective action plan to transfer.   Here are ten tips for prospective college transfer students:

  1. Obtain your high school transcript:  As a transfer applicant, colleges like to see your official high school and college transcripts.
  2. Obtain college letters of recommendations:  What professors have known you and can write you a meaningful letter of recommendation?
  3. Common App Transfer Application:  Colleges use the Common App.  Take it seriously and be mindful of deadlines and required supporting documents.  Colleges have different policies for transfer students.
  4. Transfer Essays:  College transfer applicants must write meaningful and convincing essays to transfer into their top-choice school.  The main essay: What are your reasons for transferring?  Watch out for the school-specific supplementals!
  5. Provide a current college transcript:  Grades matter!  What are your current academic courses?
  6. Standardized tests:  If you have taken standardized tests make sure that you report them on your Common App.
  7. Extracirricular activities:  In what school organizations are you involved?  Are you involved in activities outside of school?
  8. Disciplinary actions:  If for any reason, no matter how minor, you had a disciplinary action while in college, it’s best (and honest) to report it on your Common App.  under Family Educational Rights and privacy Act (FERPA), your current college can disclose your school records, without your consent to other schools to which you are transferring.
  9. Research and visit your target schools:  It’s important to research as many schools as possible, develop of a short list and visit schools on this list.
  10. Consider seeking professional, expert advice:  Why?  In my professional experience, I find that prospective transfer students need to develop individualized, effective transfer plans and implement them.  As a transfer student, you no longer have the assistance of your public high school guidance or private high school college counselor.  You will need an educational consultant who specializes in college transfer admissions.  You’re basically on your own in a process that is even more competitive than when you applied to college the first time!

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs;  graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.  He also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.